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From: pa...@wau.mis.ah.nl (Paul Slootman)
Subject: Obsolete packages in main/oldlibs
Date: 1998/09/21
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There's been some discussion about obsolete packages, particularly ldso.

I've just been through the current Packages file, looking for stuff in
oldlibs that isn't used anymore. The complete contents of oldlibs
appeared to fall in this category:

gmp
libdb1
libgdbm1
libgpm1
libjpeg6a
libpam0
libpaper
libpng0
libpwdb0
libreadline2
ncurses3.0
slang0.99.34
slang0.99.34-dev
tcl76
tcl76-altdev
tk42
termcap-compat
xslib
zlib1

There isn't anything that depends on these, in main, contrib, non-US and
non-free. I don't know about Red hat :-)

Anyway, can anyone think of a reason why any of these should remain? If
not (I'll give it a couple of days), I'll file a bug report against
ftp.debian.org to have all packages in oldlibs removed for the Alpha
distribution.

Apparently the freeze for slink is about 4 weeks away, and it would be
cool if Debian/Alpha makes it this time!


Paul Slootman
-- 
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From: ch...@beezer.med.miami.edu (Christopher C Chimelis)
Subject: Re: Obsolete packages in main/oldlibs
Date: 1998/09/21
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On Mon, 21 Sep 1998, Paul Slootman wrote:

> Apparently the freeze for slink is about 4 weeks away, and it would be
> cool if Debian/Alpha makes it this time!

I agree.  I think we can do it this time around.  Any major problems need
to be addressed soon, though, since I think slink's freeze time will be
considerably shorter than hamm's was.

C


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From: m...@glisco.it (Michele Comitini)
Subject: Re: Obsolete packages in main/oldlibs
Date: 1998/09/22
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On 21-Sep-98 Christopher C Chimelis wrote:
> 
> On Mon, 21 Sep 1998, Paul Slootman wrote:
> 
>> Apparently the freeze for slink is about 4 weeks away, and it would be
>> cool if Debian/Alpha makes it this time!
> 
> I agree.  I think we can do it this time around.  Any major problems need
> to be addressed soon, though, since I think slink's freeze time will be
> considerably shorter than hamm's was.
> 

The biggest problems I see are:

- XF86_SVGA server locking the whole system with Millenium cards.
- egcs has still some problems.
- Stable kernels need some patching (alpha-patches).
- If I need the HiSax more patching.
- Ipfwadm does not work out of the box.

I hope we will not have to wait until 2.2.x kernels are out.



 -------------------------
    E-Mail: Michele Comitini <m...@glisco.it>
    Michele Comitini
    Glisco s.a.s.
 -------------------------


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From: mcel...@isp.nwu.edu (Bob McElrath)
Subject: Debian/Alpha suggestions
Date: 1998/09/22
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On Tue, 22 Sep 1998, Michele Comitini wrote:

> 
> On 21-Sep-98 Christopher C Chimelis wrote:
> > 
> > On Mon, 21 Sep 1998, Paul Slootman wrote:
> > 
> >> Apparently the freeze for slink is about 4 weeks away, and it would be
> >> cool if Debian/Alpha makes it this time!
> > 
> > I agree.  I think we can do it this time around.  Any major problems need
> > to be addressed soon, though, since I think slink's freeze time will be
> > considerably shorter than hamm's was.
> > 
> 
> The biggest problems I see are:
> 
> - XF86_SVGA server locking the whole system with Millenium cards.

I just finished installing debian-alpha on my 533MHz LX164 system, and did
not see this problem (I have a Matrox Millenium II).

> - egcs has still some problems.
> - Stable kernels need some patching (alpha-patches).
> - If I need the HiSax more patching.
> - Ipfwadm does not work out of the box.

