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Author Topic: Grand New Unified Universal Component and Package Manager ?  (Read 3889 times)
Windozer
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« on: December 14, 2008, 11:30:15 am »

For your consideration, please:

An experienced, but non-Unix, user looking into Linux for the first time encounters package mania:

Duhhh, distro flavor X uses Package Manager what?

Caitlyn's review 1) of VL 5.9 mentions that "While the number of packaged applications for Vector Linux continues to grow rapidly it still falls far short of what is available for distributions like Debian, Mandriva, Ubuntu, [...]" 

I've been wondering about this a while - not just for VL, which I love, but also for other distros, like Pelican HPC (formerly parallexknoppix) which I use, but does debian. And each of us has our own alternate  Wink favorite distro.

Ubuntu repositories are mind boggling in scope.  And a search 2) shows a lot of interest in the idea of a "universal package manager." Is it crazy to hope for a package manager than can recognize which distro it's targeting, one that can also determine library and module dependencies?  Is there a mambo bash script out there that I've missed?

Would it have to build everything from source to achieve cross-distro installation of packages?

And if GNUUCPM3)  is too much of a mouthful, how about simply PackMan ?   Tongue

thanks for your time and attention,
- Howard in Florida
~~~~~~~~~~~~

1) http://www.oreillynet.com/linux/blog/2008/03/taking_a_good_long_look_at_vec.html
2) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=linux+package+manager+all+distros&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=
3) GNU + UUCP + CPM - aren't I a clever boy?  Cool
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 11:33:38 am by WinDoze » Logged

483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
bigpaws
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2008, 02:42:42 pm »

Would it be wrong to see the simple question why doesn't every distro do
the same thing? 

So why is it that anyone would use Slackware vs Debian? Why tolerate the
differences in tools, and configuration?

The term experienced user, is not much of an indicator to real ability. I started to
go further on that but decided it would become OT.

The reason is that the old distributions made choices about who, what, when, where and
why. There are those that want things just done blindly, install all the things needed then
go on. There are others that feel the previous way can lead to several problems, cross
package versions to mind. When you need to fix these things it can become a real chore.

I am only adding thought. There are many opinions and each carries its own merit. There is
another post about the effect of a virus in a package. Think about it, one package source for
all. Easy way to take everyone down.

Bigpaws

Bigpaws
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metvas
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 08:25:19 am »

Very good point bigpaws !! Another O/S comes to mind with that frame of thought. LOL
metvas
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tomh38
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2008, 01:05:44 pm »

Package managers are actually really nice compared to what you have to do with commercial software.  Still, I understand that the various "families" of Linux distributions present some confusion for people new to the OS.  Maybe the OSS community will pick up M0E's vpackager (which I've found to be of great help) to bridge the gap.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
Joe1962
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 02:04:19 pm »

There has been an attempt at such a thing for quite a few years now and they seem to be still alive... Wink

http://autopackage.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopackage
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O'Neill (RE the Asgard): "Usually they ask nicely before they ignore us and do what they damn well please."
http://joe1962.bigbox.info
Running: VL 7 Std 64 + self-cooked XFCE-4.10
Triarius Fidelis
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Domine, exaudi vocem meam


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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2008, 04:28:35 pm »

There has been an attempt at such a thing for quite a few years now and they seem to be still alive... Wink

http://autopackage.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopackage


It would be easier to start manufacturing Terminators than to abstract package management from the distribution successfully.

In fact I believe there is already a Terminator plant in Kaohsiung.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
Windozer
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Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 05:11:47 pm »

Quote
[autopackage is] still alive... - Joe1962

Interesting, thanks for the links, Joe. This is sort of what I had in mind, except more for kernel items, which autopackage seems to steer clear of. Yes, I am beginning to understand the virus problems with such an idea. But couldn't a group of people scrub a package before releasing it, as Bigpaws mentions the BSD folks doing? Hmmm... Volunteers are already in short supply. This would indeed add another step to releases. Maybe would worth the effort, if it widened the scope of possibilities?

Quote
M0E's vpackager (which I've found to be of great help - Tomh38

Yes, Tom, cool that you mention vpackager - I am beginning to appreciate it the more understanding I gain. So too with VASM.

Quote
Would it be wrong to see the simple question why doesn't every distro do
the same thing?  - Bigpaws

If I'm clear about what you're asking us, Bigpaws. It seems reasonable that we users should expect one package manager for all the distro's. This is basically what I'm asking for  Grin

Quote
So why is it that anyone would use Slackware vs Debian? Why tolerate the differences in tools, and configuration? - Bigpaws

Had to think about this a while, but choosing a distro seems to come down to four basic things (if we exclude "look and feel"):

  • How the kernel is configured
  • What device drivers are available
  • What applications are available
  • System administration  Grin

So, in an odd way, no distro is really that different --- most all pack a 2.6 Penguin under the hood  Tongue

Is there a technical reason why (cross-distro) releases aren't possible?
Or is this question just way too complicated for a simple answer?


thanks
- H
~~~~
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 05:45:50 pm by WinDoze » Logged

