Dependency loops considered harmful?

Callum Lerwick seg at
Thu Sep 4 07:23:11 UTC 2008

On Wed, 2008-09-03 at 16:41 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> Callum Lerwick wrote:
> > On Wed, 2008-09-03 at 14:12 -0400, Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> >> Applications that consist of multiple packages, such as the game
> >> example, should be designated as a group rather than a looped
> >> dependency.
> > 
> > Actually a proper fix is to implement the per-package "explicitly
> > installed/pulled in as a dep" flag that has been discussed several times
> > in the past, and is already implemented (thus proven) in the "aptitude"
> > apt front end.
> > 
> > We must address this user interface problem if Fedora is to be a shining
> > beacon of open source light in the looming dark future of closed
> > DRM-laden content delivery services such as Steam, Xbox Live and
> > PlayStation Network.
> > 
> That works for a Mom and Pop desktop but doesn't work as a developer's
> workstation.  When developing software you might need a library that
> does Foo.  Look on the system, hey, I can use libFoo!  A few weeks
> later, when you remove Gnome-Foo from your system because your shiny new
>  application does the job,

Why would you do such a thing?

> your app suddenly can't find libFoo....
> (Worse is if your working on an app sporadically and have to figure out
> why it's broken not knowing when it became that way.)

The solution to this is to RPM package your app. Apps on your system
that are not tracked by RPM are a ticking time bomb of dependency
breakage whether or not the "leaf culling" is performed manually or is
assisted by a "pulled in as dep" flag. A package or distribution update
could very well break your app too.

> So if we track this some way, there needs to be a way to disable it.

A developer presumably doesn't use the hypothetical simplified
application installer. They use something more advanced. Like aptitude.
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