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Re: What do you wish for in an package manager?

Ben Collins writes ...

> You are missing the fact that the old package does not understand that
> the new package possibly setup some things (configuration settings,
> diversions, symlinks, removal of cruft, alternatives) that it cannot
> recover from. You are missing the fact that it is not as simple as
> replacing files.

HP-UX's Software Distributor (SD) package manager(starting with 11.0) supports 
the ability to roll back patches. It saves every file that the patch replaces 
in a "save" directory, which consumes lots of disk space. When you decide 
you're happy with the patch or you need the disk space back, which ever comes 
first :) , then you "commit" the patch and it removes the save dir and info in 
the package database.

Adam Lazur writes ...

> Relocatable packages so a user can do an individual package install into ~
> without being r00t (this may be possible now with some dpkg foo?).

HP-UX's SD also supports relocatable packages. I think this was originally 
done for diskless support. It requires that people writing install scripts 
follow strict guidelines to ensure that their packages are indeed relocatable.

Richard Atterer ...

> Just one simple small thing for me, please: An installer that is smart
> enough to realize that it is about to overflow the disc, so it deletes
> any .deb files that have been downloaded and already installed. (This
> bit me once while doing an install over PPP.)

SD looks at packages and determines disk usage in each of the standard file 
system partitions that HP-UX ships with to make sure there is enough space to 
install. This doesn't handle the case where somebody makes /usr/foo a symlink 
to another partition but it does pretty well. You can override the disk space 
analysis if you know what you're doing.

In the "Rambling apt-get ideas" thread, Vince Mulhollon writes ...

> Use a apt-get client to remotely mess with another workstations packages.
> Messing with only one workstation at a time is boring.  How about multicast
> to configure a hundred workstations instead, all at once?  And then have a
> proxying apt-getd server multicast out the .deb files to all the machines
> at the same time?

SD can do this and has ACLs too.

Some other things about SD,

- conforms to (and, IIRC, was used to define) the "IEEE POSIX 1387.2 Software 
Administration" standard.
- has been ported to several commercial UNIX variants as well as MSWindows.
- supports hierarchical packages with Bundle -> Product -> Fileset -> File 
levels. For example most packages have Foo-BIN, Foo-MAN, and Foo-DOC, or 
Foo-CLIENT, and Foo-SERVER fileset definitions.

SD is pretty nice(as far as closed propriatary software goes), but it is 
pretty large and slow relative to dpkg/apt. If some of these features could be 
added to dpkg/apt without sacrificing performance/ease-of-use/supportability 
then that would be pretty cool.

Matt Taggart

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