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Re: binary packages

From: Dirk Eddelbuettel
Subject: Re: binary packages
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 08:25:28 -0600
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i


Great email! 

On Sun, Feb 15, 2004 at 01:14:27AM -0500, Paul Kienzle wrote:
> Hi,
> Sometimes I suggest to people that they should try
> octave+octave-forge for doing something, and I would
> like the process of trying it to be as painless as possible.
> Up to date binary packages maintained for various
> operating environments would help enormously.
> Debian:
>       Dirk does a wonderful job of keeping the octave
>       and octave-forge Debian packages up to date.
>       We need equally dedicated folks for other platforms.

There is also the currently less wonderful job with 

  octave-sp    which few people use it, and I got too little help
               from A.S. Hodel when I needed it, so the package
               lingers -- this really should get refactored into

  libinline-octave-perl    which may need a maintenance release, but
                           again too few people know and use this
and then there are the script (non-binary) packages

  octave-ci    where the remaining functions should get factored
               into octave-forge

  matwrap      standalone tool for C/C++ wrapper generation, possibly 
               overlapping with mex in octave-forge
  octave-epstk standalone, can probably stay that way.         

Also, let's not forget Rafael's excellent work with

which he also keep current.

Now, while we're at the topic of wishlists, I would like someone else to
join Debian and share the maintainership with me. I have put enough work in
over the years to not drop this like a hot potato into the lap of a random
Debian developer, so I'll wait some more. 

But the fact is that I have stopped to use Octave on a regular basis, and
that is not a good basis for excellence in package maintenance.  And that
really is what we're shooting for here.

Interested parties for this sub-task should feel free to mail me on- or

> Fedora:
>       Hopefully this will evolve into something as successful
>       as Debian is at providing a central place for getting
>       useful software without pain.  I understand it is also
>       apt-get based.
>       octave-forge/admin/RPM has spec files for octave-forge.
>       I don't know where the spec files for octave reside, but
>       they could also reside there.  Then it is a matter for
>       someone from the Fedora community to periodically
>       build the packages.  This should be a painless process
>       since Dirk and the Debian build process will have already
>       worked out many of the system architecture issues.

Well, there may also be distro specific toolchain issues to work through.

> Red Hat 9,8,7, Suse, Mandrake:
>       Do we need separate spec files and builds for these
>       systems, or will the Fedora build suffice?  If fedora is
>       insufficient, is there a community site people trust where
>       we can put platform specific builds?  If not, we can always
>       put them on the octave-forge site, along with dependencies
>       that are unavailable in the base systems (e.g., gnuplot, fftw,
>       hdf, ...).
> Windows 98, 2000, XP:
>       Two approaches here:  one is a cygwin package approach,
>       the other a separately installed binary.   My own preference
>       is for a separately installed binary which can optionally
>       install into an existing cygwin environment.  A number of
>       base packages must be integrated into the windows build,
>       particularly qhull (for geometry toolbox), ginac+cln+gmp
>       (for symbolic), fftw (for faster fourier transforms), hdf5 and a
>       pluggable replacement for lapack+blas so that we can
>       supply separate atlas-enhanced builds for various architectures.
>       A lot of the work is done, it just requires a dedicated person
>       to spend a month or so improving the build, then a bit of
>       time each release to build a new package.
> Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3:
>       Similar to windows, there are presently packages for fink,
>       for darwinports and standalone in various states of
>       repair.  My own preference is again for a standalone
>       binary which doesn't depend on much else so that getting
>       someone up and running is simply a matter of dropping
>       the binary package somewhere in the Applications directory
>       and dragging it to the dock.  Again a lot of work needs to be
>       done on sundries to make sure the OS X package can use
>       qhull, ginac, fftw, hdf5, etc.  I don't know if we need separate
>       binaries for 10.2 and 10.3.  I don't know if veclib is always
>       available and sufficient, or if we need to support a variety
>       of Atlas-enhanced libraries.  I don't know if there is a standard
>       place where the community can post such binaries, or if
>       octave-forge is the best place to host them.
> IRIX, SunOS, Solaris, HPUX, AIX, ...
>       These systems are comparatively rare and tend to have
>       savvy administrators who don't mind the occasional
>       ./configure; make; make install.  Unfortunately octave
>       requires --enable-shared on ./configure in order to get
>       octave-forge to work, so this process is not as easy as it
>       could be.  Also, gathering the prerequisites (qhull, ginac,
>       fftw, hdf5, etc.) can be challenging.  If interested parties
>       want to keep up-to-date binaries for these systems, they
>       can certainly live beside the Windows packages on octave-forge.
> Getting all these binary packages into shape and keeping them
> up to date is much too big a task for anyone who only works on
> Octave in their spare time.  Fortunately, we have a community
> of users on various systems eager to volunteer!  So how about it?
> Paul Kienzle
> address@hidden
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