Re: package managers [was: FatELF patches...]

From: Mikulas Patocka
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 16:11:52 EST

> > > No, all they need to do is bump the .so version number.
> >
> > That's what Debian did. Obviously, I can extract the old library from the
> > old package. But non-technical desktop user can't.
> But the non-technical user probably wouldn't have hand-compiled vim and links
> either, so how would they get into that situation?

Non-technical users won't hand-compile but they want third party software
that doesn't come from the distribution. And package management system
hates it. Truly. It is written with the assumption that everything
installed is registered in the package database.

Another example: I needed new binutils because it had some bugs fixed over
standard Debian binutils. So I downloaded .tar.gz from,
compiled it, then issued a command to remove the old package, passed it a
flag to ignore broken dependencies and then typed make install to install
new binaries. --- guess what --- on any further invocation of dselect it
complained that there are broken dependencies (the compiler needs
binutils) and tried to install the old binutils package!

Why is the package management so stupid? Why can't it check $PATH for "ld"
and if there is one, don't try to install it again?

After few hours, I resolved the issue by creating an empty "binutils"
package and stuffing it into the database.

Now, if I were not a programmer ... if I were an artist who needs the
latest version of graphics software, if I were a musican who needs the
latest version of audio software, if I were a gamer who needs the latest
version of wine ... I'd be f'cked up. That's why I think that package
management is an evil feature hurts desktop users. As a technical user, I
somehow solve these quirks and install what I want, as a non-technical
user, I wouldn't have a chance.

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