Aptitude wants to remove "ubuntu-desktop"

Francisco Borges f.borges at rug.nl
Tue Apr 18 11:52:28 UTC 2006

» On Tue, Apr 18, 2006 at 02:18PM +1000, Peter Garrett wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Apr 2006 11:56:53 -0300
> Derek Broughton <news at pointerstop.ca> wrote:
> [regarding the "necessity" to install *-desktop packages before a
> dist-upgrade]
> > It _is_ nevertheless a bad assumption.  We have a great
> > package management system, and somebody has basically emasculated it by
> > deciding that we don't need to enforce proper package dependence, we'll
> > just force everybody to install *-desktop.  It's an abomination, and I'm
> > not going to swallow it silently!

Answering Derek here:

No, it's *not* an abomination. AFAIK it's a limitation with the .deb
dependency scheme.

> I think Derek is right. This seems like a regression from the expected
> behaviour. I don't recall Debian requiring this kind of thing.

I think you two are missing the point. But before I make my point I will
annoy you a bit ;-)

1. Debian is not Ubuntu, Ubuntu is not Debian, and you know it.

2. Debian doesn't care *that*much* about making a distribution that
   "just works" for the user, and expects the user to do (and know) a
   lot himself.

> How exactly is a user supposed to know this anyway? Chanting mantras
> about reading the wiki won't help a user who doesn't even know the
> wiki exists ( or in fact what a wiki *is* ).

I guess the user should raise his eye browns and think twice, when
aptitude tries to remove *-desktop ;-) I also guess the user should
understand that, for better or worse, he is using a debian based distro
and *not* debian.


All of that said, I must say that I *guess* the reason they tell you to
install *-desktop is to allow them to install **new** desktop related
packages through release upgrades.

Say, all new flashy mobile gadgets have "GREENtooth". Users will be
using their GREENtooth devices with *ubuntu. *-desktop allows the
automatic easy installation of the greentooth packages.


Optimally, there should be some "soft" dependency scheme, which is what
I think what "suggests" was supposed to mean, except that I never saw
"suggests" working in any meaningful way.

Or what they could do would be to have meta-packages inside *-desktop,
for common apps, allowing you to replace them, say:

kubuntu-desktop installs "mailer" and that by default installs "kmail",
but "mailer" is also provided by "mutt", so I could install mutt and
remove kmail and still have kubuntu-desktop. This would be possible,
except for a "default" choice for these meta-packages, which I don't if
it's possible or not.


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