Biggest problems I saw were dependencies (I did an ftp install from
ftp.debian.org). There are multiple copies of many packages, many packages
are named in goofy ways (often with version numbers as part of the name,
which seems to destroy dependencies).  console-tools is screwed...it didn't
seem to install properly, and caused other packages to not install properly
because the libraries libcfont, libconsole, libctutils (all .so) were
missing.  Likewise with lesstif (for some reason some packages were looking
for lesstifg as a dependency -- ddd for example). 

As I have time I will generate more specific bug reports for the
maintainers.  I didn't write down *every* error message I came by (besides,
they scrolled by so *fast!* ;)

Here are a list of dependencies required by various packages that were not
found anywhere on the ftp.debian.org archive:

jdk1.1, pgp, gnupg, festival, guile, lesstifg.

In general, it seems a horrible idea to make versions part of the names of
packages.  Some are named things like jdk1.1, and some even worse, like
blah3.4-08-23-1998.  It seems to me that dates as part of the package names
also destroys dependencies.

Another problem I had was that there was little checking of available disk
space.  The first time I installed on to a 2 gig partition, and filled it up
in the course of the install.  The second time I used a 8 gig partition, and
was more conservative in my package selection... ;)

Perhaps the XSuSE server might be distributed with debian-alpha for those of
us using things like Matrox cards?

-- Bob

  ./'^`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'#`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'^`\.
 / Rube Goldberg? Bah! Amateur! I give you..Windows 98! Linux everywhere \ 
| Linux, because everyone's work is mission critical.   ANYTHING inside.  |
|_Bob McElrath (mcel...@wisconsin.cern.ch) Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison_|
  \.___________________________________________________________________./


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From: ch...@beezer.med.miami.edu (Christopher C Chimelis)
Subject: Re: Debian/Alpha suggestions
Date: 1998/09/22
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On Tue, 22 Sep 1998, Bob McElrath wrote:

> I just finished installing debian-alpha on my 533MHz LX164 system, and did
> not see this problem (I have a Matrox Millenium II).

Great.  There are some problems that are pretty widespread with X and
Matrox boards, though.  I believe someone here is taking this up with the
XFree people.

> Biggest problems I saw were dependencies (I did an ftp install from
> ftp.debian.org). There are multiple copies of many packages, many packages
> are named in goofy ways (often with version numbers as part of the name,
> which seems to destroy dependencies).  console-tools is screwed...it didn't
> seem to install properly, and caused other packages to not install properly
> because the libraries libcfont, libconsole, libctutils (all .so) were
> missing.  Likewise with lesstif (for some reason some packages were looking
> for lesstifg as a dependency -- ddd for example). 

Yeah, this can be a pain, but the packages are named a certain way for a
reason.  Unfortunately, many of the dependencies are screwy because of
this.

> As I have time I will generate more specific bug reports for the
> maintainers.  I didn't write down *every* error message I came by (besides,
> they scrolled by so *fast!* ;)

When you get a chance, just forward a good list (best you can do) to this
list and we'll all grab a chunk and fix it.  I'm going to try to get
another dependency audit report soon, so most of that should pop up too.

> Here are a list of dependencies required by various packages that were not
> found anywhere on the ftp.debian.org archive:
> 
> jdk1.1, pgp, gnupg, festival, guile, lesstifg.

jdk isn't and probably won't be out with us for awhile...at least until I
can verify that the sonames of the libs between us and RedHat are the same
(linking to improper sonames could cause big problems).  pgp and gnupg are
available on nonus.debian.org.  Lesstif is my personal favourite, so I'll
look into that after I stop wrestling with binutils and egcs (and jade and
dpkg and... :P).  As for guile and festival, they should be fine last I
checked.  Then again, these could be related to the libstdc++ changeover.

> In general, it seems a horrible idea to make versions part of the names of
> packages.  Some are named things like jdk1.1, and some even worse, like
> blah3.4-08-23-1998.  It seems to me that dates as part of the package names
> also destroys dependencies.

