[lsb-discuss] RPM decision process

Giovanni Orlando gorlando at futuretg.com
Thu Apr 17 09:00:57 PDT 2008

Theodore Tso wrote:

Hi Everyone ...

     For me ... rpm is depth down absolutely OBSOLETE!!!!!!

     Why great programmers are unable to write a simple and graphical 
installer like for the Windows OS? ...

     (May be they are pure! ... but MS works and people use it!|?)

Thanks a lot,
Giovanni A. Orlando.
> On Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 10:09:17AM -0400, Jeff Johnson wrote:
>> Several "facts":
>> The "LSB format", which used to be called RPMv3 format because of the
>> value in byte 5 of the rpmlead, is exactly the same as the RPMv4 format
>> because the value in byte 5 of the lead is still 3.
>> Which is why you can't find documentation about "RPMv4 format". The
>> format (I will get to content and usage next) has not changed.
> Thanks for the confirmation.  It was Russ who repeatedly claimed that
> the lead had changed in the RPMv4 format, and that we were busted
> because we hadn't made those changes because of dire cryptographic
> problems. I remember that there were problems, but I thought it was in
> the interpretation of the tags.
>> The content (i.e. the tags) have changed. The most significant
>> change was (in ~2000) representing absolute file paths as a triple,
>> not a string.  That is been finessed (as in "permitted") with the
>> LSB packaging doco and tools for several years.
> Yes, and what the tags are, and what they mean, have not been defined
> in any systematic or precise way past RPMv4.  Neither has there been
> any documentation about what various RPM implementations will do
> differently if the value in the minor and major version numbers
> changes.  
> I will note that the web page here:
> 	http://wiki.rpm.org/FileFormat
> Implies that at least some implementations set major version number 3,
> minor version 1, as well as major version 4, minor 0.  What that does
> is not specified.
> It was Russ on the call who made rather energetic assertions that if
> we didn't uplift our package specification to the RPMv4 format, that
> we might as well go back to compressed tarballs, and he also made the
> further suggestion that you also felt quite strongly about that.
> Thank you for confirming that in fact there is no real difference at
> least as far as the RPM header/lead is concerned.  This is in rather
> direct contradiction to what Russ asserted on Wedensday on the LSB
> call.
>> At the package "usage" level -- i.e. how tags should be used by an
>> installer -- LSB has never attempted any working definition
>> AFAIK. That means the "usage" case if, say, RPMTAG_POSTIN which you
>> are seeking is UNSPECIFIED.
> There are definitions in the LSB specification.  I will agree that
> they are rather loose.  In particular, one of the things which is not
> specified is what arguments are passed to the install/remove
> scriptlets in the case of fresh install versus upgrades.  If you would
>> like to contribute better text, it would be gratefully accepted.
>> Ther are additional subtleties if LSB wishes to attempt to "uplift"
>> (or not) to what you are calling "RPMv4" format. In fact, the
>> format/content used by RedHat and SuSE is diverging because the 2
>> vendors have chosen different approaches to multilib packaging. The
>> divergence has a direct impact on your ISV customers, who wish to
>> distribute software on vendor platforms. The additional subtleties
>> involve specifying sort orders for metadata, and version comparison
>> and other issues.
> Yes, we do have an open bug that the sort order for version numbers is
> not specified; again, authoratative text would be gratefully accepted.
> You could either paste it into the bugzilla entry here:
> 	http://bugs.linuxbase.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1462
> Or send the text or a URL to the list, and someone will enter it into
> the BZ for you.
>> And since Ted T'so has chosen to insinuate that Russ (and my)
>> intention is to advocate "rpm5.org technology" adoption for LSB,
>> that is plain and simply not the case.
> It may be that I misunderstood some of what Russ said.  Russ was
> rather *passionate* on the call, and as I said earlier, he was the one
> who claimed your position was "RPMv4 package format, or go back to
> using tarballs".  That I think he was rather clear upon.  And at least
> once or twice, I thought he made various assertions that if we didn't
> take up some of the enhancements that you were planning in the RPM5
> series, that we would be fatally harming the ISV's, and so it didn't
> matter that both Red Hat and SuSE weren't planning on using RPM5; we
> should specify such format changes in the LSB.  I am very glad to hear
> that "this is simply not the case", and I am quite happy to chalk it
> up to my not understanding his (and yours) position properly.
> 73 de N1ZSU,
> 						- Ted
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