11 responses

  1. Christopher Baus
    January 24, 2005

    Package management systems have existed on Linux for years. RedHat's RPM was the first such mechanism to be widely used.

    You fail to mention the most unique aspect of portage. It builds dependencies from source. I'm not sure why users, even Linux admins, would want to add this extra level of complexity. It is rare that I don't find a pre-compiled package suitable to my application.

  2. sogrady
    January 24, 2005

    RPM's address one portion of what Portage offers, yes, but not the systems management aspects.

    as for build from source, that's more a choice that Gentoo offers. while the bulk of applications are built from source, Portage is equally capable of installing binaries. many people do this for OOo or other large applications.

  3. Christopher Baus
    January 24, 2005

    RPM does offer dependency management. That is one of its core functions. When combined with YUM or up2date required dependencies can also be automatically downloaded.

    Again from my understanding what makes Gentoo unique is the build dependencies from source capability. I'm just not convinced that capability will every be required by the mainstream.

    I will admit I am biased as a long time RedHat user.

  4. sogrady
    January 24, 2005

    i think we're agreeing here; RPM's do provide dependency management, but by themselves do not provide systems management – ie update downloads and maintenance, centralized application record, etc. my point then is that RPM != Portage, but nor are they supposed to.

    in any event, i'm not attempting that Portage is the only or even best approach. that's why i cited other equivalent functions. it works best for me, but i don't recommend most users use Gentoo b/c it is, as you note, distro that emphasizes source builds. and we further agree that source is not going to be ideal for mainstream users.

    that said, there's nothing in Portage that's restricted to source builds – there are many binary applications available.

    either way, Red Hat's up2date is just fine – i've got nothing against it. if that works for you, go with it.

    Portage is just the context here anyway – it's really the larger reaction that's most interesting.

  5. Kelvin
    April 30, 2005

    Gentoo for OS X is out.

  6. sogrady
    May 6, 2005

    thanks for the notice, Kelvin. if i can get my hands on some OS-X gear i'll give it a whirl; otherwise i'll see if i can rope someone into doing it for me.

  7. shi5o
    May 17, 2005

    Portaris is certainly welcome news but it's worth noting that people have been using alternatives to Solaris package management for some time now. If you're using Solaris 8/9 then Debian's apt-get is pretty functional. Check out http://www.blastwave.org/ for a list of packages in the repository.

  8. sogrady
    May 25, 2005

    i agree wholeheartedly shi50. should have mentioned it in here, as pkg-get for Solaris is a great feature. the point of Portaris, however, i think is a bit more than just the functionality; it's the fact that Gentoo is supporting other OSs.

  9. Chui Tey
    June 16, 2005

    Dependency hell actually arises if you have one application updating a component that another application depends on.

    This is a common problem with COM dlls in Windows. It was thought to be a good idea initially, because the user would always have the latest and presumably least buggiest shared component installed. In practice, it caused several issues:

    1. Uninstallation difficulties. Before reference counting was introduced when an application was removed it removed shared components that is used by other applications.

    2. Lack of component isolation. Software has been tested and certified against a certain set of program components. Some of the components used might just happen to work because of the presence of a particular bug in another dependent component. If a new software package is installed and replaces a buggy component with a fixed one, it will break another app.

    Microsoft has actually more experience in this area than portage.

    The value of the Gentoo developer to Microsoft is

    a) it helps MS understand the competition a bit better. CLR and JVM are already JITing on the machines which software is being run on, so in a sense it is not much different to Gentoo. The idea here is to better get into the mind of the people who use Gentoo why there would be such a preference. In theory, what Gentoo could build would represent the most optimized system that Linux is capable of. If MS wants to run comparisons, this would have to be the target to match.

    b) There is also a slight advantage to MS by decreasing the velocity of Gentoo development.

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