Yes and no.  They are named that way mostly because the x86 maintainers
wanted to install more than one version of each lib for various reasons.
Plus, they went through the libc5 -> glibc changeover which necessitated
some ugliness on that front.

> Another problem I had was that there was little checking of available disk
> space.  The first time I installed on to a 2 gig partition, and filled it up
> in the course of the install.  The second time I used a 8 gig partition, and
> was more conservative in my package selection... ;)

This is a generalised problem.  For best results on resolving this, file a
bug report against the base-disk package.  I'd like to see this resolved
also since I've run into this problem before on the x86 as well.

> Perhaps the XSuSE server might be distributed with debian-alpha for those of
> us using things like Matrox cards?

Not a bad idea.  I'd actually like to see alot of changes to xfree's
servers, but can't find the patches that we were applying to the original
tarballs :(  What is the licensing on the XSuSE server right now?


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From: pa...@wau.mis.ah.nl (Paul Slootman)
Subject: Re: Debian/Alpha suggestions
Date: 1998/09/23
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On Tue 22 Sep 1998, Christopher C Chimelis wrote:
> On Tue, 22 Sep 1998, Bob McElrath wrote:
> 
> > As I have time I will generate more specific bug reports for the
> > maintainers.  I didn't write down *every* error message I came by (besides,
> > they scrolled by so *fast!* ;)
> 
> When you get a chance, just forward a good list (best you can do) to this
> list and we'll all grab a chunk and fix it.  I'm going to try to get
> another dependency audit report soon, so most of that should pop up too.

Also look at http://www.nl.debian.org/lintian/reports/depcheck.html

A lot of those problems are due to the stuff in oldlibs. I'll file a bug
report today against ftp.debian.org to get those removed. I'll also have
libjpegg-dev_6a removed (everything I rebuilt with libjpeg-6b works fine).

> > In general, it seems a horrible idea to make versions part of the names of
> > packages.  Some are named things like jdk1.1, and some even worse, like
> > blah3.4-08-23-1998.  It seems to me that dates as part of the package names
> > also destroys dependencies.
> 
> Yes and no.  They are named that way mostly because the x86 maintainers
> wanted to install more than one version of each lib for various reasons.
> Plus, they went through the libc5 -> glibc changeover which necessitated
> some ugliness on that front.

Besides, "we" (the alpha people) don't change package names; they are
the same on the i386 platform, where (in theory) it should all be OK...


> > Perhaps the XSuSE server might be distributed with debian-alpha for those of
> > us using things like Matrox cards?
> 
> Not a bad idea.  I'd actually like to see alot of changes to xfree's
> servers, but can't find the patches that we were applying to the original

I was under the impression that the XSuSE stuff was put back into the
core XFree86 stuff? From http://www.suse.de/XSuSE/XSuSE_E.html :

  S.u.S.E. is releasing all of these servers in close cooperation with
  their authors and with The XFree86 Project. Of course, all of them will
  be integrated into future versions of XFree86, like it has happened with
  XSuSE_Matrox or XSuSE_NVidia in XFree86-3.3.2 (see detailed list below).
  
  [...]
  
  Except for the server for 3DLabs based cards (XSuSE_Elsa_GLoria), all of
  our servers have been integrated into servers of XFree86-3.3.2. Here is
  a list, which XFree86-Servers do now contain which former XSuSE-Server: 
  
  XSuSE-Server       XFree86-3.3.2
  
   XSuSE_At3d     ->  xsvga
   XSuSE_Mach64   ->  xmach64
   XSuSE_Matrox   ->  xsvga
   XSuSE_Nvidia   ->  xsvga
   XSuSE_Trident  ->  xsvga
   XSuSE_Tseng    ->  xsvga

> tarballs :(  What is the licensing on the XSuSE server right now?

From the same page:

  The servers are freely available, the copyright is basically subject to
  the terms of the XFree86 copyright. 


