Installing recommends and the CD size

Michael Vogt mvo at
Fri Aug 8 20:40:07 BST 2008


the fact that we install recommends by default now is a challenge for
the CD building. The CD is at its size limit pretty much all the time
and the new recommends make the situation worse because now stuff
wants to get installed that was ignored before. The solution currently
is to demote (almost?) everything that is on the CD and is has
packages marked as Recommends to Suggests.

I'm absolutely in favor of demoting recommends that do not fit the
definition of:

    This declares a strong, but not absolute, dependency.
    The Recommends field should list packages that would be found
    together with this one in all but unusual installations.

But it feels to me like we are also doing it now because of size
constrains on the CD. Two examples I ran accross:
- python-coherence used to be a recommends of rythmbox to support 
- apt-xapian-index used to be a recommends of synaptic to provide
  search-as-you-type (full disclosure: I'm biased here of course)

Now it can be argued that upnp or search-as-you-type is not important
"in all but unusual installations". But demoting it because of space
reasons on the CD seems to be not ideal.

I would like to discsuss alternative solutions for this problem:

* we could make the CD image scripts not install recommends by
default and add a hook similar to the language pack downloads that
offers to download and install the missing bits. I think if we are
careful with what we allow in here the size that is going to be
downloaded is in the range of ~20mb (and its fully optional).

* we could build the CD without recommends and have additional dvd or
1gb usb stick images that contain the missing recommends so that
people with more BW can just get those

* we should provide a easy way to identify what packages on the system
are recommended by installed packages but currently not
installed. This is already possible with the "policy broken" filter in
synaptic, but its not a preset filter right now and the name for the
filter option is not really good (suggestions welcome).

I would welcome your opinion on this. Its probably too later to do
substantial changes now for intrepid, but it is maybe something we can
consider for intrepid+1.


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