autoremoval of deps for some metapackage section packages

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Fri Sep 19 16:32:54 BST 2008

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 08:24:28AM -0700, Jordan Mantha wrote:
> I'd like to get some input on a problem I'm facing in Edubuntu. We use
> gnome-app-install as an installation GUI for the Ubuntu Education
> Edition Addon CD. Besides edubuntu-desktop we also provide some
> edubuntu-addon-* metapackages to help people install specific groups
> of packages from the CD. For instance, edubuntu-addon-young can be
> used to install just the educational applications for younger
> (pre-school generally) children.
> The issue is that currently if you remove one of these metapackages
> from gnome-app-install it only removes the metapackage itself. The
> dependencies are neither removed nor marked for auto-removal (via apt
> or synaptic). This is because of the Never-MarkAuto-Sections APT
> config option, which is used to prevent removal of packages when
> ubuntu-desktop is removed.  While it makes quite a bit of sense for
> *-desktop it's not helpful in some cases, such as my edubuntu-addon-*
> packages.
> So here's the options I can think of:
> 1) Have a gnome-app-install flag in .desktop files such as
> X-AppInstall-MetaAutoRemove that would tell gnome-app-install to treat
> the package as it would any other. Essentially overriding
> Never-MarkAuto-Sections on a per-package basis
> 2) Move edubuntu-addon-* and any other such package were
> Never-MarkAuto-Sections is a problem out of the metapackages section
> of the archive.
> Option 2 is definitely less invasive, which is good for this point in
> the release cycle, but seems a bit more like a workaround than a fix
> to me.

The only purpose of the metapackages section is to trigger this
different behaviour in the package manager. As such, I think the right
answer is not to put edubuntu-addon-* in that section.

I've made the following override changes:

  edubuntu-addon-kde            metapackages -> kde
  edubuntu-addon-legacy         metapackages -> oldlibs
  edubuntu-addon-light          universe/metapackages -> universe/x11
  edubuntu-addon-science        metapackages -> science
  edubuntu-addon-young          metapackages -> games

(This doesn't prevent also choosing option 1.)

> One thing we probably should do anyway, is document somewhere,
> Ubuntu Policy perhaps, that packages in the metapackage section are
> treated differently by APT and how so.

I'll propose a policy amendment for this shortly.

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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