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redhat packaging system and dpkg

Marc Ewing:
> It really is major time saver for the package developer.  And being
> able to rebuild all the packages with a single command is pretty
> reassuring.

I bet. It's probably worth our picking it up.

> I'd certainly be interested in talking about a merger (or at least
> some sort of cross-compatibility) of the formats.  I think you are
> right, the debian binary package format (or perhaps more accurately,
> the debian database features) offer some advantages over rpms, mostly
> in the areas of conflicts, dependencies, and configuration.  I haven't
> looked at dpkg in a long time so I may not be correct here.

I think those are indeed the advantages dpkg offers. I'd like to bring Ian
Jackson in to this discussion, as dpkg is his design. I think we're short
on documentation as yet, but the source is on our FTP site.

> The rpm binary format has a few other cool things, like optional icons
> in the header (for use in our graphical package manager: glint).  The
> header is tacked on to the head of the package uncompressed, which
> allows for very fast querying.

We can add HTML and icons to the package by placing them in the DEBIAN
subdirectory when we build the package. These will be gzipped and tarred.
Nothing uses this feature yet.

> Another interesting feature is that packages (most often "subpackages"
> can "share" files - as long as the MD5 sums are the same in both
> packages (which they usually are if they are sibling subpackages).
> Installation and uninstallation of packages sharing a file does what
> you would want it to.

That's nice. I don't think Ian has gotten to this feature yet.

> rpm is all written in perl5 so it should be pretty accessible.  We've
> found that perl gives us decent speed, although the startup time is
> longer than we'd like.

I think that dpkg and dselect are now in C or C++ after having started
life as Perl programs.

> Is there a current document somewhere that describes the debian
> package format and all the tricks it can do?

I think our package guidelines are far out of date. Hopefully Ian can list
the features here.



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