How important is comps.xml to us these days? Which packages should be in comps.xml and which not?

Thorsten Leemhuis fedora at
Sat Sep 20 18:36:25 UTC 2008

Hi all!

I recently created comps.xml files for RPM Fusion. During that a few
things around comps.xml got discussed on the RPM Fusion lists(¹).

That and a recent change (²) to
made me wonder:

How important is comps.xml to us these days?

(Note that I mean Fedora and RPM Fusion with "us" here, as RPM Fusion 
for things like this just follows the Fedora guidelines)

Comps.xml is afaics mainly used in anaconda (and thus indirectly in 
tools like pungi that rely on anaconda) and yum (if you know what to do) 
these days; PackageKit afaics doesn't use it much (or does it use 
comps.xml at all? Will that change?); it just lists everything it finds 
afaics (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not using PackageKit much and just 
use yum directly).

Thus for most packages it doesn't matter much if they are missing in
comps.xml -- if they are missing there they will not be able to select
in anaconda during install, but that's all. Which brings me to the 
second question:

Which packages should be in comps.xml and which not?

Round about two years ago (e.g. before the merge) we IIRC for a short 
while mainly said and acted like this: round about everything that is 
not a lib (those normally get tracked in by deps when needed) or a devel 
package should be mentioned in comps.xml; that of course included 
command line apps(³). Note sure if it ever made it to the guidelines 
with these or similar words; likely not. These days the wiki says:

> If you maintain an application which makes sense for a user to select
> during installation, [...] make sure that your package is listed in a
> reasonable group in the files.

I consider the "during installation" part not much helpful because a 
package that seems unimportant during installation for 99% of the users 
might be something a few other users will look out for. Heck, some new 
Fedora users might even abort the Fedora install at this point if they 
miss a package they really plan to use with Fedora.

But that is only one of the problems afaics; according to

there are 2866 packages in comps-f10 and 1711 packages missing (seems 
the SRPMS are used as a base here; I'm wondering if using RPMs might be 
more wise, but that is just one more thing to discuss); some of
those 1711 really are in fedora for quite a while and really look to me
like worthwhile mentioning in comps.xml (see above), to make sure people 
can find and select them right during install with anaconda. Do we care?


(¹) doesn't matter much for this discussion, but for the curious see
this thread


(³) see also

More information about the fedora-devel-list mailing list