Not just desktops; too many libraries as well

Lennart Sorensen lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/FfD2ys at
Tue Nov 22 14:28:39 UTC 2005

On Tue, Nov 22, 2005 at 01:21:21AM -0500, Christopher Browne wrote:
> The trouble comes when you install one thing that then draws in 15 others.
> Consider, let's say, PostgreSQL.  It can use SSH connections, so it's
> liable to lead to that dependancy being added.  It can support
> Kerberos, so, if that's seems a "reasonable" default to someone, it'll
> add some Kerberos components.  One might want pgcrypto, one of the
> "contrib" modules; if so, that forces in mcrypt and possibly some
> other crypto packages.

That is why debian has 3 levels of dependancies.  Requires, Recomends,
and Suggests.  Requires is things that must be installed (like libraries
and such) for the package to work at all.  Recomended packages are
things that many people will often want to allow certain features to
work, but it will stil operate without the package.  Suggests are things
that can add some features to the package, but are certainly not
essential to the normal use of the package.  You can configure it as to
what levels you want it to auto install.  Normally only requires are
installed, but things like aptitude and synaptic can be configured to
install other levels automatically if you want.

> So you added a database, and because it is *able* to link to a bunch
> of other things, you wind up drawing in a bunch of peripheral packages
> that don't appear to be "database" stuff.
> This sort of scenario is remarkably common, particularly with GNOME/KDE :-).

Only if the option is a compile time option only, and once made you
can't change your mind at run time.  Debian modularises php for example,
making it very flexible to install just the features you want.  Perhaps
that is a problem with gnome/kde then if they absolutely require
anything enabled at configure/compile time.

kde/gnome are certainly split into a lot of packages on debian, and you
only have to install the libraries required by the parts you install.
If you ask to install the kde meta package (which depends on all the
other meta packages, each of which depend on the individual components)
then yes it will install an awful lot of things.  But you don't have to
install all that.

Lennart Sorensen
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