[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: netpbm vs. pbmplus

'Michael E. Deisher wrote:'
>On Wed, 24 Jan 1996 17:53:33 -0500 (EST), Chris Fearnley <cjf@netaxs.com> said:
>> Now if everything is in /usr/bin how do you remove the netpbm tools
>> from your PATH?  It's impossible.
>Is this really a relevant question?  If netpbm is already *properly*
>installed then any namespace conflicts have already been handled.
>Either the offending files were renamed or (as you suggest) a
>subdirectory was created and added to the path.  I cannot think of any
>other reason why someone would want to *remove* certain files from
>their path.

In my experience, I keep coming upon things unanticipated.  Getting
netpbm, khoros and others out of the way of everything else in /usr/bin
will reduce unanticipated problems, IMO.  So the relevancy is to
emphasize the fact that putting everything in /usr/bin makes some
things impossible and hence is inflexible (needlessly so, IMO).
Probably there are better examples.

>> Putting everything thing in /usr/bin, reduces flexibility.
>Could you give an example?

Didn't you see my example of the Slackware sysadmin who would rather
ftp /usr/bin/netpbm.tar from a Debian box rather than recompile from
source?  Organized subdirectories make many things easier, add
flexibility, and make the system easier to explore.

>> I'm only suggesting splintering for non-standard, large packages.
>> I'm thinking of big subsystems like khoros, netpbm, etc that aren't
>> normally part of a *nix system.  I don't feel that these types of
>> extras belong in /usr/bin.
>The only compelling reason to do this that I have heard so far is that
>it avoids name conflicts.  I still don't understand what becomes "VERY,
>VERY difficult" when lots of files are in /usr/bin.

Perhaps not for you.  But I want (and sometimes I NEED) to explore
what's going on and I find using the shell tools to be indispensable
(e.g., ls | wc -l to find out how many binaries are in the netpbm
package without writing some bloody script to parse dpkg -L output).
Your convenience (not having to touch PATH), could easily become my
nightmare.  It is compelling to me!

Another example:  I might decide I want all the man pages for netpbm on
my system, but I want to delete all the binaries (perhaps I have the
binaries on another system, but that system doesn't have my favorite
man page browser).  rm -rf /usr/bin/netbpm solves the problem.  How
would you accomplish this in one line of sh if everything is in

The advantage of my approach is long-term flexibility.  The
disadvantage is a small bother for those users/admins that need
nonstandard *nix extensions like netpbm.

I request that we not put a ratchet on the gears of the growing set of
useful (yet nonstandard) tools included with Debian.

Christopher J. Fearnley            |    UNIX SIG Leader at PACS
cjf@netaxs.com (finger me!)        |    (Philadelphia Area Computer Society)
http://www.netaxs.com/~cjf         |    Design Science Revolutionary
ftp://ftp.netaxs.com/people/cjf    |    Explorer in Universe
"Dare to be Naive" -- Bucky Fuller |    Linux Advocate

Reply to: