On Sat, 2016-09-17 at 11:26:05 +0200, Michael Biebl wrote:
> I wonder if nowadays pkg-config would qualify as Build-Essential.

I don't think so.

> We have 2400 source packages listing it as explicit Build-Depends and
> countless -dev packages pulling in pkg-config. So the list of packages
> requiring pkg-config during build is potentially much longer.

As a counter example debhelper is used by almost all packages in Debian,
yet it's not build-essential (in part because you always need to specify
a versioned dependency, but still), I guess there might be other similar

> At which point do we consider a package Build-Essential?
> It's not like every package actually uses gcc or make during build either.

If you had picked g++ that would have been a better example. :) But
make is used by all our sources via debian/rules, and gcc is used also
by all our sources via dpkg-architecture (both of which are not strong
dependencies by dpkg-dev, and should not be).

My question would be instead, why should we keep g++ as build-essential?

> Aside from the sheer number of packages requiring pkg-config, adding it
> to build-essential would be an endorsement of pkg-config as the one
> right tool to detect dependencies during configure.

I don't think Essential/build-essential are the right tools for this
kind of endorsements. Also, from your later message, I see where you
are coming from, but then I also think if the dependencies have
accidentally become implicit due to something else pulling them,
the correct course of action (even if painful!) is to fix those


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