Paul Slootman
-- 
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From: mcel...@isp.nwu.edu (Bob McElrath)
Subject: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/09/24
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I'm sorry to say it guys, but after playing with Debian/Alpha for a week,
I'm terribly unhappy with it.  I think the amount of work I'd have to put
into Debian would be much greater than that for RedHat, and it's too bad,
I'm not fond of RedHat, but I already know how to fix their hacks. I need to
get some work done on this machine, and can't tinker with it forever!  ;) 

Here are a couple of general suggestions that I'd like to see in some
distribution...some day...

1) Few (if any) trick/slick/pain-in-the-ass scripting thingies that try to
make life "easier".  I spend an inordinate amount of time looking through
little scripts written to go along with distributions to figure out what
they do, so I can undo it.  And then when you remember one of those scripts
and need to run it, you have no idea where it got run or how it was called. 
(i.e. configuring keyboard -- my keyboard went all goofy like it was
remapped or something, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to
fix it, or how to bring up that dialog box in the installation that chose
the keyboard, or what that script did to select the keyboard)  Other things
in this category are /etc/alternatives, moving X11 config to /etc/X11,
window manager menu structures (hook?)

2) Few (if any) duplicate functionality packages.  For instance, Debian
comes with like 7 mail-delivery-agents.  What's with that?  To a new user,
it's not clear which is best, and at times, even that you can only choose
*one*.  Also, there are 3 different mutually exclusive ways to install the
gtk libs.  (???)

3) Whittle down the number of packages.  At last count the main tree had
1713 packages in it.  It takes many hours to sift through that list and
decide what to install.  And after doing so, you simply can't remember all
the "neato" little things you installed.  I saw mention recently of trying
to keep up with the intel side of .deb's.  Forget about it.  Their community
is much larger and they will always churn out new stuff faster than us.  Go
for a smaller set of stable packages instead of the latest whiz-bang stuff.

4) Get rid of beta software!  This includes WindowMaker, Gnome, etc.

5) In order to help users see and play with the software on their system,
set up some kind of way to automagically add installed software to window
manager menus so they can run it.  (*all* window managers...)

6) dselect needs a major overhaul.  Its key mappings are non-intuitive and
conflict with other popular packages (i.e. '-' going back a page in more,
and the + key turns into the * symbol, while all other keys match symbols).
It doesn't show you that a package has dependencies until after you try to
install it (which takes time, and is distracting to switch screens).  Show
(unresolved) dependencies on the same screen that is used to select
packages.  The way it constantly brings up the help screen is a *major*
pain.  How about a mode to look at *only* what is currently installed, so
that you can remove things?

-- Bob

  ./'^`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'#`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'^`\.
 / Rube Goldberg? Bah! Amateur! I give you..Windows 98! Linux everywhere \ 
| Linux, because everyone's work is mission critical.   ANYTHING inside.  |
|_Bob McElrath (mcel...@wisconsin.cern.ch) Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison_|
  \.___________________________________________________________________./


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From: mcel...@isp.nwu.edu (Bob McElrath)
Subject: Re: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/09/24
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On 24 Sep 1998, Turbo Fredriksson wrote:

> [this is not a flame or rant, even though it will seem to be]

Don't get me wrong, I think you guys are doing great work, and so far I like
debian better than redhat (on the sucktel system I have), I was just trying
to make some hopefully helpful suggestions...I can still play with .deb
stuff on a redhat install.

On the diversity of packages issue, I agree, diversity of packages is good.
But it just seemed to me that everyone is trying their hardest to get every
package under the sun into the archive, without worrying about whether they
work or install properly.  (lesstif, gtk being the biggest culprits).

I guess the major problem I had was that I tried to install too much.  I
should have installed the absolute base minimum system and then
incrementally added packages.  As it was, with too many things installed,
many of them broken...things all went to hell rather quickly.

