[lsb-discuss] Packaging

Leibowitz, Michael michael.leibowitz at intel.com
Wed Oct 25 23:08:47 PDT 2006

Perhaps Joey cares to correct me, but alien is a lowest common
denominator affair.  Basically preinst, postinst, prerm, and postrm are
carried over.  Dependency information is mangled to be depending on LSB.
The LSB requirements more or less tell you that you can't do anything
that isn't LSB specified in your scripts, unless it pertains to your
package (in other words, if your package installs /sbin/foobar, you can
call it in postinst.  But you can't call /sbin/non_lsb_thing).  I don't
feel that this subset of functionality is sufficient for a real
third-party package solution.  I'm not absolutely saying that a
transformation approach won't work, but the lowest-common denominator
approach is problematic.  

In my mind, for a transformation approach to work, the transformation
engine itself needs to provide the extra functionality needed, and allow
packages to call interfaces from it.  So, if configuration were needed,
then the transformation engine would have API's to do that.  However,
transformation can be difficult because of phase-mismatches between
distros and subtle differences in the way different systems handle
things.  The difference between the way rpm and dpkg deal with
configuration file merges could end up meaning that the transformation
engine needs to have an abstracted conf_file merge interface.  There are
several of these types of cases that make writing a robust
transformation solution difficult.  You essentially end up writing a
package manager that is inside out.  Once you cannot rely on
merge/unmerge, what facilities are you getting out of the distro package
manager anyway?

Michael Leibowitz
Software Engineer, Channel Platform Solutions Group
Intel Corporation
michael.leibowitz at intel.com
+1 503 264 7621

>-----Original Message-----
>From: lsb-discuss-bounces at lists.freestandards.org [mailto:lsb-discuss-
>bounces at lists.freestandards.org] On Behalf Of Alexey Eremenko
>Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 8:47 AM
>To: lsb-discuss at lists.freestandards.org
>Subject: Re: [lsb-discuss] Packaging
>> If I understand you correctly, for third-party packages, we should
>> create an API to manipulate them and leave it up to the distros to
>> implement it?  I'm all for having API's for programmatic
>> but creating a full set of API's is just a package manager that is
>> driven by API instead of user interaction.  Although we could just
>> specify the API and not give an implementation, my experience has
>> that API's that were standardized without a reference implementation
>> terrible.
>So speaking about PM APIs - where it will be different than current
>Debian's Alien ?
>How good is Debian's Alien (plz give links to articles) ? (sorry I'm
>openS-user :)
>Actually you want to:
>a. make Alien's concept of package conversion the  "standard LSB way"
>b. document Alien's APIs
>c. implement those APIs on other distros - Slackware, Gentoo, etc... ?
>Or am I mistaken?
>lsb-discuss mailing list
>lsb-discuss at lists.freestandards.org

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