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Linux.com: Big Things, Small Packages

Dec 04, 2000, 21:58 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Emmett Plant)

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"A lot of Linux distributions don't have a package manager at all. While they might be able to use other people's package management tools, you might be much better off doing things yourself. Download the source, compile the source for your particular specs, and handle everything yourself. These distributions are the relative equivalent of Aunt Agnes, who always knits you something for the holidays. It's all hand-made."

"Red Hat has RPM, the Red Hat Package Manager. Now, RPM certainly makes a lot of things easy. For those who don't want to compile sources to be able to run applications, the RPM format enables people who don't want to put together hand-made gifts the ability to makes things work. Most of the time. RPM is the relative who brings you the gift you wanted, but might have forgotten to buy batteries. RPM has some issues when it comes to handling dependencies. If my virtual relative 'Red Hat' bought me a holiday present, I might have to pick up my own batteries. Moreover, since RPM doesn't necessarily put things where they belong when it runs, I might be digging through the gift-wrapped box for a while before I found everything I needed to operate my cool new toy."

"Slackware's tgz method gives the developers of the gift a cool process to include libraries within the package archive, the Linux equivalent of taping batteries to the outside of the box with the RC car inside. This is nice, and from what I've been told, seems to work well, albeit not with absolute consistency. Then again, what does?"

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