Do we need this crap on LWN?
Posted Feb 21, 2007 20:24 UTC (Wed) by mokki
In reply to: Do we need this crap on LWN?
Parent article: ESR's goodbye note
I have done upgrades from RH 7.1->7.2->7.3->8->9->FC1->FC2->FC3->FC4 until the hardware failed a year ago. I used whatever was the best method available at time, rpm --freshen, up2date or yum upgrade.
In each upgrade there were always 4-10 packages that prevented a clean upgrade. Usually they were external rpms that the official rpms were trying to replace but ended up conflicting, but there were also bugs in the dependency and especially in the replacement information in the official rpms.
I remember that at one upgrade I managed to break the whole rpm database (whose format has changed many a time) and had to basically install most rpms from scratch (but even then I did not do any upgrade/install from cd).
But claiming that rpm is poor because removing a library can break it is, while correct, what happens to all other package management systems.
As far as I know it is not possible to create a static binary that does not somehow depend on the glibc (or some other critical library).
I have also broken my gentoo installation by installing a broken glibc (which I luckily was able to recover from by running /bin/ash and copying from a still open nfs mount the required files). And gentoo packages never even try to warn you that the removed package would break half of the system.
My understanding of debs/apt has always been that it is a good technology, but that the culture behind the packaging is the only thing where the major differences comes from. On the other hand now that I had my first few experiences with debs a month ago while trying to compile them for N800 (arm target) I just could not believe that there really was no way of saying that I wanted to enable FPU instructions globally in CFLAGS but I had to patch each and every package separately. So it might be that the final debs are easy to use and work with, but the I found the building system for creating them very much lacking (or at least the documentation).
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