Package Management

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 13:32:44 PST 2008


Dale & Yvonne Ogilvie wrote:
> Ah, LFS. I remember it well. The reason why I retired my LFS system
> was lack of package management. It was great to build it from whoa to
> go, but for continuing use, I couldn't keep all my software up-to
> date, or even try out new software very easily. Package management
> aids the community by allowing specialists/enthusiasts to maintain
> software for the community. And this works best when the package
> management system itself is not a black art only for the experts.

I'm not going to argue for or against package management.  I will say
that it needs to be optional.

I don't use package management.  I also don't upgrade my system unless I
have a need.  I don't blindly upgrade my current packages unless I think
I need to.  I'm still using a 2.6.12 kernel as a default.  It is quite
satisfactory, but I can boot to others if needed.  Other packages can be
installed on top of what I have.  The only exception that I would be
nervous about is glibc.  For that, I do a complete rebuild.

Adding software is not hard.  Two days ago I installed dia.  It was a
CMMI build and worked without any problems.  I also wanted to try out
DBDesigner4.  That was a bit more tricky, but not that hard.  It needed
some libraries or versions of libraries I didn't have.  I found out I
needed libborqt-6.9-qt2.3.so from kylix3, libmysqlclient.so.10.0.0 (vice
.15.0.0), libsqlmda.so.4.20 from dbExpress, and
libstdc++-3-libc6.2-2-2.10.0.so (vice libstdc++.so.6.0.6).

I didn't bother to build these, but just copied the binaries I found
from reliable locations to /usr/lib/ (I suppose I could have used
/usr/local/lib).  Then everything worked.

The bottom line is:

1.  You don't need to upgrade every package every time something is
released.

2.  New packages and old can be installed easily and you don't have to
install hundreds of dependent files to do it.

In my opinion, a package manager makes managing a system more complex,
not easier.

  -- Bruce




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