Comment 7 for bug 347913

On Thu, Apr 02, 2009 at 04:05:10PM -0000, Mantas Kriaučiūnas wrote:
> Also ubuntu developers decided to include whiptail in ubuntu main
> archive instead of dialog :(

The reason for this is that the debian-installer, which was used in the
past as default Ubuntu installer, uses whiptail. Rationale is that
whiptail is thought to be smaller that dialog and space on the installer
is limited. As far as I know the current alternate Ubuntu installer is
based on the debian-installer, so there is probably no chance to remove
whiptail from Ubuntu main unless you convince the debian-installer team
to switch to dialog. The latter step would require some work and at
least you would need to provide a patch for the debian-installer and
prove that dialog including its dependencies is indeed smaller than
whiptail, not vice versa.

| Comparing actual sizes (Debian testing, 2007/1/10): The total of
| sizes for whiptail, the newt, popt and slang libraries is
| 757kb. The comparable number for dialog (counting ncurses) is
| 520kb.

The size of the udebs is relevant in this particular case, not the size
of the normal binary packages (udeb are some kind of stripped debs). If
there are no udebs for dialog and its dependencies they would need to be

> But problem is, that 3 important packages in Ubuntu depends on
> whiptail: pppoeconf and modconf depends on whiptail
> | whiptail-provider and friendly-recovery depends on whiptail
> So, maybe I should report RFE bugs against these packages about
> depending on whiptail | dialog (like most other packages),

There is no such thing like a RFE bug in Debian. Don't use this acronym
when talking to Debian developers, they will not know about what you are

To convince the debian-installer team to switch to dialog this is
probably a prerequisite. Please check whether those packages work with
dialog before reporting these bugs. Providing a patch will raise the
chances to get such bugs fixed. And please consider filing such bugs
against the Debian BTS for packages that are also in Debian, there is no
reason to needlessly divert from Debian for Ubuntu.

> if you think, that dialog is better, that whiptail ?

Whiptail only provides a subset of the functionality of the one dialog
provides and is IMHO less mature than dialog, or as the former deborphan
maintainer said "whiptail isn't good enough".

| whiptail is designed to be drop-in compatible with dialog, but
| has less features: some dialog boxes are not implemented, such
| as tailbox, timebox, calendarbox, etc.
| (This) ... is misleading, since whiptail also does not work for
| common options of dialog, such as the gauge box. whiptail is less
| compatible with dialog than the decade-old original dialog 0.4
| program.

But whiptail also includes command line options dialog does not provide,
so dialog is not a drop-in replacement for whiptail.

> Or maybe dialog can be whiptail-provider (if dialog package included
> whiptail functionality then it could have Provides: whiptail-provider
> in debian/control file)?

Since whiptail supports e.g. --scrolltext and dialog doesn't, no, this
is not an option. Try whiptail --scrolltext --msgbox hello 10 60 and
dialog --scrolltext --msgbox hello 10 60 to see why dialog currently
can't provide whiptail-provider.

Dialog would need to ignore such useless whiptail options to be able to
provide whiptail-provider, but I doubt that anybody is willing to
maintain this whiptail compatibility part of dialog. And additional
wrapper package that provides whiptail-provider, depends on dialog and
diverts /usr/bin/dialog could do the job, but maintaining such a package
is some work and I still see no reason for anybody doing so.