[CONSPIRE] Installing software from source on Linux?

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Thu Oct 27 23:29:40 PDT 2005

On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 23:09:24 -0700, Dan Martinez wrote:

> 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.

If DarwinPorts <http://darwinports.org/> was so much more to your liking
than Fink <http://fink.sf.net/>, I think you might be happier dumping
Linux in favor of FreeBSD, or at the very least dumping WhiteBox in favor
of Gentoo. Fink uses the very same "dpkg" system for managing installed
software as Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.

>> 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.

As I've mentioned, the packaging system used in Debian and its many
derivatives is called dpkg, and it is compatible with RPM in the same way
that English nuts and bolts are compatible with metric ones.

> 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.

That isn't RPM's job in an RPM-based distribution, much like it isn't
dpkg's job in a Debian-based distribution. In a Debian-based distribution,
that is the job of "apt" or the Advanced Package Tool, which is a layer
that exists above dpkg, but can also exist above RPM in the same way. Two
alternatives to APT on RPM-based systems are the "yum" and "up2date"
programs. Fedora Core and its derivatives, such as WhiteBox, provide all
three, but one should choose from among them and stick with that choice.

> 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.

Right, and the internal-combustion engine was superseded by the Model-T
Ford. There is a very not-bad-at-all front end to yum available called
yumex. Also, SuSE Linux now provides the YaST front end to APT. This
discussion began with the configure/make/make install method, which NEVER
helps you with any dependency issues, and should be handled in much the
same manner as plutonium.

> You should have all statements in the preceding sentence vetted by
> someone with recent Red Hat experience, however.
> I hope this partial answer helps.

I hope my less partial answer is more informative and chuckle-provoking.

More information about the conspire mailing list