The *reason* I tried to install too much was that when going through dselect
initially I noticed that the base setup didn't contain many essential
utilities (though I can't remember which, networking stuff, I think).

> It just is one of the differences in the systems... RH thinks there way is "The
> Right Way" (probably tm), SlackWare have there, which they think is "The Right
> Way To Go" (probably tm to :), and we, Debian have our way...

But of course.  Why do anything you don't think is right?  ;)

> > > 2) Few (if any) duplicate functionality packages.  For instance, Debian
> > > comes with like 7 mail-delivery-agents.  What's with that?  To a new user,
> > > it's not clear which is best, and at times, even that you can only choose
> 
> Now this point was the one that really got me! DIVERSITY!!

As I recall, there were several "sets" of preselected packages.
Workstation, network server, print server, etc...  I needed functionality
from several of these, and had to select packages by hand.  *that's* where
the difficulty started.

> If you don't like DIVERSITY, freedom of choice, maybe you should stick with M$?
> They will ram there OS down your trough, and you don't have any thing to say
> about that.

> > > *one*.  Also, there are 3 different mutually exclusive ways to install the
> > > gtk libs.  (???)
> 
> So? It's gets installed, right? Isn't that what you wanted? Why should it matter
> that it can be installed in '3 different mutually exclusive ways'? 

gnome has its gtk libs (which it depends on).  gtk1.1 is there too.
selecting just one of them was a pain since anytime I selected any package
that depended on gtk it brought up the annoying little help screen followed
by dependency info.  I'd suggest only bringing up *unresolved* dependency
info.

> > > 3) Whittle down the number of packages.  At last count the main tree had
> > > 1713 packages in it.  It takes many hours to sift through that list and
> > > decide what to install.  And after doing so, you simply can't remember all
> > > the "neato" little things you installed.  I saw mention recently of trying
> > > to keep up with the intel side of .deb's.  Forget about it.  Their community
> > > is much larger and they will always churn out new stuff faster than us.  Go
> > > for a smaller set of stable packages instead of the latest whiz-bang stuff.
> 
> Ahh... Here it is again... I think I've said enough about this issue... Use M$
> if you don't like freedom of choice... Even RH/SW have a lot of packages.

Maybe I should reword that.  Whittle down the number of packages in the
*base*.  Put the rest in contrib.

> > > 6) dselect needs a major overhaul.  Its key mappings are non-intuitive and
> > 
> > You should take a look at apt.
> 
> As he said, this is also worked on. The apt crew have done quite a nice piece of
> software here, and it's being continusly improved...

Hmmm...I selected it when I installed, but it didn't get installed...I tried
to run it once or twice... ???

> -- Microsoft: Do less with more.   UNIX on Intel: Do more with less. --
     ^^^^^^^^^                                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
;)   I love linux.                   Why I bought an alpha.  ;)

Ok, so the next time I mail to this list it'll be something useful, instead
of a bunch of bitching.  ;)

-- Bob

  ./'^`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'#`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'~`\._./'^`\.
 / Rube Goldberg? Bah! Amateur! I give you..Windows 98! Linux everywhere \ 
| Linux, because everyone's work is mission critical.   ANYTHING inside.  |
|_Bob McElrath (mcel...@wisconsin.cern.ch) Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison_|
  \.___________________________________________________________________./


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From: c...@taz.net.au (Craig Sanders)
Subject: Re: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/09/24
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On Thu, 24 Sep 1998, Bob McElrath wrote:

> On the diversity of packages issue, I agree, diversity of packages is
> good.  But it just seemed to me that everyone is trying their hardest
> to get every package under the sun into the archive, without worrying
> about whether they work or install properly. (lesstif, gtk being the
> biggest culprits).

i have nearly all GTK and GNOME packages installed. except for the odd
app that doesn't quite work (not surprising, GNOME is alpha software
after all), i haven't had any problems. while one or two apps may fail
to do anything useful when run, they have all installed correctly and
without causing any damage to the libraries or other parts of the
system.

ditto for lesstif. it's a library. it installs correctly. some apps
use it, and run reasonably well. the behaviour of lesstif and that of
"real" Motif 1.2 is different sometimes. this is normal....eventually,
apps that care about that difference will end up with #IFDEF LESSTIF ...
#ENDIF conditionals to cope with the differences, or lesstif will be
patched to correct it's faulty behaviour. again, this is normal.




