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Re: Package format/management ramblingss

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Package format/management ramblingss
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 15:41:49 -0400

       There's no need for this.  In the Hurd-based design we should
       ultimately used, you control whether a package is installed by
       making or deleting a symlink to it from /packages.  There's no need
       for any other way.

    I am not particularly fond of this, since this just adds unneeded
    complexity in handling packages.  Isn't it simpler to keep all the
    information about installed/uninstalled packages in one place, with
    the actual package?

It is simpler to keep all the control over which packages are
currently installed in one place, the /packages directory.

You can unpack a package directory as a subdirectory of /packages,
or you can unpack it elsewhere and symlink to it from /packages.
Either way, the files appear under /packages, so they are equivalent.

    Also, your scheme--I think--makes it harder for us to implement the
    package manager without having to write the translator for /package
    right now, which my scheme doesn't, and without making quite large
    changes later on which I was hoping we could avoid.

I can't follow what you are arguing for or against.  I sent a
description of the package system I want us to have enventually.  What
we should do in the short term, I am not sure.

I too would prefer to reduce the size of the changes we need to make
when we switch to that ultimate package system.  What is your

    One thing you didn't address how pre/post script should be handled;
    scripts that have to be run during/after installation/deinstallation.

The idea is that there are none.  This will make things much simpler.

Why do we need or want any?

    One would have to record which files can be virtual concatenations in
    the meta-data of the binary package.  Since not all files in /etc can
    be concatenated into one virtual file.

Sorry, I don't understand that.

       To install this package, you would make a symlink /packages/emacs
       -> /disk1/installed/emacs-21.2.  (The name of the symlink is mostly
       irrelevant.)  Instantly Emacs 21.2 would be installed.  The files
       in /disk1/installed/emacs-21.2/bin would all appear in /bin.

    What will happen if one removes /disk1/installed/emacs-21.2, but not
    the symlink?

There would effectively be no subdirectory any more, so no installed
package.  It would be deinstalled.

    This is a nice feature.  But what happens if foo:1.0 tries to get a
    file from /etc/foo.conf, which has a syntax that foo:1.0 doesn't
    support (say it was changed in foo-2.0, and foo-2.0 is the "default"

What happens in such a case is that you lose, I guess.

If we find a clean way to make this work well, that is a nice
improvement.  Otherwise, this is no big deal.

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