[aur-general] When to use optdepends (was: AUR package q -- newbie)

Dan Sommers 2QdxY4RzWzUUiLuE at potatochowder.com
Tue May 12 14:32:26 UTC 2020

On Tue, 12 May 2020 15:55:58 +0200
Markus Schaaf <mschaaf at elaboris.de> wrote:

> > It's not really clear to me when to optdepend.
> Comments welcome. My idea is to use optdepends for things the user may
> want, but it's not obvious how to make them work, like a glue-library
> the application needs to use another facility, e.g. gpgme to use gpg,
> or ghostscript to produce PDF.

As a *user*, I look at an optdepends'ed package as an otherwise
independent package that makes the original package better or more
useful.  I usually think that the original package will use the
optdepends'ed package out of the box, especially if the latter is
already installed when I install the former, or automatically if I
install the latter later.  IMO, the more I have to do to configure the
main package to use the optdepends'ed package, the relationship degrades
from optdepends to something lesser.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PKGBUILD#optdepends has some good
examples.  In particular, if I see that a package has an optdepends on
CUPS, then I assume that that package detects and uses CUPS all by
itself.  The package, of course, likely does lots of other things even
if it can't print.

Just my 2¢.

“Atoms are not things.” – Werner Heisenberg
Dan Sommers, http://www.tombstonezero.net/dan

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