portage vs yum

Peter Gordon peter at thecodergeek.com
Wed Jun 27 22:59:47 UTC 2007

Patrice Dumas wrote:
> There are certainly also many other determinants to the number of
> packages available. But without looking at the reasons why there is
> a given number of packages, it is roughly:
> time to do a package * number of packager * time devoted per packager
> (the three terms are correlated, and the first one depends on the
> package so that's not a simple mean).

I agree. However, I feel that a source-based system such as Portage is much
less developer-friendly. For example, when I create a VM and use it to test
my packages for an earlier release before I submit them to the build system,
I know for certain that I am running the _exact_ same binaries as my users
will be: same code paths, same compilation options, same library dependencies,
same drivers, et al. This means that when I test it, I know for certain that
my package will function on end-users' computers exactly as it does in my
testing. When something goes wrong and someone posts a bug report, I can
more precisely reproduce the backtrace or any other appropriate issue.

On the other hand, Gentoo's USE flags, compilation settings, optional
dependencies, and linker flag combinations (among other build choices) mean
that a Gentoo maintainer cannot ever fully test his package, as he cannot be
sure what options the end-user will have enabled or not. (I remember a thread
discussing something similar on the gentoo-dev mailing list not long ago.
I don't remember who said it, but one of the developers posted that, with
all combinations of _only_ USE flags , the amount of package combinations
possible was something like 1000 times larger than the estimated age of the
universe in seconds. Quite drastic, sure; but I wouldn't be surprised if that
really were the case...)

Of course, there are those among users who rebuild their system or various
component packages of it differently than what is shipped "by default" in
Fedora; but they are likely much more sparse than those of Gentoo, and
capable of tweaking other packages as needed to suit their systems. :)
Peter Gordon (codergeek42)
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