Sun, 05 Jul 2009

Correction regarding the tomboy / mono in default installation thingy

Wow, I wouldn't have thought, that my last blog entry about this topic would gain that much attention. Bad luck, that I have over seen two things in my previous blog. Sorry.

First of all: What I have written and what I'm writing at this moment is the current state. That doesn't mean it will change in one way or the other before Squeeze is released.

While it is true, that the gnome-desktop-environment meta package (installs a basic GNOME desktop) is used by much more users than the gnome meta package (installs a complete GNOME desktop) itself, it is not true, that debian-installer (d-i) will install the gnome-desktop-environment package. Well, it is no longer true, but since Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 aka Lenny the gnome package will be installed.

And things start to get a bit more complex: So, d-i will install the install everything gnome package by now (and will do so in the future). And this very package used to recommend tomboy. A recommends is a kind of weak dependency; if available (and this feature isn't turned off by the user) a recommended package will be automatically installed. But in contrast to a real dependency, there is no problem in removing a recommended package later.

So, when installing Lenny, and when using the GNOME installation media (not the KDE, Xfce or LXDE one), and when you have either a complete set of discs (including DVD or BlueRay installation) or internet access during installation time, tomboy (and therefore mono) will already be installed automatically. When using other installation media or only use the first CD (which doesn't contain tomboy) neither tomboy nor mono will be installed.

By the way: That was the second thing I have over seen. I did an installation test to see if tomboy would end up, but I used only the first CD and the machine I tested it with didn't had net access at this time.

So, it is already possible to install tomboy and mono using our installation images without actually knowing it, and has been so for quite some time. So far no one cared about that.

What caused the actually discussion is a planed change in the gnome package. Instead of recommending tomboy, gnome maintainers thought that at least one note taking software should be installed by default when installing the install everything gnome related meta package. So instead of recommending tomboy they plan to depend on either tomboy or gnote (an alternative note taking software, which doesn't use mono, but also doesn't have all features).

So one of the two note takings software will have to be installed, when the gnome meta package is installed. This isn't active, yet, but will as soon as the gnome maintainers upload the new version of this package.

So does this change imply, that tomboy and mono will end up in the default Debian installation? (Whatever this means; considering that we still offer installation media, which won't install GNOME, or even no desktop environment at all.)

No, it doesn't. While Debian's package management system will indeed prefer to install tomboy to the alternative gnote, the developers from the debian-installer can still override that and enforce the installation of gnote instead of tomboy. Or our CD team could decide that tomboy and its dependencies are to big for the first disc and include gnote instead; so gnote will be installed when only the first installation CD is used, in other cases (net install, installation from DVD or BlueRay) tomboy could be picked up.

That's yet to be decided.

So, what has really changed? Actually not much. Joe I don't know the package management well Average, who just types aptitude install gnome has got and still will get tomboy installed. So far he had the possibility to just remove tomboy, in future he will either have to install gnotes to replace the hard dependency on a note taking software. Joe I don't want the full bloat Average, who istalls the gnome-desktop-environment package (which is done by the majority of our users) will still get neither tomboy nor gnote, as well as all the other users of KDE, Xfce, LXDE or who have no desktop environment at all. For Joe I know the package management a bit Average the situation even improves! So far, when he installed gnome, he just saw the recommends on tomboy. Now he will see a dependency on tomboy or gnote, so he will at least be able to make a decision between those two applications, instead of just deciding between having tomboy installed or not.

So, yes, I have overseen two issues when writing my previous blog. But I still think, that it's wrong to say Debian will install mono by default. If you want to say anything at all, say Debian might install mono with its GNOME install media, but that can still change.

Update: Fixed some typos reported by Uwe.

postet at 17:54 into [Debian] permanent link


Alexander Tolimar Reichle-Schmehl lives in Tuttlingen / Germany. He works as IT manager (specialized on Unix and SAN/Storage) for an international automotive supplier.