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LinuxToday.com.au: Linux Package Management Needs a Wakeup Call

Nov 27, 2000, 19:32 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by ozone)

"Unfortunately, if you're a developer, you have to supply your software in both .rpm and .deb if you really want to make a Good Impression on the Linux community. Some commercial developers actually do this, leaving Debian and Red Hat users happy, and users of other distributions grumbling. Are you running Slackware? Stampede? Sorry, you're out of luck. Even SuSE has problems installing many .rpm packages."

"To get around this problem, instead of giving users these weird .rpm and .deb files, developers sometimes use like Loki's Setup Graphic Installer instead, or supply their own Setup shell scripts to 'make things easier' for the users out there. These are distribution-neutral installation mechanisms which aren't tied to any particular package management software, and they often even come with their own de-installation scripts. So, everything's fine and dandy now ... right? Not quite. ... Even if a program installs files to all the right places and doesn't touch the /usr directory tree, you suddenly have packages which are on the system, but rpm and dpkg don't know about what facilities it provides, so it breaks your dependency checking."

"This is horrible. Users shouldn't have to go hunting around their file system looking in directories they didn't even know existed just to configure a piece of software, or find out where a piece of software has been installed. The Linux community needs to set higher standards for package management."

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