[linux-elitists] [RANT] Debian the Elitist Distribution?

Jim Thompson jim@netgate.com
Sun Feb 22 21:53:53 PST 2004


The whole rpm/deb/... binary-blob thing is an artifact of "old
thinking".  Linux is (supposed to be) a source-available system.

Given this, why not just compile from source, ala gentoo?

Yes, I agree that the gentoo install is rough, too rough for newbies.

but in my mind, there is no real functional difference between .deb,
.rpm, and .cab.

Jim
(netgate.com is (still) a co-located debian box, and has been for years.)

Karsten M. Self writes:
> on Mon, Feb 23, 2004 at 12:56:38PM +1100, Mike MacCana (mikem@cyber.com.au) wrote:
> > On Fri, 20 Feb 2004, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > 
> > > on Sat, Feb 21, 2004 at 04:01:55PM +1100, Mike MacCana (mikem@cyber.com.au) wrote:
> > > > On Fri, 20 Feb 2004, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Its important that any Linux system can unpack an package, and RPM meets
> > > > that (using my personal definition of 'Linux', which is a Linux
> > > > distribution that is attempting to conform to the LSB. If it isn't, then I
> > > > don't think it's Linux. Yes, really).
> > > >
> > > > The advantage of being able to unpack a Linux (RPM) package on other non
> > > > Linux systems is pretty minimal.
> > 
> > (now remember kids, we're talking about default installs...)
> 
> Speak for yourself.  I'm talking direct personal experiences.
> 
> You're more than welcome to speak of "standard" GNU/Linux, but in my
> experience, broken systems tend not to adhere closely to standards of
> any sort.
> 
> I've been in circumstances where I _couldn't_ access RPMs with tools at
> hand, and forced to a system wipe and install as a result.
> 
> I've _never_ been in the situation of not being able to deal with a DEB.
> Tools at hand being typically:
> 
>   - A working Debian installation.
> 
>   - A crippled Debian installation (say:  sash and busybox).
> 
>   - tomsrtbt, LNX-BBC, Knoppix.
> 
>   - Cygwin (on legacy MS Windows)
>  
> I've generally got copies of the bootables with me, which covers 99%+ of
> the hardware I encounter in daily use.
> 
> I've recoverd systems with wiped root partitions, have a script to
> restore apt state after losing the /var tree, and helped popularize
> chroot Debian installations (didn't invent it, but documented and
> pointed people to it).  Often with the tools above.  tomsrtbt and a
> base2_2.tar.gz image are still my preferred installation method.
> 
> 
> 
> > > Those are the words of someone who's never had to resurrect a
> > > crippled system using at-hand tools, whether they be other 'nixen,
> > > 'Doze, or other tools of last resort.
> >
> > Its the words of someone who finds that the out of box installs of
> > most Operating Systems rarely provide the tools I need.
> 
> There's an old aphorsim about avoiding poverty:  keep your needs few.
> In engineering, it's translated as KISS.
> 
> DEBs (ar-based) lower the bar markedly vis-a-vis RPM.
> 
> 
> 
> > > Being able to "ar -x" a DEB and pull out the pieces you need _has_
> > > saved this homie's ass more than once.
> > 
> > Has anyone ever cursed a bz2 file when trying to unpack it on an old
> > Solaris box? I wouldn't, I'd just get bz2 on Solaris. If that's a
> > problem for anyone, they have bigger issues to deal with.
> 
> Funny, but last time I was on a Solaris box (E10K at Visa) I wasn't
> granted the root password.
> 
> Your attitude is the same one I find objectionable in websites which
> mandate specific tools, plugins, or user-agent strings for access.
> They're broken.  They turn away a fair bit of traffic.  The requirements
> are very nearly always bogus:  there's no functional reason a lower bar
> can't be offered.
> 
> 
> 
> > > > Does the fact that bz2 isn't installed on most proprietary Unix or
> > > > Windows make .bz2 a 'non Unix native' date format? Nope, because you
> > > > can get tools to easily unpack a bz2 on Soalris, Windows, etc. As you
> > > > can with RPM.
> > >
> > > bz2 is a general compression format, not a specific package archive
> > > format.  7zip (IIRC, on the GnuWin II disk) handles this.
> > 
> > > I'd _still_ argue against using bz2 in general
> > 
> > Of course - you're aginst formats that aren't available on other
> > systems in the default installs. 
> 
> If my goal is interoperability with others, I'll stick with tools known
> to be interoperable.  Several generations behind state-of-the-art.
> 
> If I'm downloading large files over dialup, I'll damned sure use bz2 if
> I have it available to me.
> 
> 
> > Last time I checked, 7zip wasn't included with Windows. I have no idea
> > why you mentioned it.
> 
> I mentioned it because it _is_ both freely and generally _availble_, if
> not installed by default.  As contrasted with RPM.
> 
> 
> > If the existence of 7zip  makes bz2 'half ok' then why doesn't it make
> > RPM - 7zip works with that too...?
> 
> I wasn't aware of this.
> 
> Not having 7zip in front of me, I'm not able to assess this.
> 
> Note that RPM _remains_ a binary format subject to incompatible change
> over time (and it has).
> 
> 
> > > I'd _still_ argue against using bz2 in general because it _is_ new
> > > enough not to be generally supported.
> > 
> > Fine. I make a point of running a network 
> 
> Joe sixpack isn't "running a network".  He or she has the tools
> available to him, generally on installation.  While this is generally
> less true of GNU/Linux users, it's still not a good reason to impose 
> complex systems requirements and dependencies (referring to RPM).
> 
> 
> > where its easy to get the software I need to handle the task, and find
> > formats like RPM and bz2 fine. You prefer to have formats the are
> > available in the default installs of non-Linux Operating Systems.
> > 
> > Just don't try and justify our difference of opinion with dumb
> > assumptions. 
> 
> Ditto.
> 
> 
> 
> Peace.
> 
> -- 
> Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
>  What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
>     I'll stop calling this Administration "Orwellian" when they stop
>     using 1984 as an operations manual
>     - J. Bradforth DeLong, on Bush           http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/
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-- 
"I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs, or Unix for everyone but they work for me."
Jim Thompson (jthomp@central.sun.com), paraphrasing Hunter S.Thompson in 1988




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