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Re: perl module packages: why do they exist?

Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@datasync.com> wrote:
> > 	How do I remove packages using cpan? Can I downgrade to a
> > lower version?
Adam P. Harris <apharris@onshore.com> wrote:
> I'm not sure but I don't think so.  Probably, if you can think of some
> cases why you need this functionality, you could ask the CPAN
> maintainer to update these.

About two months ago, I upgraded a CPAN bundle on a production server.
Two interesting things happened:

(1) perl itself got upgraded, and
(2) wais got upgraded.

That perl got upgraded would be a problem for any extensions that link
with a specific perl version which is NOT integrated with the CPAN stuff.

That wais got upgraded was a serious problem, as the upgraded wais
did NOT work on this system, and (what with all the other changes)
it took about 16 hours to isolate and revert the change.  This on a 
system hosting several dozen vanity web servers (about 8 of which 
used wais).  Not a good way to make people happy.

Also, there are CPAN modules whose installation has a step which says
something to the effect of "you must read the README".  The DBD stuff
that Tim Bunce wrote comes to mind.  We can do a lot better.

On the other hand, I have one production bo system (not the wais
server mentioned earlier -- that was a sparc running solaris) which
is running on a CPAN installed perl and cpan modules for everything.
On this system, I've got perl on hold and I've documented that 
perl upgrades must occur through CPAN.  Incidentally, because the
perl configuration info isn't tracked adequately for CPAN, I had to
completely erase the perl installation partway through installation
of the bundle to get the new perl stuff to work.

Essentially, if you use CPAN, you're always working with UNSTABLE.

But this is a real problem (what if you must have a package that's
only available through CPAN), and I'd like to see Debian and CPAN
interoperate better.  The ppkg stuff I saw proposed here may just
do the trick (especially if there's options equivalent to each
thing on the CPAN command line).


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