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How a packaging system works

I've been thinking about packaging systems. The only problem I have
with dpkg is that it isn't the format everyone uses. Sure I can run
rpm on my debian system, but it won't check dependancies and it won't
integrate with my packaging system. I could use alien, but I'm always
worried that will mess things up as rpm has messed up on RH systems in 
the past.

Would it be possible to have a packaging system that was a big set of
rules about where to put things and how to compile things. So if for
example I want to compile enlightenment, I download the e.tar.gz file, 
and type deb-make e.tar.gz, this runs a bunch of rules maintained by a 
maintainer, to check it is the correct archive, inform me of dependacy 
issues, such as libraries I may need to install first, then apply a
patch and run me though a compilation. If the tar file contained
binaries they would be copied to their policy defined file locations
and the package management database updated.

If the original archive was a rpm, then it gets extracted first and
handled the same as if it were a binary filled tar. If it is some
other format, then it stops, but gives you the otpion to write some
rules for the install, which would probably be a template of an
existing set.

As you can see I haven't really got this worked out, but the basic
concept is that the packaging system identifies and tracks whatever is 
put onto the system, rather than only allowing a specified type of
package to be installed.

I have used deb-make and think it's extreemly easy and a great
tool. This idea is just a future vision, that perhaps would make
Debian more flexable and able to coexits more easily with the other
linux distributions.

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