Bug#853908: gnome-shell: consider dropping telepathy-mission-control-5 dependency

Simon McVittie smcv at debian.org
Wed Feb 1 23:43:22 UTC 2017

Package: gnome-shell
Version: 3.22.2-4
Severity: wishlist
Tags: patch

There was some discussion on #debian-gnome last week about maybe dropping
Telepathy from the core GNOME metapackages, on the basis that Telepathy
appears essentially dead upstream, and instant messaging (other than the
various closed-off networks like Facebook Chat) is a less interesting
feature than it used to be. (These facts are not unrelated of course.)

GNOME Shell depends on telepathy-mission-control-5, because it used
to have Telepathy instant messaging presence controls - but I don't
think this dependency is really justified any more, because GNOME
Shell will no longer put Telepathy accounts online itself. The only
Telepathy-specific features remaining in Shell are a special version
of the usual notifications for IMs, which will just not appear if there
are no Telepathy accounts online.

During the discussion I used equivs to fake the empathy dependency in
gnome-core and the telepathy-mission-control-5 dependency in gnome-shell,
allowing me to remove those packages and see what breaks. After using
the resulting system for about a week the answer appears to be "nothing":
when I do a search from the Shell, GNOME Contacts logs messages about not
being able to find Telepathy account capabilities, but that's about it.

So I think we should drop the Depends on telepathy-mission-control-5,
or at least weaken it to Recommends or Suggests.

I'm not sure whether the release team would be very receptive to this at
this stage of the freeze (although on the other hand, less code means
fewer bugs) but if this isn't done for stretch, I think it should
definitely be done as soon as buster opens.

I attach the obvious patch.

Making the dependencies on Telepathy GObject-Introspection (or even
libtelepathy-glib) non-mandatory would be a job for upstream changes, and
definitely something for buster.

    (formerly a Telepathy maintainer)
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