Rich Freeman on 22 Mar 2011 17:56:40 -0700

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] Linux and package managers/repos

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
> Well, it actually does get a lot of press, but under a different name and in
> a different context.  The one that gets press is called an "app store," but
> Linux has had that since Debian (at least, possibly longer?) except it's
> called a "repository" and it's full of free (as in no cost and freedom)
> software.

The other feature I'd probably contrast between app stores and
repositories is the concept of dependencies.  In my experience most
platforms with app stores don't use shared libraries.  Apps are
expected to stand on their own.  Of course, companies like Google tend
to do that even on platforms that traditionally do use shared
libraries (the picasa package for linux includes its own copy of wine
- just in case you wanted a few extra installs).

> To update Windows you use WindowsUpdate, which was tacked on at the 11th
> hour because no one updated anything and thus left gaping holes everywhere.
>  And it only updates the core OS and a few selected Microsoft apps (Office).
>  There are various (expensive) third-party solutions that do better and some
> apps will update themselves, thus leading to many and conflicting
> auto-updaters, and different, semi-uncontrollable schedules.  Ugly, ugly,
> ugly.

Yup - MS really needs to provide a standard upgrade framework as part
of the OS.  I'm fine with the concept that apps provide their own
packages and all that without a central repository.  However,
installs, removals, and upgrades should be managed by a standard
interface.  Imagine you buy a CD and it just has a .deb on it or
whatever, and it contains a URL pointing to a webservice or RSS that
the OS will poll at some frequency for updates.  No app writes to the
install location - it just gives the OS some instructions and the OS
does the writing and keeps track of what package owns what file for
easy removal.

It drives me nuts that everybody and their uncle runs an app in the
background to check for updates.  That is a complete waste of
resources.  They should just register with the OS and let the OS check
once a day or whatever for all of them.

>  'emerge world' (Rich, right?) for Gentoo.)

As already mentioned - emerge -u world is more typical, with various
variants and alternative package managers.

> So what does "stay inside the package manager" mean?  It means that you
> don't install stuff from source (except Gentoo, but that *is* the package
> manager :), you install from the repo.  OK, but what if you need "foo?"
>  Don't worry, it's in there.  (My example last night for reading MRI results
> was "aeskulap - medical image viewer and DICOM network client".)

It probably is worth noting that many package managers do provide a
way to do controlled installs of your own files so that they can be
uninstalled cleanly.  Usually this is painful.  And of course there is
always /usr/local.

Good overview!  If only this paradigm were extended to other
platforms...  I know at work it would be wonderful if the OS had
package management built in and we didn't need to mess with all kinds
of 3rd party stuff to do it for us (sometimes even correctly!).

Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
Announcements -
General Discussion  --