European Unix Platform (EUP): Software Distribution in a Big Company Spread Around the Globe

“By 1999 we thought that there should be a much cleaner, though
not necessarily better, way of distributing software. Our group has
become responsible for building and maintaining (but not
supporting!) a collection of Open Source Software (OSS) tools,
including packaging, shipping and portfolio management. Another
group has become responsible for the same thing but as it applies
to the Sub-Surface Software (SSS), built, supported and maintained
on this site. A special project was put together to do this; it
also included people from the OSS team.”

“Quite some time was spent investigating the software packaging
and distribution problem and looking for packages. The OSS people,
like the authors, are enthusiastic Open Source advocates so it
should be obvious that commercial packages were really out of the
question. Looking at the way the various Linux distributions
package their software and the market share of the respective
distributions and packaging software, RPM was selected to do our
job. Another point in favour of RPM was the fact that it could
handle dependencies between packages quite well.”

“The first thing that needed to be done was to learn how to
build rpms. Although a PostScript and a LaTeX version is online
available we purchased two copies of the book “Maximum RPM” (we
wanted to have the book, but also to support its author). On
reading through it, we found that the concepts were explained well,
but some of the details were out of date. This was not a big
problem, but it did take extra time to figure out the changes to
some of the configuration files, format, names, and to a small
degree functionality. Due to tight deadlines we have not been able
to start from the sources and build all of our packages with rpm,
creating both the source and binary rpm packages. Instead, we are
only building the binary rpms for both the OSS and SSS


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