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Re: Parameterized packages

From: Ricardo Wurmus
Subject: Re: Parameterized packages
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 21:55:14 +0100
User-agent: mu4e 1.2.0; emacs 26.3

ison <address@hidden> writes:

> Maybe the current discussion is trying too hard to emulate Gentoo's USE
> flags and dependency graph concept (perhaps its my fault for bringing up
> global flags). But that feels like introducing "side effects", and maybe the
> whole idea should be treated more "functionally" in Guix.
> That is, simplify the problem to the mere concept of passing arguments to
> functions and nothing more. Take the headless server example: some parameter
> is passed to a package such as
> '("-X")
> That package would then be entirely responsible for what to do with them. If
> the package decides not to pass the same parameters to its inputs then the
> inputs are simply built without any parameters.

I think this is a sensible approach, though it would require agreement
or at least coordination among package contributors about what
parameters to use.  For example, one such parameter could be
“#:headless” to disable any graphical user interface or desktop feature,
but a case could just as well be made for “#:gui” or “#:graphical”…

Coordination hasn’t been a problem so far because we managed to agree on
build systems and utilities, but it seems to me that parameters to match
on span a much larger range — I feel reminded of the problem of package
tags or categories, which are a similarly large field that defies


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