DevHeads.net

RFC: Alternative -devel packaging

Consider a library like libGL. At runtime, you want the drivers it
might load to be installed. But when building an application, you just
need the library itself. If the drivers themselves have non-trivial
dependencies, the buildroot is more likely to fail to compose.

The problem, in a sense, is that the devel package requires the package
providing the API library, _and_ said required package requires the
drivers. What if instead you had (in pseudo-spec):

%package devel
Requires: %{name}-sdk

%package sdk

%package libs
Requires: foo-drivers

where -libs and -sdk have identical %files, but -sdk has automatic
provides for library sonames turned off (so it never satisfies a
runtime dependency). This would duplicate some content on the mirrors,
but not the installed system, and it would let you compose a buildroot
with only the API surface you link against.

Is this all dodging the issue that nothing agrees what Recommends:
means? And that nobody's compose tools or comps files really understand
what drivers they want, and that propagating that information is an
unbounded task? Well, yeah, a bit. I still think it'd solve a real
problem, I'm just wondering if the idea is too ugly to consider.

- ajax