Re: netpbm vs. pbmplus
'Michael E. Deisher wrote:'
>On Wed, 24 Jan 1996 17:53:33 -0500 (EST), Chris Fearnley <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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
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
email@example.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