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Re: Dependency hell, again (was Re: dasher)

On Thu, 7 Jan 2010, Steven Bellovin wrote:

As was explained to me, a while back, options in packages are bad, because you can't have binary packages for all possible settings. A variant of the package -- perhaps with a Makefile.common -- with something like that set differently, solves that problem; there can be binaries of each variant.

I think you should demand your money back for that explanation.

That can only work as long as you decide beforehand to follow the splitting principle inconsistently and reluctantly. Apply it to every package where you would otherwise have build options, and you end up in the exact same place as with building for all options, only with a lot more maintenance overhead. (I would argue that if anything, build options would give less overhead and fewer binary packages to build.) [*]

But that's not even the point. There's nothing that says you'd have to build binary packages for every possible combination of options (does anyone actually even want that?) -- I just want to be able to use those options myself to disable or enable certain dependencies and avoid pulling in things I'll never use.

[*] Of course, in practice what is argued for seems to be "none of the above", which leaves me and others in <subject>, and very reluctant to installing anything from pkgsrc that even remotely smells of Gnome, hence this discussion, over and over again...


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