483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 05:42:57 pm »

Had to think about this a while, but choosing a distro seems to come down to three basic things (if we exclude "look and feel"):

You forgot system administration.

linuxconf tried to abstract details of system administration away from the user.

linuxconf is now a defunct project.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 05:46:58 pm »

@EFG: duly noted and modified above, thanks - H
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483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
Triarius Fidelis
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Vectorian
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 05:49:34 pm »

That fourth one is the most important of all.

It's not like Windows, Mac or *BSD where you know where this, that and the other are, simply by virtue of the operating system being Windows, Mac or *BSD.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 06:54:28 pm »

Do you mean in terms of the file system(s) or parms in config files?
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483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 07:40:22 pm »

Yes, mainly. But there would also have to be agreement on issues that affect packaging. For instance, RPM and Debian dists have separate 'developer' packages containing headers and static libraries. But Slackware and derivatives do not do that.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 07:42:02 pm by Epic Fail Guy » Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
bigpaws
Vectorian
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Posts: 1856


« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2008, 10:13:38 pm »

Quote
This is sort of what I had in mind, except more for kernel items, which autopackage seems to steer clear of.

There is a reason for this. Some distributions heavily patch kernels.

Quote
But couldn't a group of people scrub a package before releasing it, as Bigpaws mentions the BSD folks doing?

Only OpenBSD does complete auditing for things that are under them. This does not include the
other BSD's in practice. Why not just compile from source, every distribution should be able to do
that?

Quote
It seems reasonable that we users should expect one package manager for all the distro's.

Those types of demands will be met with alot of flaming and resistance.

Quote
Had to think about this a while, but choosing a distro seems to come down to four basic things (if we exclude "look and feel"):

    * How the kernel is configured
    * What device drivers are available
    * What applications are available
    * System administration  Grin

In the distributions that you have tried have you looked at a kernel config? Next device drivers, in reality these are modules. All which are included in the kernel. Applications available are you refering
to packaged applications or applications?

I applaud your question. IMHO is that you are missing several things.

A. Why there are so many distributions, for one reason or another someone felt that it should be done their way.

B. The one philosophy to make one program to do one thing and do it well

C. The denial of freedom to do something differently


There are fundamentals in Linux although they have been diluted to the point of almost non existance. That is not a feature.

Lets' think about it this way. You (general term representing those you have stated want this) are
demanding changes so that you do can do what you want irregardless of the problems. You are
demanding a unified (since this is what it would take) group to bow to your wishes. That is not the
best approach at least in the way I see it.

So many times I see posts in irc or forums mentioning not to go the a specific distributions forums or irc since you will get flamed. Those guys are elitist and have no time for a newbie. When in fact it is
those places that will not only help you but teach you why. However there is a catch, you have to ask an intelligent question. The question having all of the information needed to help and that you have tried doing something to fix it yourself. This is not the what is happening. This does not mean that you
can not ask how to get my video card working its that you should have prepared a good question and where your problem lies. If you do not wish to learn and just want to have it answered expect to pay for it, another type of choice.

Start looking at the root directories at least glance at them. Look at some philosophy about Linux in some older literature. This may bring to a path of enlightenment.

Bigpaws
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uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 2504



« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2008, 10:29:07 pm »

bigpaws,
Your post reminded me of this: http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
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tomh38
Vectorian
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Posts: 913



« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2008, 11:14:59 pm »

Everybody's making good points.

The various distros (and the various "families") of distros aren't going away; at least I hope they're not, since many of them exist because they serve different needs.

What I wrote about vpackager probably wasn't very clear.  I've thought about it a little more and have a clearer idea. Vpackager or something like it would address the problem of "if it's not in the repos you can't have it."  As things are it isn't that difficult for many in the Linux community to compile from source, but vpackager or something like it could make it easier for those who have less skill at doing that to get software for their systems.

I realize there are dangers in that as well.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
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