> As I recall, there were several "sets" of preselected packages.
> Workstation, network server, print server, etc...  I needed
> functionality from several of these, and had to select packages by
> hand. *that's* where the difficulty started.

the pre-selections thing allows you to select multiple sets. it's a
good system...the only reason i don't use it is that i have been using
dselect for years and prefer to (tediously and painstakingly) select
each individual package - that way i get exactly what i want, nothing
more and nothing less.

i.e. the pre-selection thing is a short cut, dselect is more of a
"precision tool". :-)


> gnome has its gtk libs (which it depends on). gtk1.1 is there too.
> selecting just one of them was a pain since anytime I selected any
> package that depended on gtk it brought up the annoying little help
> screen followed by dependency info.  I'd suggest only bringing up
> *unresolved* dependency info.

that's what dselect does. it only brings up unresolved problems for
you to resolve. once you resolve them, they go away (unless you select
something which causes a different conflict)

dselect is certainly NOT the easiest program to learn. in fact, learning
it is probably the hardest thing about debian. in its favour, though,
is the fact that it does work and it works well.

dselect is difficult (but not impossible) to learn. IMO it is worth the
effort.

eventually, we'll have the user interface side of apt completed (both X
and text-mode versions) and then we'll be over the UI problems. in the
meantime, either use apt and/or dpkg from the command-line, or learn how
to drive dselect.



> > Ahh... Here it is again... I think I've said enough about this
> > issue... Use M$ if you don't like freedom of choice... Even RH/SW
> > have a lot of packages.
>
> Maybe I should reword that.  Whittle down the number of packages in
> the *base*.  Put the rest in contrib.

debian's "contrib" is not like redhat's "contrib".

in redhat, "contrib" is random stuff packaged by random people on the
net (often with no adherence to technical standards or distribution
policies). the result is a risky "lucky-dip": some good stuff in there,
but usually not.

debian's "contrib" section is maintained by registered debian
developers, using the same standards and policies as they do for any
other debian package. the *ONLY* difference between packages in "main"
and "contrib" is that contrib packages are Free Software which depends
upon non-free software, while packages in "main" don't have any such
encumbrances.


> > As he said, this is also worked on. The apt crew have done quite a
> > nice piece of software here, and it's being continusly improved...
>
> Hmmm...I selected it when I installed, but it didn't get installed...I
> tried to run it once or twice... ???

install apt. then run dselect and choose "apt" as the Access method
(first option on the dselect main menu). or run "apt-get" from the
command line.  or both.

craig

PS: try the debian-user mailing list if you run into problems with debian. 
one of debian's strengths is a large and helpful user community. 


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From: dle...@home.com (David Engel)
Subject: Re: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/09/25
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On Fri, Sep 25, 1998 at 09:56:56AM +1000, Craig Sanders wrote:
> the pre-selections thing allows you to select multiple sets. it's a
> good system...the only reason i don't use it is that i have been using
> dselect for years and prefer to (tediously and painstakingly) select
> each individual package - that way i get exactly what i want, nothing
> more and nothing less.
> 
> i.e. the pre-selection thing is a short cut, dselect is more of a
> "precision tool". :-)

I disagree about pre-selections being a good system.  They are a
one-time only shortcut at initial installation.  They do nothing to
help a non-expert/non-power user maintain a system over time.

I like much better a couple of ideas I've mentioned before but have
gone largely ignored.  

