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Re: Release manufacturing and installation

In article <40avll$nh4@myst.plaza.ds.adp.com> heidi@news (Heidi Steward ) writes:
> Hi all,
>   I have the daunting task of trying to find a commercial (or
> freeware) system to help us do the manufacture and installation of
> releases of code on to multiple flavors of Unix boxes.  We are
> rolling out ClearCase for internal config-mgmt, but there is the
> larger issue of how to get all the right pieces on to the final CD
> for release to customers (release manufacturing).

There's a freeware product under development which is being used to 
package and distribute the entirety of an operating system distribution. 
It's called dpkg, and it's the native package handler for the Debian
Linux distribution.  An operating system, with several hundred packages
and complex dependencies between them, is a pretty substantial test
of a package tool's mettle, and dpkg is doing a good job.

dpkg was designed from the ground up to handle package verification,
installation and removal of packages, package dependencies with
versioning, and so on.  I don't know if it's exactly what you're
looking for, but it's free, it's powerful, and I'm sure the people who
wrote it would be thrilled for it to be adopted by someone outside the
Debian project.  

>   Some manufacturers are standardizing the installation mechanisms
> (IBM has created a nice packaging system for AIX called lpps but
> SVR4 uses a different packaging system, and SVR3 doesn't have one at
> all), but they are only standard for their own flavor of Unix.  This
> means our release CD has to have different information on it for the
> installation on different machine types.

The nice thing about dpkg is that it separates the front-end from the
package-handling back end.  The native package format is very powerful, 
but it's designed to allow backends for other package formats, including
Sys V and raw tar and cpio archives.  I'm not sure if these backends 
are actually being developed, since the native format has proven 
to be very useful and the tools are still evolving.

>   Other than starting with the stuff available in Cicero and adding
> the dependency stuff, does anyone have any ideas?  Are there other
> groups I should be posting this to?

There is a developer's mailing list for debian, where dpkg is
discussed and current releases are posted, but it's semi-private.
email bruce@pixar.com with a description of your mission and he will
surely put you on the list (it's called debian-devel).

> Thanks!!
> Heidi

> heidi@plaza.ds.adp.com

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