[Whonix-devel] Bug#942303: Weak-Depends - something in the middle between 'Recommends:' and 'Depends:'

Patrick Schleizer adrelanos at riseup.net
Mon Oct 14 10:53:00 CEST 2019

Package: dpkg
Severity: wishlist
X-Debbugs-CC: whonix-devel at whonix.org

It would be useful if there was something in between of 'Recommends:'
and 'Depends:'.


Similar to “Depends”. It lists packages that get installed when using
'apt --no-install-recommends meta-package', but any package listed there
can be removed without removing the meta-package which referenced the

In other words…

“Weak-Depends”: Declares a weak dependency. Most users of this package
may benefit from installing packages listed in this field, but can have
reasonable functionality without them.

The “Suggests” debian/control field does not work for this use case.
Very few users are using ‘apt --install-suggests’. And ‘apt
--no-install-suggests’ is the default. Also when using ‘apt
dist-upgrade’ this leads to inconsistencies:

- newly added packages to “Suggests” are not installed
- removed packages from “Suggests” aren’t removed

Use case:

Let’s take for example the meta package ‘lxde’. Sometimes users are
happy with such meta packages generally and would like to keep it.
However, ‘lxde’ ‘Depends:’ on ‘galculator’. Maybe a user prefers a
different calculator and wants to remove that one.

(Let’s assume galculator isn’t essential for lxde. I guess it is. But if
it isn’t, please don’t concentrate on the specific example but the
general use case. There are many such examples.)

[This isn’t the best example too. Perhaps things that take a lot disk
space or are more intrusive such as context menu integrations by file
compressors are more worthwhile.]

In that case removal of galculator would lead to removal of lxde. Next
time “apt autoremove” is being run other packages which are not intended
by the user to be uninstalled get uninstalled. Something simple as
removal of galculator isn’t that simple. Would galculator move from
“Depends” to “Weak-Depends” everything would be perfect.


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