Universe Recommends for packages in main

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Fri Jul 4 17:45:01 BST 2008

On Fri, Jul 04, 2008 at 11:29:31AM -0500, Chris Cheney wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-07-04 at 12:31 +0100, Colin Watson wrote:
> > When taken together with their own dependencies and recommendations,
> > these packages are pretty huge, and are pulled in solely due to a
> > Recommends from openoffice.org-writer. Chris, would it be acceptable to
> > demote these to a Suggests?
> Obviously we could remove them, but they definitely fall under what is
> considered 'Recommends' level packages for OpenOffice.org...
> Java - lots of OOo functionality requires Java
> ----
> gij
> openoffice.org-java-common

I agree that this is an awkward case, but think we could make an
exception due to the size.

> OOo 1.x filters
> ---------------
> openoffice.org-filter-binfilter

I would expect that this is a relatively uncommon requirement nowadays.

> Latex output
> ------------
> openoffice.org-writer2latex

Not a common requirement.

> This points to a question being: Why are we trying to include Recommends
> on the cd at all since it is nearly oversized already.

Because apt will do so by default (as it should, per policy), and I
don't think it makes sense to have germinate follow dependencies
differently from apt. In particular, doing otherwise would cause CD
installs and netboot installs to behave differently, which I would
expect to be very confusing and cause a number of support issues.

Furthermore, I would like us to be able to *drop* a number of existing
Depends to Recommends (some of which we have probably promoted in the
past in order to get things onto the CD), to make it easier for users to
administer reduced systems.

> Recommends
>         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.
> Suggests
>         This is used to declare that one package may be more useful with
>         one or more others. Using this field tells the packaging system
>         and the user that the listed packages are related to this one
>         and can perhaps enhance its usefulness, but that installing this
>         one without them is perfectly reasonable.

It's "perfectly reasonable" to install OpenOffice.org without support
for importing 1.x documents and without support for LaTeX output,
although those features "enhance its usefulness". I definitely don't
think they meet the criterion of "all but unusual installations".

As I said, I think Java is on the boundary between those two
definitions, but seeing as the "usual" installation of Ubuntu is what
you get from a CD and we have been managing to cope so far, I think
there's a case that installing OOo without Java is "perfectly

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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