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Re: Package format/management ramblingss


From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: Package format/management ramblingss
Date: Sat, 08 May 2004 16:15:03 +0200

   RPM:

   Decent package format and management tools.  GPL'd.  Support for
   pgp signatures, pre/post scripts, binary and source packages, and
   more.

We can't support pgp since it is non-free software.  But RPM also
supports the GNU Privacy Guard, so that is what we will support.

   Cons:

   Can have dependency issues when using a myriad of repositories.

I don't think we have to worry about this, we will only have one
repository to start with, the GNU ports system.  It will contain
everything in the GNU project, things that users want which are not
part of the GNU project, and things that programs from the GNU project
depend on.

In the future, we can add a extended repository of the ports system,
which can contain other free software, so to make the life of users
simpler.


   Deb/dpkg:

   Good package format and management tools.  GPL'd.  Pretty much
   supports all that RPM does and then some.

What does it support that RPM does not support?  I cannot think of
anything.

   Cons:

   I'm sure Alfred will say that one Con is that it's Debian! :-)

What project is developing it is irrelevant, as long as it is free
software we can use it (under the assumption that it will do what we
need).

   Stow:

   Lightweight, easy to use package management utilizing .tar.gz
   archives.  Also happens to be a GNU project.

Stow isn't really a package manager, but a symlink-farm creator.  Also
stow does not use .tar.gz files, it uses a already installed package,
a package that has been installed into a separate directory.

   Cons:

   No good way to resolve dependencies.  I don't like the relience on
   Perl.  No pre/post script support.

The idea was to use a package manager, that will create the links
(later to be created by stowfs), and resolve all dependency, pre/post
script support, searching through the package "database", etc.


   Thoughts:

   I like the Stow structure.  I think it is cool.  I am even warming
   up to Marco's idea of a stowfs/packagefs.. ;-)

That we will use a Stow like structure is already settled.

   If we have to add stuff for paths, dependency resolution, pre/post
   scripts, we may as well write a new package format.

We don't have to add anything to PATH, since everything will be merged
into two directories--/sbin and /bin, using Stow (and at some later
point stowfs).  Dependency resolution, etc, will be handled by the
package manager, if we must write our own or not hasn't been decided.

   Also, if I have to manually get the tarball, extract it, "make" it,
   etc before packagefs does it's thing, what's the point?

The user shouldn't need to do these things, if they are needed then
the package manager is at fault.  There will be a front end to install
and remove packages (graphical and command line), that hides all of
the complexity (if such complexity will exist).

You noted that apt was a wonderful thing, recall that it hides alot of
the complexity.  You can install packages manually in Debian, by for
example downloading said package, run `dpkg -i' on it, and so on.  You
can even go one step further in installing Debian packages manually,
and that is by extracting the Debian package manually by using ar, and
installing the tarball that make up this "ar-ball", by hand.

   So maybe we make a new minimalist package format with some nice
   front end tools but utilizing the stow methodology??

The problem that we have is to figure out what kind of a package
format we can use, and then extend the actual package manager to
"stow" the package into the system.  The package managers job is to
handle dependency tracking, pre/post scripts, etc.  In short,
installing and uninstalling the package into the actual system.


I have a few ideas on how our package manager (and the actual format
of the binary package) could look like, and will post a email about my
ideas in a few days.

Happy hacking.




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