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Re: Best way to update perl on Woody Stable ?


On Thu, Oct 09, 2003 at 08:40:23PM -0500, Rod Rodolico wrote:
> Is there a way to tell apt (dselect) you have certain packages
> installed? If so, it would make sense to just trash the Debian perl
> install and install it all from source. I agree with your Perl guru --
> roll your own is the best way to go.

and this:

> > On Thu, 2003-10-09 at 16:14, Rod Rodolico wrote:
> >> You could install the CPAN module on your current system, then use
> >> it to update Perl.

are seriously bad advice. i find it difficult to believe that it is
being given on a debian mailing list. package managers (like dpkg and
apt) are not annoyances to be worked around, they are useful tools that
make systems administration much easier. they exist for a reason, and
that reason is that managing software installation and upgrades without
decent tools is a serious PITA. why bother to even use a package-based
distribution like debian if you're going to throw out one of the main
reasons for doing so?

"rolling your own" (as opposed to recompiling a package locally) is not
a particularly good solution even in the best of circumstances, and is a
spectactularly bad solution for perl, especially if you have any need to
use the many debian perl module packages. debian's directory layout is
different to the default perl directory layout.

your best bet is to either:

1. upgrade completely to 'testing' or 'unstable'. this is nowhere
   near as scary or dangerous as the names imply. the packages in these
   pre-release distributions are generally as bug-ridden and as bug-free
   as packages in the release distribution.


2. upgrade partially to unstable. simplest way is to temporarily
   configure /etc/apt/sources.list to use "unstable" rather than
   "stable" and then apt-get install perl related packages. this will
   bring in a lot of other upgraded packages too (e.g. libc6).

   another method is to use apt's "pinning" features where you can tell
   it to upgrade certain packages from one distribution (e.g. unstable)
   and the rest from another (e.g. stable).

   NOTE: this partial upgrade is likely to be buggier and less reliable
   than a complete upgrade to 'unstable' because the other packages you
   have installed were not compiled against the new libs or with the
   latest compiler and may have incompatibilities that no-one else has


3. (if you have a lot of time on your hands)

   download the debianised source for perl 5.8 from "unstable" and
   recompile it on your woody system. do the same for any module
   packages that you need. i.e. backport the new perl to the old debian.

   a lot of people recommend this method. personally, i find it to be
   far too time consuming, for very little benefit. far easier (and much
   better tested) to just run unstable.


4. hunt for one of the backport repositories where people have done 3.
   above and made their work available to others. the quality of work
   here may or may not be as high as you would expect from debian
   packages. YMMV.


ps: dh-make-perl is an excellent package for quickly making debian packages from
CPAN modules.

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