[lsb-discuss] [packaging] LSB Package API

Theodore Tso tytso at mit.edu
Mon Jun 30 13:48:41 PDT 2008

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 01:00:56PM -0700, Dan Kegel wrote:
> There seems to be a market opportunity here for some open source
> tool to step in and help solve packaging in a way friendly to
> package managers on all platforms.

We thought about doing something like this.  The basic idea here was
to create a tool which would take a directory hierarchy (i.e., the
sort of thing that would be created via a "make install DESTDIR=/tmp/dest"),
some basic amount of metadata that would be provided via either an XML file
or through a series of command-line options to provide things like the 
package name, description, version number, post-install/pre-remove scripts, 
etc.  and generate an LSB-compliant RPM.   

The thinking was that such an RPM could be easily consumed by alien
aka lsb_install on Debian/Ubuntu systems, but it wouldn't be that hard
to generate a .deb file using either alien or directly from the tool.
(It's actually easier to generate .deb files directly because
low-level interfaces such as dpkg-gencontrol and dpkg --build will do
most of the heavy lifting for you; with RPM there are no easy-to-use
programs that can be easily called from a shell/perl/python script.)

My thinking is this is would be in addition to the Berlin API; for
people who are willing to modify their build engines to generate
native Linux package files, this approach is certainly better and
"purer".  Unfortunately, some ISV's want to use the same graphical GUI
install on all platforms, which are pixel-for-pixel identical on
Linux, Solaris, AIX, etc., because it simplifies their documentation
(they don't want OS-specific screen shots).  For those ISV's they will
always find the Berlin API approach to be preferable.


       	    	       	   	       	  - Ted

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