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developerWorks: Manage Packages Using Stow

Mar 14, 2003, 05:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mugdha Vairagade)


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

"Before getting acquainted with Stow, let's first take a look at software installation management, also known as package management. Software installation management describes collectively the activities of installing, uninstalling, updating, and organizing software applications, or packages, on a system. Among these activities, organizing applications is an especially important activity. Installing, upgrading, and uninstalling applications on a Linux box become easier and more convenient if the applications are organized neatly.

"On Linux systems, most applications are required to be installed in some specific directory (which is usually /usr/local/), to run and function properly; the requirement comes either from Linux or from the application itself. This does not pose any serious problem if there are few applications installed on a Linux system and their respective files can be easily distinguished from one another.

"For real life scenarios, however, where there may be a large number of applications installed in the same directory, that directory soon gets messy. Imagine installing an application that accidentally overwrites a file belonging to another application, and then you have to replace the file. Or imagine, before uninstalling and deleting an application, trying to determine which files belong to that application. Alternatively, you might want to find and prune an application's unnecessary files. All of these scenarios would take lot of effort, time, and a strong memory for file names..."

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