[Mageia-discuss] Package management system

Michael Scherer misc at zarb.org
Tue Sep 28 23:21:08 CEST 2010

Le mardi 28 septembre 2010 à 20:20 +0100, Richard a écrit :

> I confess to a quite high level of ignorance about package managers, as I have 
> only ever known and used rpmdrake in its evolution since around 2000, but you 
> have both said things to make me think that some of the frustrations I have 
> experienced since 2008 Spring may be due to controllable features of the 
> package manager.
> The simplest analysis tells us that rpmdrake does its job admirably; point, 
> click and presto, your software is installed (OK, you may have to click a 
> couple more times to agree to the selected packages list).
> How much better could it possibly do this? What am I missing? You have both 
> mentioned alternatives, some of which I know by name, but in what way do apt, 
> yum or smart do this job any better?

Well, apt is likely to be faster, c++ may be the cause. 

Smart is portable across type of repository. It also use a cleaner
design or algorithm, according to his developer. Among nice features, it
can draw graphs of the dependency, feature a command line shell or
parallel downloads ( http://labix.org/smart/features )

Yum is likely the more different of the 3. Yum has auto update feature
( ie, it doesn't have a update command ) has a plugin infrastructure
( who permit to extend the core in nice way ), and is still developped.

Now, the "install package", "remove package" are basic features that all
of them do. And I think that all packages managers are equal on that

> I realise that package managers are needed because humans have to add some 
> intelligence in the form of what libraries are needed to get a program to 
> run. I also know that sometimes humans get this badly wrong (try removing a 
> library that you know will never be used and ask yourself why rpmdrake wants 
> to remove over 200 packages with it!). Do other package managers manage to 
> avoid this embarassing and frustrating behaviour? or is it that it is just 
> easier to get it right with package types other than rpm?

Nope, the problem is not linked to rpm or deb. If a library is needed,
it is needed, that's simple. 

A system like emerge or macports ( macports is also in contribs, afaik )
may however reduce the required dependency, depending on the software.
Michael Scherer

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