[lsb-discuss] Why was RPM chosen as part of LSB? (was Re: Why python was chosen as a part of LSB?)

Theodore Ts'o tytso at mit.edu
Fri Jun 13 16:02:24 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 11:18:34AM -0400, Jeffrey Johnson wrote:
> There are no licensing restrictions on RPM code and tests exist for RPM.
> Surely all ISV's -- those funding LSB or not -- benefit from a
> "standard" software distribution format.
> Meanwhile you (as former CTO of LSB) are recommending that rpm
> packages should be in a format that was abandoned and is nowhere in
> use. The LSB infrastructure is offering a perl script to produce rpm
> packages because the existing specification and tests are too weak
> to attempt an implementation.

We chose a very basic package subset because non-distro packages
generally don't need the complex dependencies that native distro
packages typically need.  This is especially true since an
LSB-compliant applications can assume that all of the shared libraries
which are guaranteed by an LSB-compliant runtime will be present (and
and so a distribution which has the package installed which guarantees
that the LSB-complaint runtime environment will have all of the
complex dependencies, in practice.)

Also, the RPM subset that was chosen (which was originally an early
version of RPM that yes, is no longer used or generated by the
upstream RPM) was something that RPM could still read, and for which
alien was known to work.

Yes, having a standard distribution format would be great.  But we
were realistic enough to know that there was no way we could force
Debian to change its packaging format.  So the goal was to keep
something simple that could meet the ISV's needs.

It's possible that we could move to a newer RPM format, since I
believe alien can now read newer RPM formats.  We would stil need to
restrict the RPM tags to the LSB-compliant subset (since alien still
doesn't understand _all_ of RPM features).  But it's not clear it's
worth the effort.

If you want to try to suggest a better solution that meets all of the
requirements, and which acknowledges the fact that the dominate
distributions out there _do_ use RPM (and trust me, LSB had very
little to do with that --- LSB isn't that important), feel free to
suggest and implement something better.


					- Ted

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