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Re: On Debian and Fedora experiences

On Tue, Dec 05, 2006 at 01:54:42PM -0600, Tom 'spot' Callaway wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-12-05 at 04:03 -0500, seth vidal wrote:
> > On Tue, 2006-12-05 at 08:50 +0000, Matej Cepl wrote:
> > > Jesse Keating scripst:
> > > > And how do you expect automated tools to handle these soft requirements?
> > > > Either you always install them, or you never do, which basically brings
> > > > up the question, whats the point?  Why do this instead of just Requires
> > > > or not?
> > > 
> > > That's sure one possible solution, except that it seems to be against KISS
> > > principle -- you get miriad new packages (mplayer-aalib, xine-lib-aalib,
> > > etc. for any weird library there is) just to keep Requires:/Suggests:
> > > away. May be it is better solution, I don't know, and I don't understand
> > > this area that much as an engineer (just as an user), but it seems to me
> > > similar to crazy things dones by Debian people just to be able to keep
> > > everything inside Debian source package just Makefile.
> > 
> > I don't think anyone is opposed to the idea of suggests/recommends
> > inherently. I, for one, would just like us to make sure we understand
> > the policies that it entails. Especially when we think of things like
> > 'enhances' which is a reverse dependency.
> > 
> > The policies have to include:
> > - default, automatic mode
> > - default, prompted mode
> Automatically installing suggests/enhances packages is different from
> having them be Requires how? :)

Well, automatically installing all packages makes things easy for the
general purpose distro case, while giving flexibility for special
domain-specific distros (like OLPC) to do a cut down install without
munging RPMs.

> IMHO, the only way this makes sense to waste time on is if all the
> depsolvers prompt the user.

Please no !

> Suggested Optional Packages
> ============================
> The packages you have selected to install/upgrade suggest some related
> packages which may enhance your user experience, but are not required.
> Install shoes [y/N]: y
> Install sandals [y/N]: n
> Install pants [y/N]: yesyesyes

The trouble is the name of the RPM package gives near-zero information
to help the user decide whether they actually want the package or not.

 ie, How does the user determine that saying 'yes' to optional package
     'foo' enables feature 'bar' in the application ?

     Or even worse, that installing optional package 'foo' will make
     it possible to view a movie encoded with codec 'bar'.  Does the
     user even know what a video codec is, let alone what particular
     codec the video they're trying to view may use ?

Do we show them the package description and hope that contains some
docs about what the optional dependancies enable ? 

Just install all Suggests & Enhances packages by default without asking
on the grounds that the user has no where near enough info to be able to
make an informed decision. And even if they can make a decision today,
are they going to remember in 6 months time, when they suddenly need to
use feature XYZ, that there was an optional dependancy they said no to
when first installing the app.

Expecting the user to make decisions about Suggests/Enhances dependancies
is just a path to insanity. 

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