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Oliver Jones oliver@d...
Mon Apr 25 14:55:18 NZST 2005

Personally I've never had a problem with package dependencies.  Other
than a very trivial amount of annoyance that some things on my server
require Xlibs to be installed.  Mainly because things, like ImageMagick,
have X11 components to them when they can otherwise be used in a
headless environment.

The problem of dependencies is not restricted to Redhat.  It is rather
more to do with the way Unix/Linux applications are built with things
like auto{make,conf}.  When you run configure before you build an
application it checks to see what libraries and what not are installed
and builds a binary around those discoveries.  Not all configure scripts
are created equal.  Depending on the source code and developers you may
or may not be able to build parts of an application without the X11 libs
or some other library dependency (via switches to configure).  To run
the compiled app you need to have the libs it linked against during the
build, otherwise it will not start.  Those libs are provided by package
X, so you package Y has to have the package dependency of X.  X in turn
might depend on Z and so on.  This is normal.  This is how all Linux
packaging systems work.

The criticism that can probably be justly leveled at RedHat is purely a
matter of granularity.  RedHat has historically only split packages into
3 groups, base, base-devel, base-libs.  Eg, cups, cups-devel, cups-libs.

Over time, and subsequent distro releases, some packages have been split
(where they can be) into smaller chunks, eg php which has some of its
extensions split out into separate dynamically loaded modules.  But to
do this required frucking about with the way php is built.  Even PHP
which is designed to have dynamically loaded extensions requires jumping
through hoops to make it build right in a modular fashion.

So, basically the only way to get packages with less dependencies is to
create them with a finner granularity.  Which means more packages.
Which also means much more work building package scripts and testing
them.  It may also mean writing patches to applications so that they can
be built in a more modular way.  Not all apps are as good as Apache when
it comes to building extensions.  Some applications rely entirely on
what they 'discover' during the running of configure.  To avoid these
discoveries would require building entire build environments around
those specific applications and each specific module, or creating huge
patches which fundamentally change the way an application is built.

RedHat has historically gone with the thinking, more packages == more
work, more debugging, and slower releases.  Therefore lets create less
packages and do it faster.  Just look a the glacial pace of development
in the Debian world for proof.

I personally am perfectly happy to install a bunch of extra packages,
when necessary, to get things to work.  Especially now when we have
groovy tools like apt and yum to solve and download all the dependencies
for us.

So stop bitching and actually give Fedora/RedHat (or any other RedHat
derived distro) a try.


On Mon, 2005-04-25 at 10:42 +1200, James Clark wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 08:56:16PM +1200, Kyle Carter wrote:
> > you will love Ubuntu, trust me.. Ive been a redhat / fedora fan for ages,
> > but moved one of my servers to ubuntu.. 
> Ubuntu - desktop
> Debian - server or desktop
> Debian upgrades very nicely, I've never used Redhat and don't intend to
> until I hear that "dependancy hell" has been resolved.
> James.
> _______________________________________________
> wlug mailing list | wlug@l...
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                   Oliver Jones » Roving Code Warrior
   oliver@d... » +64 (21) 41 2238 » 

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