A Suggestion For A Simple Package Manager

Ken Moffat ken at linuxfromscratch.org
Wed Mar 18 09:23:02 PDT 2009

On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:51:36AM -0400, Frank Peters wrote:
> The X Window developers have created a simple Bash script that
> can be used to compile the two hundred or so individual packages
> that make up the X system.  The script just contains a list
> (actually there are several categorized lists) of packages
> and some variables and options that can be specified by the
> user.  I do not see why something like this simple shell script
> could not be adapted as a general build manager for any set
> of packages.  Customized configure strings and CFLAG variables 
> for each package would be no problem to add.
 First, you have to determine which of those packages you actually

 [snip comments on 'make']

> So far I have said nothing about the issue of dependencies.  Once again
> I will claim that dependencies are not a major problem and that a simple
> build manager can ignore them.  As a Linux user learns about his system
> the basic dependencies will become more and more apparent.  If not, most
> packages will describe their dependencies in the README file or other
> documentation.  At worst, a missing dependency will cause a loader error
> message that will plainly reveal the problem which can then be corrected
> by building the missing package.

 This seems to be getting very much in to BLFS territory.  I have to
take issue with this paragraph.  A lot.  The "loader error" sounds
close to the Python problems I saw recently with
system-config-printer, and I still regard that as sloppy (although,
since the package was designed for fedora which happens to include
all the dependencies, it's understandable).  The more normal failure
is that configure will not find a required package (or, with anything
using cmake, you'll get an error message which is vaguely informative).

 The typical distro builds a great many things.  Therefore, if a
package *can* use five other packages, it is made to depend on all
five.  In my case, I might install zero of them.

das eine Mal als Tragödie, das andere Mal als Farce

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