[arch-dev-public] Discussion about optional dependencies

Sébastien Luttringer seblu at seblu.net
Fri Jul 22 16:40:44 UTC 2016

On mar., 2016-07-19 at 11:13 +1000, Allan McRae wrote:
> My opinion is the primary binary for a
package should run out of the box.  If you really need to reduce
dependencies, then a split package should be considered.


I think we provide a bad user experience when a program refuse to start
because a shared library is missing. This sounds like a packaging issue
and I agree we should improve the current situation.

Keeping the proposed example, the binary which provides the primary
functions of virtualbox (understand start/stop/edit VM) is vboxmanage.
In fact "virtualbox" is the entry point to the Qt GUI. There is also an
SDL GUI (VBoxSDL) and a no-GUI (VBoxHeadless).
For a server usage (without screen) of virtualbox, the primary binary
runs out the box without the Qt5 deps.

Admin that Qt5 GUI is the primary binary/usage, what "run out of the
box" means? Only display the GUI interface or the features behind ?
When you create a VM (via this primary binary) with hostonly
networking, it will not works until you install net-tools (currently a
optdepds) and it's not obvious to figure out.

So "primary binary" and "run out of the box" not really help to make
the choice with no doubt.
My current opinion is to only use optional dependencies to provides
enhancement to the package which are not creating library dependency
Which means wherever the virtualbox binary is shiped, the deps to qt5
should be pulled with.


Sébastien "Seblu" Luttringer
https://seblu.net | Twitter: @seblu42
GPG: 0x2072D77A
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