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suggests/requires in rpm (was: Re: further package removals/potential package removals)

Jeff Spaleta wrote:
> However,  nautilus requires gnome-vfs2-smb though an explicit requires
> on gnome-vfs2-smb, a decision made by the packager to ensure that the
> runtime detectable smb support is always available when nautilus is
> installed to provide a perfectly reasonable and recommended default
> behavior for the average gnome desktop user.  Some would argue doing
> this is bending the purpose of 'requires' field out of necessity  to
> be used as a 'suggests' or 'recommends' field which rpm doesn't yet
> have support for.

I have run into this kind of problem several times (and I've learned
packaging only two years ago). For example with showimg (an image viewer),
which can use kipi-plugins to add features, or with psi (a jabber client),
which can use qca-tls for SSL support.
The main objection I got from the RH folks when I proposed some kind of
"recommands" before, is that most of the time the dependancies are set at
compile-time, and thus are hardcoded.
But I think that more and more applications use a plugin system to add
features. Those plugins should remain plugins, and thus should not be set
as an hardcoded dependancy.

But of course, adding such a feature in RPM would need a very large amount
of work to be supported properly from rpm to the user's wrappers.
Nevertheless, I think "suggests" support could be added in RPM without
breaking the wrappers, and complete support could be added later on. The
wrapper which do not know of it yet would just ignore it. Would older
implementation of RPM just ignore the tag when asked to rebuild a
"suggests"-enabled spec file ?
It's a lot of work, but I think it is worth it and it can be done one step
at a time without breaking existing software.

Of course, that's just my 0.02 and I don't know the inner workings of RPM
very well.

http://gauret.free.fr   ~~~~   Jabber : gauret amessage info
"As we enjoy great advantages from inventions of others, we should be
glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours ; and
this we should do freely and generously." -- Benjamin Franklin

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