You are not logged in.

#1 2012-06-27 06:59:35

blackout23
Member
Registered: 2011-11-16
Posts: 780

Does linux need a standard package manager?

Hello,

I tought about this. Wouldn't it be great if all distros had compatible packages and repos?
Maybe there are some technical issues I'm overlooking but generally I think this would have
positiv effects if it really works out. The amount of avaiable packages for every distro would grow
and developers would not have to think about building *.debs *.rpm and whatnot.
As much as I think that "having a choice" is one of the best things about linux standardization
in this area probably wouldn't hurt.

What are your thoughts?

Regards,

blackout23

Offline

#2 2012-06-27 07:05:23

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 19,334
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

I'm not convinced: the first thing that comes to mind is lowest common denominator.

I like diversity, choice and the lean, mean machine that is pacman...


Arch + dwm   •   Mercurial repos  •   Github

Registered Linux User #482438

Online

#3 2012-06-27 07:12:36

blackout23
Member
Registered: 2011-11-16
Posts: 780

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Of course the standard would have to be pacman. smile

Offline

#4 2012-06-27 07:43:33

ElderSnake
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 93

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Hmm not so sure. To be honest the whole ".deb" or ".rpm" thing etc is not as big a deal as it would seem really. See some of the AUR packages - sometimes you'll see they are just taking an existing .deb or .rpm package and extracting the contents and repackaging them into a format Pacman can handle. In Debian I needed a couple packages which I could only get in .rpm format, so I used "Alien" to convert them from rpm to deb..etc.

So on that note, I kinda, sorta have to agree though and say - why doesn't everyone just use something like the *.tar.xz/gz format? At the end of the day, correct me if I'm wrong, they are all just a means of making a compressed package. I'm probably way off though...

Last edited by ElderSnake (2012-06-27 07:44:44)


Arch Linux - Intel E5200 Desktop (Cinnamon 2.0) - Debian Testing - Netbook EeePC AMD C-50 (Xfce)

Offline

#5 2012-06-27 07:54:45

bohoomil
Member
Registered: 2010-09-04
Posts: 2,376
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

blackout23 wrote:

The amount of avaiable packages for every distro would grow
and developers would not have to think about building *.debs *.rpm and whatnot.

Not really. A working, distro-centric package hardly ever follows the same configuration pattern in different Linuxes. Let alone the SELinux builds, differences in shared libraries versions, or multiple brands of the same library, sometimes mutually incompatible. For many reasons -- logistic, security, compatibility, to name just a few -- unifying GNU/Linux on the higher level than offered by source code, even if eventually possible, seems like a useless and risky idea. Besides, there already exists something pretty similar, and it's *.tar.gz archive containing statically link binaries (see VirtualBox, Qt SDK, Java, LibreOffice, TeX Live, etc.) which additionally makes a unified package manager redundant...


:: Registered Linux User No. 223384

:: github
:: infinality-bundle+fonts: good looking fonts made easy

Offline

#6 2012-06-27 07:57:46

Bellum
Member
Registered: 2011-08-24
Posts: 230

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Developers shouldn't be wasting their time making packages. Isn't that the distros job?

Offline

#7 2012-06-27 11:14:27

Weegee
Member
Registered: 2010-08-06
Posts: 62

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Actually, RPM is the standard packaging format. Have fun persuading the Debian guys to replace their beloved .debs with this "alien" format wink


~

Offline

#8 2012-06-27 11:26:56

Blµb
Member
Registered: 2008-02-10
Posts: 223

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Weegee wrote:

Actually, RPM is the standard packaging format. Have fun persuading the Debian guys to replace their beloved .debs with this "alien" format wink

tar+gz/xz/bz2 is the standard archiving format, not using that is silly, no matter how long they've been using RPMs.


You know you're paranoid when you start thinking random letters while typing a password.
A good post about vim
Python has no multithreading.

Offline

#9 2012-06-27 12:18:23

drcouzelis
Member
From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,522
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

blackout23 wrote:

Does linux need a standard package manager?

Wouldn't it be great if all distros had compatible packages and repos?

The amount of avaiable packages for every distro would grow and developers would not have to think about building *.debs *.rpm and whatnot.

What problem would this fix? Do you feel that too many people are spending too much time packaging software? Is there software you want to use that's available for one distribution that isn't available for another?

I think Linux is doing just fine the way it is. It's not that I think having a common package manager would be a particularly good or bad thing. It's just, I don't see a problem that needs to be fixed. I think Linux is doing fine.

