Recommended Dependencies

Randy McMurchy randy at
Sat Aug 29 09:39:44 PDT 2009

DJ Lucas wrote these words on 08/29/09 11:20 CST:
> Randy McMurchy wrote:
>> My take is that Recommended is actually wrong here. I think the proper
>> syntax should be:
>>   <bridgehead renderas="sect4">Required</bridgehead>
>>     <para role="required"><xref linkend="gpm"/> (if mouse support is
>>     desired) and
>>     <xref linkend="openssl"/> (if SSL support is desired)</para>
>> If you want the support these two dependencies provide, then the dependencies
>> are *required*. Let's actually use correct terminology in these types of
>> instances.
>> Please, if you disagree or have comments feel free to provide them. I'm
>> simply making suggestions here. I would like feedback from others.
> I'm not seeing it the same way.  In fact, gpm should be an optional 
> dependency IMO.

I agree. I got caught up with trying to dissuade Recommended, yet not
mention Optional. I think DJ is correct in that GPM should simply be
Optional (with a parenthetical note).

> Required:  Package will not build/install/work without it.

There has been in the past a slightly different look about the above.
Keep in mind the "Run Time" thing we have hashed out a million times.
If a package needs a dependency only at run-time, then we annotate

> Recommended:  Package looses significant functionality without it or 
> (new) causes issues with other packages if omitted.

We see the same on all cases except this one. This is where it has
always been "Editor's Choice". And I'm not a big fan of that one. I
look at it that if an Optional package dependency can be identified
in a short parenthetical note that it provides significant functionality,
then that is the way to do it.

Example:  Gimp right now. libjpeg and libtiff are Recommended. And I
have to agree with that, using DJ's "significant functionality" rule.
But that sort of conflicts what I just said in the previous paragraph.
The difference I see is that if we don't put these two libraries as
Recommended, then we put the switches to disable them on the configure
command line.

This is what I don't like. A user that has the libraries installed but
simply cuts and pastes our instructions. That user just built a Gimp
that doesn't support basic images. Hence, recommended.

So indeed there is "Editor's Choice". It just has to be used prudently.

> [snip]
> But, recommended is always subject to opinion, that's why I suggested 
> peer review before adding a recommended dep for any future changes.

I agree with this.

> A 
> review of the existing recommendations can't hurt.  80 packages?  Won't 
> take all that long.

I'm putting together the data right now.


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