r8219 - in trunk/BOOK: . gnome/add introduction/welcome

DJ Lucas dj at linuxfromscratch.org
Tue Jan 19 23:49:30 PST 2010

On 01/19/2010 09:53 AM, Bruce Dubbs wrote:
> Randy McMurchy wrote:
>> This goes strictly against policies set by BLFS for years. BLFS disables
>> optional dependencies, and puts the --disable-whatever on the command
>> line. Only in extenuating circumstances have we varied from that policy.
> I would like to agree here with both Randy and Wayne.  I'm not a Gnome
> user, so I really can't comment on the specifics, but I think the book
> is a bit more useful when the editor expresses an opinion.
> If a recommended dependency is explained, then the user still knows it's
> not required and can make a choice.  If everything is just optional,
> then it makes it slightly harder for a user to decide if the dependency
> is important or not.  If a user doesn't know, then I think they would go
> with the recommendations and end up with a more satisfactory result.
Well, I have to disagree.  A recommendation should not be governed by an 
editor's opinion, but by necessity.  I'd wager that, based on the 
previous discussion, there should be recommended dependencies on less 
than 15 of the packages in the book, maybe less.  One of the arguments 
in the previous discussion was "major functionality," but I can quite 
well argue that "major functionality" cannot possibly be determined 

Allow me to explain by example.  However unlikely, using the previous 
example from this thread, gnome-mount provides facilities for 
auto-mounting of removable media on hotplug events.  One of the other 
'minor' functions it provides is the ability to eject a CD.  I don't 
plan to use Gnome Desktop, or hot-plugging at all, but I do like that 
gnome-mount can eject my CDs in Xfce and it talks to D-Bus which can run 
post-eject actions in an efficient manor.

I realize there is an eject program (which is cmmi), but to use eject, 
I'd be dependent upon another program to do polling, or wait for it to 
show in sysfs and then write my own program to do whatever action is 
required when the CD is ejected.  Do I really need to install the 35 (?) 
other required deps for nautilus to make gnome-mount do what I need it 
to do in Xfce?  There are probably 100 or more examples in the book now 
(A fairly good portion of them put there by me!).  :-)

Granted this would probably be the minority of users, but the 
recommended dependency above is useless to me.  Yes, for most users it 
is probably a good recommendation, but it is still based on opinion of 
the editor, and that opinion is based on the incorrect assumption that I 
plan to use Gnome.  Recommended should be used very sparingly.  If there 
is any doubt whatsoever, it should be most definitely be listed as 
optional rather than recommended.  If it is a complex package, and the 
editor adding the dependency feels that there should be more explanation 
than a parenthetical remark, then we have note and warning boxes to keep 
people from shooting themselves in the foot.

The only real reason I can think of, is if omitting a dependency could 
cause harm to your system, or breakage of existing packages.  Possibly 
otherwise, a dependent package *must* have a specific configuraton based 
on whether or not a dep is installed, but even still, both 
configurations can be provided.   I've used the latter for justification 
of a recommended dependency in the past (system sqlite for Mozilla 
products).  I should probably pull those, and add a warning.  Maybe I 
won't install anything else that needs sqlite.

-- DJ Lucas

This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content, and is believed to be clean.

More information about the blfs-book mailing list