There’s been a lot of noise about PackageKit and debconf in the past, but not an awful lot of coding… Until now.
Daniel Nicoletti is the maintainer of KPackageKit, and a log time contributor to PackageKit. He’s also the guy behind all the recent SimulateX() methods that required quite a bit of clever coding to work properly on all backends. The simulate methods alone make PackageKit much more useful with apt (where updating a package can remove another) and now he’s dealing with the debconf problem.
I’ll not repeat what he’s planning to do as all the details are available on his blog, but it basically involves adding a DBus frontend on debconf and telling packagekitd a private connection of a helper program running in the session. This means debconf can work in the standard PackageKit “no blocking” modes when required (e.g. for an unattended update) but also ask required questions when setting things up like MySql when running interactively.
I’ve still not changed my stance on asking questions and blocking during a package install, but with this new helper program and secondary session interface, a lot of the debconf headaches can go away. I’m sure all the changes might take a few weeks to even be prototyped, but it’s nice things are going in the right direction.