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Why must apt fall short of the mark? Contributed by robot101 on Friday, June 08 @ 19:06:36 BST
We all know that one of the major selling points of Debian is apt - the glorious command line package tool which will install, upgrade, download, moo and more. Before apt, and before Debian became so big as to be pretty inpractical in dselect, one of the major selling points was the package relationships, with Recommends and Suggests adding value and functionality to packages.
AGL: An interresting discussion point. Personally I always use apt on the command line - I wonder what packages I'm missing out on
As a maintainer I use these on most of my packages, and lament the fact that they will in fact go un-noticed to a large proportion of users who stick to using apt-get to install just what they need. The problem worsens - the task packages (which havn't gone away quite yet... =) make extensive use of lesser relationships like Recommends and Suggests, and these are silently ignored by apt.
So why doesn't apt-get support Recommends and Suggests? It was mentioned on IRC that it's because apt's meant to be a backend, not a user tool... that doesn't cut the mustard with me. Whoever heard of an interactive backend? How nice it would be to be able to say --recommends=yes, or --suggests=ask, or specify similar options in apt.conf, and have apt include the recommended packages and prompt us with a list of the suggested packages, or something along those lines.
I know I'm not the only one who thinks Debian's pride and joy falls short of the mark on this count, and as a consequence users miss out on information and functionality, not to mention informed choice. Whilst I lack the knowledge to solve this, I'm sure it's doable. Who else thinks this is a much needed feature? Can anyone who's reading this add it? Maybe we should start a petition or have a DP poll. What do you all think?