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Re: [users] Re: Time to fight for our beloved DEB format!

On Sun, Jul 01, 2001 at 01:08:04AM +0200, Martin F. Krafft wrote:

> i must admit that i am not particularly down with RPM, but the time
> that i had to use it i remember as horrible.

> in fact, AFAIK, RPM surely provide dependencies, but DEB has more -
> suggestions, and best of all, classes (i.e. MTA).

Ok, I am not quite sure whether RPM has any support for suggestions,
which are nice, but the class support is there, but not very widely
used. I see it mostly as a policy issue, though.

> but i used to hate RPMs -- not least because of their non-intuitive
> command line syntax and other weirdities. e.g. dpkg -l <package>
> works beautifully whereas with RPMs, you needed to rpm -qa | grep
> <package>, which i think is ridiculous.

Well, command line syntaxes most definitely are a matter of taste.
While I agree that rpm command line syntax from time to time is
illogical (--oldpackage vs. --replacepkgs -- why is the latter
abbreviated if the previous is not. Impossible to remember...), your
specific example is the single point where I long for RPM. rpm -q
<package> tells whether a specific package is installed. rpm -qi
<package> gives info about the package, -ql lists the files and so on.
dpkg -l <package>, however, gives a nasty, bastardized formatted
output, which always seems to truncate version numbers in the middle.
Furthermore I've never been able to find a way to see the description
of an installed package on the command line. Though it's just me, I'm
sure. :-)

> DEB, along with apt-get and dselect and what not was love at first
> sight for me, and i would never even dream about doing it differently
> anymore...

Apt-get, while developed for Debian, is already used on several
RPM-based distributions (Conectiva, Mandrake) as well, so it is not
really a packaging format issue. ... although I miss it every single
second when maintaining any Red Hat server at work...

The point I'm trying to make is, that while dpkg is in itself a viable
and good package format (which I personally DO prefer over rpm), some
conformance is good. As it is now, Debian is in danger of getting
isolated, especially in commercial environments.

> cross-compatibility is needed, but rather than surrendering and
> converting to RPM, it should be the community's goal to establish DEB
> at least to be a second standard, causing vendors and distributors to
> package with DEB as well as RPM.

I think that might be an unrealistic goal. I think it's better to
embrace and extend, i.e. to provide a toolset to transparently install
rpm packages with 'alien' and 'dpkg' on a dpkg based distribution.


Matti Airas               GGL, CISU, CMS, ERV, Abdurahmon, snullen,
mairas@iki.fi             Reprieve, Crypto AG, Secure Internet
+358 50 34 64 256         Connections, Skytel, mindwar, MI6, GAFE,
http://www.iki.fi/mairas/ CDC, Verisign, Yucca Mountain, Yakima, BSS,

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