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RE: [Axiom-developer] RE: windows/linux coherency

From: C Y
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] RE: windows/linux coherency
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 07:17:08 -0800 (PST)

--- "Page, Bill" <address@hidden> wrote:

> On Tuesday, December 21, 2004 9:15 AM C Y wrote:
> > 
> > > A deb package for Debian and an .ebuild for Gentoo
> > > would be also  useful.
> > 
> > I can take a stab at an ebuild, but it might be a bit of a 
> > long process given Axiom's odd build system.
> If you focus on a binary only install then for the most
> part you don't have to worry about the build. All you have
> to do is get the contents of the mnt/linux directory stuffed
> into the right corners of that particular system.

Yes, that would be the "wimp out" way ;-).  It cuts against the grain
though - part of Gentoo is being able to build everything you possibly
can from source.  (Some people argue this improves performance - I like
it because it ensures everything you'll ever need for developing
anything is present, and the system is entirely self contained in the
sense it can recreate itself from source code.)

I'm not up to doing proper autoconf/automake stuff, but I may try to
hack up something to be able to use the more normal install commands. 
Fortunately the ebuild system allows local gentoo specific patches, so
any hackish stuff I do stays contained.

> Still sounds overly cautious to me. That is exactly the
> same attitude I get from my Windows server sysadmins. We
> are talking about linux after all, what is there to screw
> up on a linux system that you can't fix. :)

Very little, given a proper setup, but part of a distribution specific
package is that you can be pretty sure things are well integrated with
your "working environment", so to speak.  For example, the Maxima
ebuild integrates emacs support for Maxima into its logic, so if you
have told the system to install emacs specific components everything is
handled for you.  No "generic" installer would likely handle this,
since gentoo's emacs system is (AFAIK at least) unique.  So I would
have to figure out what the installer did by hand, and tweak it to
work.  At that point, I might as well build and install it myself, sans
installer.  Also, what about package upgrades in the future?  Will a
generic installer handle that cleanly?  What about removal? 
Dependancies?  All these things are handled by the various
distributions.  Frankly, I think Redhat, Mandrake, Debian, and Gentoo
users have much better reasons than Windows folk to prefer local
packages - the benefits are considerable.  Pretty much any mess in
Linux due to non-standard stuff can be cleaned up, but the process can
be rather painful.

However, there is no harm in creating such a package - if people using
more obscure systems prefer an installer to building it themselves, it
doesn't hurt to have that option available.

Typically, once a package is created for a distribution and the rough
spots ironed out, it's fairly straightforward to maintain that package
in the future barring major changes. 


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