|| ||Alex Bennee <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|| ||In defence of RPM!|
|| ||07 Mar 2003 16:00:36 +0000|
I was reading the distrowatch artcile (Is RPM Doomed?
contained was a long rant against the incompatabilities of binary RPM's
across distributions. Although the article did point out a few ways
things can be improved I feel as though I must jump in with a little
pro-RPM evengelism :-)
Firstly a quick question. Why is binary compatibility required?
The majority of applications your likely to look at are source based. If
the binary RPM exists then there should .src.rpm nearby. In my
experience 99% of dependancy problems are solved by simply building the
binary RPM yourself. I can't believe your suggesting moving over to a
source based distribution because:
saves a few lines over:
rpm --rebuild application.src.rpm
rpm -ivh ~/rpm/RPMS/applictaion.rpm
I'll grant that Gentoo's source based system offers a lot when it comes
to large multi-component builds. However if your really that up for the
bleeding edge you'll find living on Manrake Cooker (or Debian unstable)
costs you less time in the long run than constantly rebuilding common
In fact I run Mandrake Cooker on my main desktop and I've had very few
problems with running a:
every few days. I can leave the heavy lifting to the Cooker people and
concentrate on the apps I'm actually interested in.
But arguments about ease of building asside the biggest difference rpm
makes to my life is knowing where all the files on my PC come from.
Having in the past lived/survived a windows environment where your never
quite sure if a DLL is left over detruitus or an essential system
component I find the ability to do a:
rpm -qf /usr/bin/randomfile
a godsend. As a bonus I know if I un-install a package from my system
all its files go with it leaving nothing lying around.
As I have consistently found with open source tools its easy to get
frustrated at percieved inadaquacies at first but if you invest a little
time reading the documentation/playing with the app your experience is
drastically improved and you'll wonder how you got along without it.
Briefly returning to the problems of people who distribute binary only
rpm's (of which is concern mainly to the commercial software people)
there is a solution. Build your binary RPM's for the big 3 (RedHat,
Mandrake, UnitedLinux) and build a forth statically linked RPM for the
Alex, homepage: http://www.bennee.com/~alex/
Everyone is a genius. It's just that some people are too stupid to realize it.
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