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

No, 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.
> At which point do we consider a package Build-Essential?

Policy is very clear on this:

    It is not necessary to explicitly specify build-time relationships on a
    minimal set of packages that are always needed to compile, link and put in
    a Debian package a standard "Hello World!" program written in C or C++


pkg-config does not match that description (at least not until you can't
find libc without pkg-config).

Does that make build-essential useless? Perhaps. I guess it was added in
a time when Debian consisted of a few hundred packages, out of which
most of them were written in C or C++. This isn't the case anymore
today, obviously, and in that light it might be a good idea to change
the definition of build-essential (or perhaps do away with it
altogether). Due to the nature of how build-essential is used, though, I
believe that's going to be a lot of work for little benefit.

< ron> I mean, the main *practical* problem with C++, is there's like a dozen
       people in the world who think they really understand all of its rules,
       and pretty much all of them are just lying to themselves too.
 -- #debian-devel, OFTC, 2016-02-12

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