Mint's default for including recommended packages on software installs.

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Firebytes, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    According to a couple of websites I was looking at, when I install software in Mint the recommended packages aren't installed along with it. The websites state that this can cause problems with the programs. (Apparently Ubuntu does install recommended packages when users install software.)

    What might be the reasons that Mint does not include the recommended packages other than saving disk space? I would assume there must be some reason that accounts for taking the stated risk incurred with not including them.

    Should I change the default way Mint handles recommended packages? If so, which of the stated ways on the websites would be the best approach?

    Sources:

    https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/mint-mate-first
    (see - Improve the settings of the mechanism for installing software)

    http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=185770
     
  2. inka

    inka Registered Member

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    Zero "risk" from ignoring _recommended_ packages.
    Worst case outcome I can think of is: forgoing "*plugins-extras" recommended packages when installing a multimedia player
    might lead to discovering "gee, player lacks ability to handle suchandsuch mediafile format" or "gee, I don't have available as many 'visualizations' fx as I had hoped".
    Another example: installing a file archiver app without installing all-known additional compression engines... on your system the archiver won't be able to handle a
    particular archive type until/unless you elect to install the relevant compression engine.

    The risk from installing superfluously-recommended packages is unnecessary introduction of additional package (inter)dependencies, which often leads to conflicts.
    Maybe not conflict now/today, but tomorrow when you wish to install whatever other package... oops that can't be installed because it conflicts with "stuffs"
    which got installed due to a "only installed in the first place because it was recommended" package requirement.

    Although I don't boot Mint regularly, I heartily agree with their "just say no to recommends, by default" configuration.
    You're free to install recommended items on a case-by-case basis. Synaptic package manager makes it easy to check, find out what each recommended package is / does
    and whether or not it would, in fact, be useful to you.
     
  3. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Apparently there are potential problems either way. As you said, I guess I'll just decide on a case by case basis.
     
  4. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Honestly, Mint developers are known for being more careful when it comes to installing packages. On Ubuntu you might install your video drivers and be presented with a tty1 Terminal on reboot because Ubuntu's developers "forgot" to mark the Kernel Headers to be installed too. This doesn't happen on Mint.

    Regarding conflicts, I haven't seen one single case where recommended packages conflicted. As long as you don't mix repositories (e.g. mixing Debian Stable with Testing) you'll most likely be fine.
     
  5. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Thanks for your input amarildojr. I appreciate Mint's regard for system stability, that's why I was curious as to why they wouldn't install recommended packages with software installs. The websites I listed made it sound like it was more likely to have problems with software installed by users due to this.
     
  6. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    It could be the case, I haven't used Mint too much. It could also mean that Mint gives the user more control over these packages.
     
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