> For other packages, it's unclear to me whether I should specify them as 
> depends or recommends: they aren't dependencies in a strict sense, but 
> marking them as dependencies will make it easier to install a 
> fully-functional reprotest.

You should specify these as Recommends, the definition matches what you just 
described [1]. Also see how diffoscope does things.

[1] https://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-relationships.html#s-binarydeps 
starting from "The meaning of the five dependency fields is as follows:"

> When reprotest runs with variations enabled that it can't test because it 
> doesn't have the correct packages installed, I intend to have it print a 
> warning but continue to run.

I'd say it's better to fail fast. Warnings can easily be missed. If the user 
really doesn't want to test a variation, they can disable it using the 
mechanisms you already mentioned. 

> Locales are a particular problem because I don't know of a way in Debian to 
> specify that a given locale must be installed.

All locales are installed by default (unless you install the "localepurge" 
package, which is an unsupported hack that you don't need to worry about), so 
you just need to reconfigure the locales package to "generate" the fr locale. 
I'm not sure how this works exactly, but you can look into it. You can do it 
manually via `sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales` but you might be able to script 
this within reprotest.

> While at the moment, reprotest only builds on the existing system, when I 
> start extending it to other build environments, this will require 
> double-dispatch, because the code that needs to be executed will depend on 
> both the variation to be tested and the environment being built on.

I don't understand this - could you elaborate a bit more, on what you mean by 
"double dispatch" and why we need this?


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