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Freshmeat: Is it time to change RPM?

Sep 16, 2000, 23:34 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Claudio Matsuoka)

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"In the past few years, changes in the Linux world helped the operating system gain acceptance in the mainstream market. Package management has played no small role in this process. Thanks to dependency checking, the overall system consistency is kept. Thanks to file databases, removal of unneeded software is as easy as installing new, up-to-date precompiled binaries that are guaranteed to work on your system. Sysadmin skills are not a prerequisite to run Linux anymore; C and makefile knowledge are no longer required. RPM and Debian packages ruled the world, the first adopted by the vast majority of commercial Linux distributions. In a quick glance, the two systems are just two implementations of the same idea, with no major differences. A few details, however, make a big difference in the auto-updating process."

"We first met automatic package retrieval and installation in the form of apt-get. Debian users are glad to have such a wonderful tool. One step ahead of package management, users can now keep all their packages up-to-date, and add/remove packages tied to an intricate dependency graph, by issuing a single command. And, even better, APT was designed to be system-agnostic, so no matter if you use .debs or .rpms; we'll all be happy."

"Well, not quite. Mixing APT and RPM is an obvious step in making users of RPM-based distributions happier, and probably every vendor has considered implementing it. A few design problems, however, have made this goal not so easy to accomplish, and many distributions decided to use their own updating system. This is not a very good situation; it fragments the user (and potential developer) base, it may create incompatibilities, and it duplicates development effort. On the other hand, apt-get is ready, has proven to be reliable, and has a nice set of companion utilities such as apt-cache, apt-move, apt-zip, and gnome-apt."

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