A Suggestion For A Simple Package Manager

Mike McCarty Mike.McCarty at sbcglobal.net
Mon Mar 23 23:47:12 PDT 2009

Tobias Gasser wrote:


> for me, a package is something wich can be used to install something 

A package is anything which gets "packaged" for delivery. Usually
a package incorporates more than one item in it.

> where as the package manager helps resolving all (or at least most) 
> dependencies. the manager has options to remove or update a package too, 
> maybe even an option to find unneeded packages.

This is a reasonable working definition from the viewpoint of the
user, it does not describe a package manager from the perspective
of the developer.

> this definition (as i was convinced to be correct) implies the 
> compile-time options for any package to be set by the package builder.

No. A package does not necessarily contain binaries. A package may
contain sources. As an example, a tarball containing configure,
a Makefile, etc. comprises a package, with most or all package
management done manually.

In another vein, a package does not necessarily even result in
programs. One can have a documentation package, for example,
which only contains documents. Red Hat uses a package to ship
the /dev directory.

A package manager is a collection of programs which helps both
the maintainer and user of the package ensure that the package
contains the proper versions of installable objects, helps track
what objects are installed and their versions, and track dependencies
between them, and uninstalls and tracks dependencies when they are

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