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Re: packages

On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 12:17:04PM -0800, Ashley Ward wrote:
> I'm interested in learning how debian is able to have so many packages maintained. What is the process you use to compile them. How do you keep up with all the different software sources?

Hello Ashely,
  You're right we have quite a number, over 18,000, packages within the
Debian project. I would say there would be nearly as many opinions on
why Debian works as there are developers; in my mind the answer would be
nobody really trully knows, though I do know some people have studied
projects like ours previously.

The first thing to understand is there are a lot of us and we are all
over the world.  This means while there are many packages, I only look
after 8. Some people look after more, some only one.  Each developer
compilies their package usually only once per version and on one

Next we have about 20 architectures that most packages need to be built
on.  Generally a package is uploaded once and works on a standard PC
(i386). We have a bunch of systems called buildd[1] that take the
new packages and builds them for the other architectures.

That's the mechanical or technical part of it. Another important part
and something I think is often overlooked is the standards[2]. These
are very important for a project as large as ours because it means my
package will work other peoples packages in a reasonably known way. It
also gives one developer, or even a user, a way of understanding if
something is not right. A simple example being if I use a program,
it should be found in /usr/bin (there are exceptions). If I find it in
/opt/mypackage/release/1.0/bin/ then it is probably an error. How do
I know this? The standards say so.

Finally, there is a large sense of community within the project. I
cannot really explain it, but it is there.  Like any group of people
there are disagreements and arguments, but for the large majority of the
time we are all working together doing our own little bit for our
favourite distribution of GNU/Linux.

I hope that answers your question Ashley. While I've been in Debian for
over 10 years, it is still only one persons opinion.

 - Craig

[1] http://buildd.debian.org/
[2] http://www.debian.org/devel/ links on the right.
> _________________________________________________________________
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Craig Small      GnuPG:1C1B D893 1418 2AF4 45EE  95CB C76C E5AC 12CA DFA5
http://www.enc.com.au/                             csmall at : enc.com.au
http://www.debian.org/          Debian GNU/Linux, software should be Free 

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