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Eshat Cakar 05-17-2011 08:26 PM

Additional info about recommended/suggested packages
Dear Debian Developers,

I've already spoken about this at LinuxTag after the Debian talk held by
tolimar and also had a short discussion on #debian

At the moment there is no way to get more information about
suggested/recommended packages, except their names. In particular I am talking
about which functionality is added when also installing them.
I missed this feature in debian after seeing Arch Linux, which executes a
simple echo-line in the tar.gz of a package being installed, which I found to
be very useful.
let me give you an example: amarok produces following output

ifuse (optional) - support for Apple iPod Touch and iPhone
libgpod (optional) - support for Apple iPod audio devices
libmtp (optional) - support for portable media devices
libmygpo-qt (optional) - Internet Service
loudmouth (optional) - backend needed by mp3tunes for syncing

As you can see, it is very hard for ordinary users to find out what the
package is doing by just seeing the packagename, that is why I think that
additional info should be provided in a uniform way.
By now there is only the Readme.Debian which could contain this but I couldn't
find a package providing it. Anyway, a disadvantage of this "solution" is,
that the package first needs to be installed and the users needs to navigate
and search for that specific info.

A better way to solve this (IMHO) could be, in giving the maintainer (which
should know about the dependencies very well) an optional tag in the control
file. I know that this would be a relative huge step (policies would need to
be updated) but this way, the package does not need to be installed and users
could use apt-get/aptitude and add/remove packages which better fit to their
Also this info needs to be added just once (in general) by the maintainer and
since it is optional it could be added later at any time.

I would be happy to see a feature like this (in wheezy).

Best regards

eshat cakar
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