[CONSPIRE] Installing software from source on Linux?

Dan Martinez dfm at razorwind.org
Thu Oct 27 22:09:24 PDT 2005

Dan Bikle wrote:

> On my Mac though,
> I've found a utility-website (http://darwinports.org/) which wraps the
> above sequence
> with a nice command called 'port'.

'port' owes its name and its mode of operation to the venerable
'ports' system of FreeBSD, which gave many users their introduction to
the idea of meta-packaging: describe the packages and their locations,
as well as their prerequisites, then fetch the sources and build the
packages on demand.

> So, does Linux have anything like this 'port' utility?

'Linux' is too broad a term in this context; different distributions
take differing approaches. Red Hat and its many derivatives (inlcuding
White Box) have traditionally used RPM.

The Debian distribution uses its own packaging system, regarding which
someone more versed in it than I will have to comment.

The Gentoo Linux distribution uses a system heavily influenced by
ports, and named 'portage' accordingly. Some users think Gentoo is the
greatest thing since sliced bread, while others grumble about its
tendency to build everything from scratch, given the chance. (I'm
rather fond of it myself, but I can see how someone might balk at its
approach for production use.)

I can't think of a reason why it should be outright impossible to
install and run portage atop another distribution, but I've never
tried it.

> I'm aware of rpm but I'm not sure it is all that smart at helping
> me install files which I might be dependent on.

Historically, it hasn't, but I should confess that I fled the Red Hat
family of distributions about two years ago, so my knowledge is out of
date. My understanding is that rpm has to some degree been superseded
by yum, which, while it does not build software from scratch, does
perform dependency resolution when fetching and installing requested
prebuilt packages.

You should have all statements in the preceding sentence vetted by
someone with recent Red Hat experience, however.

I hope this partial answer helps.


More information about the conspire mailing list