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Re: Introducing ‘guix pack’

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: Introducing ‘guix pack’
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:56:03 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1 (gnu/linux)


Federico Beffa <address@hidden> skribis:

> Suppose that Guix pack bundles become popular and compare them to,
> say, Mac style archives.  Let's go through Ludovic's analysis:
> 1. Composability: With Mac bundles you extract the archive in a
>    directory.  With Guix packs it's essentially the same.
>    i. Sharing of store items: What are the chances that two
>    independent projects will generate packs from the same git checkout
>    (or guix pull)?  Pretty low.  Therefore the amount of sharing
>    between different packs will be pretty negligible.

That’s not true; you’d be likely to share glibc, gcc:lib, maybe GLib,
GTK+, etc.

>    ii. Adding a program. Mac style: you just extract it.  With Guix
>    pack it's essentially the same, but it creates a manually
>    unmanageable network of links which entangle all packs.
>    iii. Remove an item: Mac style: delete a directory.  With Guix pack
>    the choice is: delete everything or keep everything.  That is, you
>    keep obsolete programs/libraries with security holes on your system
>    ready for exploitation and unnecessarily filling your disk, or
>    ... start from scratch.  Is this composability?
> 2. Security: Mac style bundles are problematic, but at least you can
>    easily delete old stuff and replace them with updated versions.
>    Guix packs are worse: delete everything or keep it all.
> 3. Reproducibility: As long as you carefully take note from which git
>    checkout you generate a Guix pack, Guix packs seems to be superior.
>    Oh, don't you also depend on upsteam published archives of every
>    single package in Guix?  They sometimes disappear or are replaced
>    in place with different archives and so, after some time, your
>    carefully noted git checkout will not build anymore.
> 4. Experimentation: Guix is great for that, but packs?  Are they
>    useful for testing on other GNU/Linux systems?  Maybe.  But aren't
>    all Guix packages built in isolated environments anyway?  So, do
>    you really need packs to test on other systems?  Maybe, but
>    probably not.
> Don't get me wrong, I find that Guix proper has many great features,
> but pack is not one of them.  

Don’t get me wrong, I agree!  :-)

Again, I think packs are useful in some cases where the other options
are even worse, but I’m not advocating it as a general “solution.”

In the news entry online I tried to take into account the very
legitimate criticisms you made, but perhaps the end result didn’t make
it sufficiently clear that packs aren’t a general solution.


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