Chapter 13 - Software Installation

Jeffrey Watts watts at
Tue Jul 11 00:22:12 PDT 2000

On Mon, 10 Jul 2000, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:

> I've just subscribed to the list, and was rather pleased to see a post
> by Santeri Kannisto on almost exactly the subject that made me
> subscribe.

Welcome aboard, Anthony.

> While I cannot find it at the start of the standard, I thought that
> the purpose of the LSB was "to provide a minimal subset that will
> guarantee interoperability between distributions". My two complaints
> are (1) that section 13.1 is grossly in excess of a "minimal subset",
> and the claim that rpms are supported "directly or indirectly by the
> widest number of distributions" is just plain false. What about tar?

This is a FAQ.  RPM was chosen because most distributions either support
it directly, or are able to support it through the use of a conversion
program like 'alien'.

Note that this arrangement is not only agreed upon by the RPM-based
distributions (Red Hat, SuSE, TurboLinux, Caldera, Mandrake), but also by
the Debian folks (which would also include Storm and Corel).

> Also, there are a lot of (maybe just perceived) faults with rpm.
[ ... example removed ... ]
> I gather this is a flaw of rpm, not SuSE. .deb's are supposed to be
> much better. And I have a lot of trouble installing rpms (RedHat) on
> my rpm-based (SuSE) distro, although this is addressed in the original
> document.

Your perceived problems are with the way the package is _packaged_, not
with the _package format_.  Please be sure to make that distinction.  
Your problems with installing packages built on and for Red Hat systems on
SuSE boxes isn't a problem with RPM, but reflects on the differences
between those distributions.

A large part of the LSB's mission is to remove those difficulties, so that
one can (assuming compliance and correct architecture) install a given
package on _any_ distribution.

As I said, this is a FAQ, and has been discussed many times.  I'm sorry if
this reply is brief, but this issue has been beaten to death and I would
suggest going to the list archives if you want to read the discussion(s)
in painful detail.

Thanks for your thoughts,

| Jeffrey Watts                     |
| watts at         o-----------------------------------------o
| Systems Programmer         |  [On going to war over religion]        |
| Network Systems Management | "You're basically killing each other to |
| Sprint Communications      |  see who's got the better imaginary     |
o----------------------------|  friend."                               |
                             |  -- Rich Jeni                           |

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