[pkg-boost-devel] Bug#588608: aptitude (priority important) depends on libboost-iostreams (priority optional)

Steve Langasek vorlon at debian.org
Sun Jul 18 00:38:50 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 09:17:38PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> > I wouldn't place any of Boost in that category.  In fact, I wouldn't
> > place "aptitude" in that category, either.

> aptitude was historically the recommended tool to use for upgrades because
> it had the best dependency resolver for handling the dist-upgrade case.
> For so long as that's true, it should be priority: important, which means
> that by definition the things that it requires are also priority:
> important or higher.

> If apt-get is now strong enough that we can recommend it for upgrades
> without qualms, then aptitude is another alternative package manager and
> standard may be fine.  Is that now the case?

Not only is apt-get now strong enough to handle the cases for which we
recommended aptitude in the sarge timeframe (with much better resolution of
upgrades, installation of Recommends by default, and tracking of
auto-installed packages), but aptitude has also had several deplorable
regressions since etch.  I don't know which of these made it into the lenny
release or which are still present in squeeze, but:

  - When I type 'aptitude install foo', *removing* foo instead of upgrading
    is not a valid solution and should never be offered.
  - When I type 'aptitude install foo', installing 5 packages, removing 3
    others, and upgrading 7 more *without installing foo* is not a valid
    solution and should never be offered.

And the reason I don't know if these regressions are still present in lenny
or squeeze is that, after about the second time running into such issues, I
abandoned use of aptitude altogether.  It's one thing to be unable to find a
solution and throw me an error; I have no patience for tools that do
something other than what I tell them to.

On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 12:43:05AM +0900, Osamu Aoki wrote:

> > Though I think any manual published on debian.org recommending aptitude for
> > upgrades is a bug that should be fixed.

> I fail to understand your intent of this statement.  

> Are you suggesting me to change the following text? 

>   Aptitude is the current preferred package management tool for the
>   Debian system. 

Yes, I believe this text should be changed.

> How does it need to be changed?  I am very curious and open for
> suggestion.

I believe the correct recommendations would be:

  - apt-get for all commandline operations, including package installation
    and removal, and dist-upgrades
  - aptitude for an interactive text interface for managing the installed
  - update-manager for keeping your system up-to-date if you're running the
    default GNOME desktop.

> Please note this document[1] is claimed to be a secondary documentation.
> I am merely following the primary documentation:
> http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/release-notes/ch-upgrading.en.html#upgradingpackages

> | Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (lenny)
> |
> | 4.5. Upgrading packages
> | 
> | The recommended way to upgrade from previous Debian GNU/Linux releases
> | is to use the package management tool aptitude. This program makes safer
> | decisions about package installations than running apt-get directly. 

> As I recall, there were long active discussion to reach this text.  So
> at least, this assessment is not an opinion of a single developer.

Two things:

 - This is a recommendation to use it as a tool for upgrading from previous
   releases, and is not an endorsement of the tool as a "preferred" package
   manager for other operations.  The upgrade instructions in the release
   notes are carefully crafted to try to smoothly and correctly handle
   upgrades on as many users' systems as possible, and for that reason,
   solutions should be considered for each release that use tools other than
   those recommended for daily operations.

 - The recommendation in the release notes was correct /at the time it was
   drafted/ (i.e., for sarge).  By lenny, it was giving noticeably worse
   results than apt-get in many cases, but by the time the issue was raised,
   some felt it was too late in the release cycle to revisit the text.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek at ubuntu.com                                     vorlon at debian.org
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