Thursday, June 9, 2011

Weird Dependency of Packages in Linux World

Often, even today, I come across many problems related to package dependency in linux. Most of them suck while you are installing certain packages offline or building some packages from source. However, the worst still yet, as per my opinion is those weird packages that you can't remove. If you dare to remove them you're going to uninstall some key packages from the system. That may render your PC useless!

There are thousands of such cases. Here I will cite just four: fortune cookies, cowsay, libthai and libgweather.

Last night, I was trimming Linux Mint Julia on a friend's netbook. The netbook was running on a bare-and-basic intel N450 platform. I removed as much packages as possible. But while removing those weird four packages I got frightening warnings.

While removing libthai, I got a warning (click on the pic below to see it on true aspect/size) that it was going to remove alacarte, artha, bleachbit, avidemux and some 94 other packages. Damn, what libthai has to do with my computing life! I never browse Thai websites for work and/or fun. Why the heck it's dependency with some core/key packages? Why not libindic or libafrica (if they exist at all) is such a dependency?

Next weird dependency is the combination of fortune-cookies (fortune-min, fortune-mod, fortune-husse) and cowsay. Try to remove them you'll get a notification to remove ubuntu-minimal, mintsystem and some other core/key packages (click on the pic below to see it on true aspect/size). WTF? Why the gnome or mint (or whosoever) people have bundled these fancy programs as mandatory. Any fortune or cowsay message is a nag for many. Yet, they can't remove them. Sure, there are workarounds to stop fortune and/or cowsay. But... ?

Finally, why is that libgweather an integral part of gnome? Remove libgweather packages warns to remove gnome-panel and indicator applet as well (click on the pic below to see it on true aspect/size). What was wrong in making it as an optional package? I just like clock, vol applet and network monitor on my gnome systray; sane and usable.

As I said there are hundreds such weird packages that are built as key dependency with some other really important packages. Seems, the linux world is leaning more towards fancy than function.


Unknown said...

Yeah funny :) I cannot install a *minimal* Fedora without libgwaether and libthai!

Dashesy said...

Yeah funny, I cannot install a *minimal* fedora without libthai and libgweather!

Anonymous said...

I've been with Linux about 6 months. I love Linux, but I'm beginning to hate the distros.

What you site in this article is pointing to a basic truth: such packages are NOT CONDUCIVE to freedom.

You can't remove Internet Explorer without breaking Microsoft and you can't remove Cowsay without breaking Mint. What's the difference? Internet Explorer can be useful.

How positively "Microsoftish" of these distros to do this.

This just goes to show that you can take a man away from Microsoft, but taking Microsoft out of the man is entirely different thing.

The only true Linux virus is Microsoft thinking: it spreads and reproduces until most distros are infected.

How about this