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Re: pros/cons of installing from source

On 5/3/07, Greg Folkert <greg@gregfolkert.net> wrote:
> Also It's not only compiler optimizations what you get from source
> base distros, it's dependencies control.

Dependency controls... like what apt or aptitude does?

> There are things one might compile against, that others might think as
> irrelevant.  On binary based distros one can't control how the
> packages are compiled, thus one need to comply with the dependencies
> set by the developer.  Which is OK for the most part, except if you
> want customized systems (whether lighter or even more blotted).

Nope, aptitude offers you the dependencies the distro developer
specifies (not just the application developer), some of them are
recommendations, some of them are strictly required.  When you are to
compile the application yourself, you can find that even things
strictly required by a binary distro are really not.  The reason is
that the distro developer compiled using a particular library for
example, when he/she could have used another or none.  So on binary
distros one has 2 levels of non optional dependencies I believe, the
ones set by the original package developer, and the ones set by the
distro developer for the package.  This is not true on sourceMage, not
sure on gentoo (it looks like people immediately thinks of gentoo when
talking about source based distros) since I don't know about it, and
it's just because the only really required dependencies on sourceMage
by policy are the ones set by the original package developer.

Whether this makes a difference or not, it depends on the system one
wants to get.

I might be wrong though about how debian package developers compile
things though, I'm not one, and it might be that there's a policy to
keep as required dependencies only the ones set by upstream, but I'm
not aware of it.

As a side note, something I liked from sourceMage was its policy of
keeping upstream code untouched as much as possible.  I don't know of
any binary distro trying to keep up with that.  However this is beyond
the discussion since there's a lot to talk about that, just something
to mention, :).

For anything else I agree.  Just wanted to clarify a bit further about
the dependencies comment.  For not compiling the kernel as a
suggestion, well, again it depends (I don't totally agree).  For a
regular user with 40GB of HD or more, there's no problem on having a
blotted set of modules he/she will never use.  If you have limited HD,
you'd like to compile only what you need, and not everything so far
supported by the kernel (besides you get more tunned configuration at
the same time for free if you want, I provided the pentium M example,
but I bet there are more, like the kind of pre-emption, the frequency,
etc, not that one gets better performance, but that one gets the right
tunned configuration for the system, and not just a blotted generic
one).  Same thing applies to other packages.  One might want to remove
any gnome/QT dependency as much as possible, one might not support
some graphics libraries although required for the general purpose,

So far I'm living with both, debian, which I'm fond of (just a user
though for several years now), and just started sourceMage, as I
mentioned before, and I wouldn't just demerit source based distros
just because of the build time if that's what one needs, and I
wouldn't suggest source based distros just because of performance
either (the arguments about this are very clear, and there's nothing
to discuss about that).  Again, I think it's a matter of tastes and
necessities.  But again, I might have the concepts about the whole
thing completely twisted, since I'm just an user of both distros, :).

Please, if I'm completely wrong about my comments on dependencies, let
me know.  Maybe there's a debian policiy talking about this (is there
a pointer?) that I'm not aware of, and I was just talking non sense,


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