The first idea is to have, for lack of a better name, super packages.
Super packages don't contain any files.  Instead, they only contain
dependencies on other packages.  The advantage is that the desired set
of packages can be changed by simply modifying the dependency list in
the super package.

The second idea is for dselect (or apt or whatever) to either
automatically or at least offer to remove packages which haven't been
explicitly selected by the user when no other installed packages
depend on them.  Anyone have a good name for this.  The advantage is
that the user doesn't have to tediously keep track of packages that
are no longer needed.  How many times have you wanted to try out a
package only to find out that it installing it pulls in several other
packages, then later decide you don't want/need it, go to deselect it
and not remember all the other packages it pulled in?

Here's a real world example of how the above ideas could work.  The
preferred libstdc++ development package recently changed from
libstdc++2.8-dev to libstdc++2.9-dev.  With the current pre-selection
system, a user who is using hamm would have libstdc++2.8-dev
installed.  When that user upgrades to slink, he has to notice that
libstdc++2.9-dev is now available, decide that it is preferred over
libstdc++2.8-dev, explicitly select libstdc++2.9-dev and then
explicitly deselect libstdc++2.8-dev to resolve the resulting
conflict.  In contrast, a c++development super package which changed
from depending on libstdc++2.8-dev in hamm to depending on
libstdc++2.9-dev in slink would automatically handle the replacement
of libstdc++2.8-dev with libstdc++2.9-dev.

David
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From: c...@taz.net.au (Craig Sanders)
Subject: Re: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/09/25
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On Thu, 24 Sep 1998, David Engel wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 25, 1998 at 09:56:56AM +1000, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > the pre-selections thing allows you to select multiple sets. it's a
> > good system...the only reason i don't use it is that i have been using
> > dselect for years and prefer to (tediously and painstakingly) select
> > each individual package - that way i get exactly what i want, nothing
> > more and nothing less.
> > 
> > i.e. the pre-selection thing is a short cut, dselect is more of a
> > "precision tool". :-)
> 
> I disagree about pre-selections being a good system.  They are a
> one-time only shortcut at initial installation.  

that's what it was designed to do.  it does that job reasonably well.

> They do nothing to help a non-expert/non-power user maintain a system
> over time.

no, it's not designed to do that.  dselect and dpkg (and apt) are the
correct tools for this job.


> I like much better a couple of ideas I've mentioned before but have
> gone largely ignored.
>
> The first idea is to have, for lack of a better name, super packages.
> Super packages don't contain any files.  Instead, they only contain
> dependencies on other packages.  The advantage is that the desired set
> of packages can be changed by simply modifying the dependency list in
> the super package.

there used to be a package which did this. it was called 'chris-cust' or
something like that. christoph lameter's preferred/standard selections.

it's a good idea. i have my doubts about whether such packages are
suitable for inclusion in debian itself or not...but they can be very
useful to put in your own debian-local archive (especially if you
configure apt to use .../debian-local/ as well as debian main, contrib,
non-free, and non-us)

craig

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From: bd...@gag.com (Bdale Garbee)
Subject: Re: Back to RedHat
Date: 1998/10/03
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In article <Pine.LNX.3.96.98092...@siva.taz.net.au> you wrote:

: it's a good idea. i have my doubts about whether such packages are
: suitable for inclusion in debian itself or not...but they can be very
: useful to put in your own debian-local archive (especially if you
: configure apt to use .../debian-local/ as well as debian main, contrib,
: non-free, and non-us)

Yep.  I've got a similar package we use at work that forces a certain set of
package decisions required for peaceful coexistence in our environment, which
is implemented with dependencies.  Then, the postinst runs a tool that tweaks
a few things, including adding a root crontab entry to run our nightly system
config freshener.  We put it in our local package directory.  

Another thing we do is to pull selected packages from 'unstable' into our
local package directory, when we want to force the inclusion of a newer rev
even on systems that are running mostly-stable.  Sendmail is a good example.

Bdale


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