Offline

#10 2012-06-27 12:36:31

Trilby
Forum Moderator
From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 14,191
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

jasonwryan wrote:

I'm not convinced: the first thing that comes to mind is lowest common denominator.

+1

If all packages had to work on all systems, just imagine the degree to which it'd have to be dumbed down.

Also, have you ever made a PKGBUILD?  Generally it's pretty easy, but it is not uncommon to have to do lots of fiddling to get something to work properly within arch.  Just imagine trying to write the global-pkgbuild to have it work with EVERY distro.  I think the only way that could work is through a series of conditional tests IF ARCHLINIX THEN .... ELIF UBUNTU THEN ...

At this point you don't really have one package management system, you just have all the different ones globbed together in one place.  Who would be responsible for making these global-pkgbuilds?

As I see it, the only alternative to the many-conditionals, is to force all distros to be the same.  Thus agan dumbing down arch, and removing choice, and the diversity and room to experiment that makes linux great and allows it to keep growing in new and useful ways.

I forget which *nix and/or programming philosophy this comes from, but there is the idea that to prevent users from doing something stupid, also prevents them from doing anyting creative.  A 'unification of the *nices' would seem to have just such an effect.  Diversity breeds inginuity.


InterrobangSlider
• How's my coding? See this page.
• How's my moderating? Feel free to email any concerns, complaints, or objections.

Offline

#11 2012-06-27 17:02:32

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

It needs a standard package format, package manager doesn't matter as much. Really the two major formats rpm and deb, at the base level, do the exact same thing. If we had a standard format we could have a larger degree of package compatibility between distros, and they could still use whatever package-manager they want.

Last edited by bwat47 (2012-06-27 17:03:53)

Offline

#12 2012-06-27 17:38:35

doorknob60
Member
From: Oregon
Registered: 2008-09-29
Posts: 402

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

No. Even if every distro used the same format of packages (for example all distros used .debs), they would still be incompatible with each other. Can I use a deb from Debian stable in Ubuntu 12.04? Probably not. Each distro would still have to maintain their own set of packages, since even if the packages are in the same format, it wouldn't work. If you're proposing a package that will work on any distro, that's more trouble than it's worth. Getting a package to work right on every single distro out there is close to impossible, unless it's static linked like most proprietary programs such as Virtualbox, Google Earth, etc. It works fine for those programs, but to use for normal system packages, would be a nightmare. If it aint broke, don't fix it, and I don't think it's very broke the way it is. Apt-get works fine in Ubuntu, Pacman works even better in Arch, etc.

Last edited by doorknob60 (2012-06-27 17:38:52)

Offline

#13 2012-06-27 17:46:29

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

doorknob60 wrote:

No. Even if every distro used the same format of packages (for example all distros used .debs), they would still be incompatible with each other. Can I use a deb from Debian stable in Ubuntu 12.04? Probably not. Each distro would still have to maintain their own set of packages, since even if the packages are in the same format, it wouldn't work. If you're proposing a package that will work on any distro, that's more trouble than it's worth. Getting a package to work right on every single distro out there is close to impossible, unless it's static linked like most proprietary programs such as Virtualbox, Google Earth, etc. It works fine for those programs, but to use for normal system packages, would be a nightmare. If it aint broke, don't fix it, and I don't think it's very broke the way it is. Apt-get works fine in Ubuntu, Pacman works even better in Arch, etc.

I'm not proposing that every package would work with every distro, I just said it would give us "more" interoperability then we currently have. There will always be the problem that distros have totally different states of software "freshness", which means your package won't work on every distro because it may need newer dependencies etc...but a standard format would be a good first step.

Offline

#14 2012-06-27 17:48:58

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 19,334
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

bwat47 wrote:

...but a standard format would be a good first step.


Until someone forks it wink


Arch + dwm   •   Mercurial repos  •   Github

Registered Linux User #482438

Online

#15 2012-06-27 17:49:14

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Different distros with different philosophies develop different package managers and formats to suit their goals.  The concern is a lack of software available in the repositories? makepkg, Slackbuilds, Portage and the like take care of that rather nicely. The only thing it could accomplish--or perhaps more accurately, the only way this would be accomplished--would be to homogenize the Linux ecosystem such that we all end up using some watered-down generic distro to fit our watered-down generic package manager which, as jasonwryan pointed out, would have to play to those who value convenience over power and versatility.

@OP: I don't follow your reasoning regarding developers and package formats.  Do you mean the upstream developers?  Well, it's not their prerogative to build packages for our convenience; they can simply make the source available.  Do you mean distro developers?  They're gonna have to build binaries and install the proper files somehow, regardless of the package manager used.

