[ILUG-BOM] We don't need no dependencies
Sameer D. Sahasrabuddhe
Wed Jul 18 23:02:49 IST 2001
>The dependency stuff in Linux is really frustrating ...
>I gave up the idea thinking that I would be running around in circles.
>I had same nightmarish experience when I tried to upgrade rpm 3 to rpm 4
The only problem is the upgrade from rpm 3 to rpm 4, since the switch was
not made in a very sane way. And the dependencies will never lead you in
circles. Get a bigger harddisk partition! ;-)
About dependencies, this is the basic reason why so much software can be
packed in so little space on the installer CD that you used. All the
packages aggressively share libraries and these are put in separate
packages which show up as dependencies.
Compare the situation with Windows where all packages include their own
sets of DLL's in the installers. The basic idea of a library is to share
code, but if everyone starts including their own library, the whole point
is defeated. This leads to the existence of multiple copies of DLL's on the
system, which are managed very sloppily. I hope you will know what I am
saying when I remind you of the number of times that people have to
reformat reinstall Windoze systems when the c:\windows\system folder goes
haywire and you need special system tools to keep track of registries and
On GNU/Linux, the whole thing is avoided by being strict with dependency
checking. Any library that is shared by more than one package are put in a
separate dependency so that they don't have to be duplicated. Take the
package called "gal" in GNOME for example - it simply contains an arbitrary
bunch of libraries that are extensively shared by too many packages and
don't find a place in any particular package. Such a practice allows you to
depend on a single package manager to keep your system files in a perfectly
>Is there some distribution available which gets over this problem ?
The apt package manager used by Debian GL is the best when it comes to
managing these things. But mind you, that is not because the .deb format is
better than .rpm, or that the RPM system is not well designed. It is better
simply because it is backed by sane, strictly enforced policies about
creating packages, which is compounded by the fact that almost all the .deb
come from a single source, the Debian project.
Against this RPM packages are used by many systems - RHL, Mandrake, SuSE
... and then there are the "contrib" packages. Just go to
http://rpmfind.net to look for your favourite rpm, and you will face a
number of sources to choose from. If you keep in mind to use only certain
package sources on your system you will never run into problems. Or an even
better idea is to download tarballs and then create rpm packages out of
them before installing. But directly using a tarball is very bad - you can
easily lose track of all the files on your system. The makefiles normally
contain correct info for installation, but people neglect the section on
uninstallation, so that there is no sane way to remove software installed
from a tarball.
>Why can't developers make standalone software ?
Just think of the mess in your Windoze system and you will know why.
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