Offline

#16 2012-06-27 20:45:46

jakobcreutzfeldt
Member
Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Not to mention that each distro seems to have slightly different standards about what should be installed with each package and where precisely it should be installed...

Offline

#17 2012-06-28 02:06:21

Gullible Jones
Member
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

a) No, if only because it will never happen, as nobody will be able to agree on a common format.

b) IMO what would be a good idea is a more universal system for installing stuff in /opt or /usr/local. Perhaps a more automated interface for GNU Stow?

(Hey, Stow is a Perl script, and I'm not terrible with Perl... Only middling awful. Maybe I should try my hand at patching it.)

Offline

#18 2012-06-28 02:40:41

adamrehard
Member
From: NY, USA
Registered: 2011-11-03
Posts: 154

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

No. Linux (and GNU) encourages choice. A standard package management system does not.

Also, have you considered the fact that we already have one (of sorts)? It's called source code, and .tar.gz archives for closed source.


"The box said requires Vista or better, so I installed Arch"
Windows != Linux

Offline

#19 2012-06-28 02:44:52

Gullible Jones
Member
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

adamrehard: building packages can be a bit involved for end users, and 'make install' may not offer a way of uninstalling (or may clobber stuff if the default settings are stupid). Sometimes people need software that isn't in the repos, and need it to Just Work.

Offline

#20 2012-06-28 03:17:49

Janarto
Member
From: Paris
Registered: 2008-09-23
Posts: 80

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Sadly, android is slowly destroying gnu/linux hmm

Offline

#21 2012-06-28 03:20:13

JLloyd13
Member
From: halifax, nova scotia
Registered: 2012-06-24
Posts: 107

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Whats the problem with the way it is? Everyone likes different things in a package manager, thats why there different ones in the first. Being open, un standerdized and splintered is what gives linux alot of its power. This is why it surpassed minix in the 90s. Choice is good.

Last edited by JLloyd13 (2012-06-28 03:21:08)

Offline

#22 2012-06-28 03:30:26

Zancarius
Member
From: NM, USA
Registered: 2012-05-06
Posts: 207

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

bwat47 wrote:

I'm not proposing that every package would work with every distro, I just said it would give us "more" interoperability then we currently have.

So distribute the sources? I second what adamrehard said: You can't get much more interoperability than that...

Gullible Jones wrote:

adamrehard: building packages can be a bit involved for end users, and 'make install' may not offer a way of uninstalling (or may clobber stuff if the default settings are stupid). Sometimes people need software that isn't in the repos, and need it to Just Work.

There are a number of distros with build helpers for exactly this reason, but it's also important to remember that most people who turn to Linux generally do so because they want a freedom of choice (which is counter to this thread), generally want fewer restrictions, and generally have greater motivation to learn the system. I'm aware this isn't the case for everyone, but building packages usually isn't difficult unless there's some outlying requirement that wasn't made obvious in the README (or it fails because of missing libraries or tooling).

On the other hand, just because software is distributed in an RPM or DEB format doesn't mean it's completely safe and will magically Just Work (though they usually do). I like pacman for its simplicity: You have to do something insanely stupid to break it in a manner where it's damaging. Simplicity also means there's less that can go wrong.


He who has no .plan has small finger.
~Confucius on UNIX.

Offline

#23 2012-06-28 05:27:10

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,854

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

Zancarius wrote:

You have to do something insanely stupid to break it in a manner where it's damaging.

Famous last words smile. Its good, yes, but not as awesome as you're implying.


Allan-Volunteer on the (topic being discussed) mailn lists. You never get the people who matters attention on the forums.
jasonwryan-Installing Arch is a measure of your literacy. Maintaining Arch is a measure of your diligence. Contributing to Arch is a measure of your competence.
Griemak-Bleeding edge, not bleeding flat. Edge denotes falls will occur from time to time. Bring your own parachute.

Offline

#24 2012-06-28 12:29:22

Mr.Elendig
#archlinux@freenode channel op
From: The intertubes
Registered: 2004-11-07
Posts: 3,740

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

http://www.packagekit.org/
It supports the  most commonly used package managers out there.

Last edited by Mr.Elendig (2012-06-28 12:30:25)


Evil #archlinux@freenode channel op and general support dude.
. files on github, Screenshots, Random pics and the rest

Offline

#25 2012-06-28 12:42:58

Trilby
Forum Moderator
From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 14,191
Website

Re: Does linux need a standard package manager?

GUI and dependent on PolicyKit .... I stopped reading there.


InterrobangSlider
• How's my coding? See this page.
• How's my moderating? Feel free to email any concerns, complaints, or objections.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB