On Debian and Fedora experiences

Matej Cepl mcepl at redhat.com
Fri Dec 1 15:21:34 UTC 2006

Linus Walleij scripst:

> On Thu, 30 Nov 2006, Matej Cepl wrote: So you're a developer that have
> broad experience with both RPMs/yum and .deb/apt.
> At some point it would be interesting to get some of your thoughts on
> how Debian and Fedora differs in thinking, technology and package
> process sort of to widen our views a bit.

Couple of notes, and I could happily answer any questions:

1) It seems to me that Debian (probably because of its size and totally
decentralized character) is much more beraucraitc -- Fedora seems to be
still place of "hacky hackers", which I prefer of course (but this is not
meant as criticism of Debian, their size and decentralization have another
2) Of course, size -- it was said that Linux program which is not in
Debian repositories probably is not interesting enough to be there. It is
not 100% true, but it was hard for me to find programs which would be
important and yet not part of Debian. It is much more simple to achieve
that with Fedora (although I haven't met any one which I would need
personally -- and I am working on packages for couple of these which I
think would be useful).
3) Building of RPM packages rocks! I tend to be suspicous to file
dependencies, but so far I haven't experienced any RPM-dependency-hell
events yet (having mostly packaged software though), but multiple sources,
one file spec, macros etc. makes building of packages really much more
enjoyable thing.
4) On the other hand, rpm/yum as package managers sucks rocks, they really
do! I really cannot believe that program which is not alpha version (how
old rpm is?) requires its users to do things like rm -f
/var/lib/rpm/__db*. Yes, I know that rpm is unmaintained (well, that's
even one more issue I have against it), but somebody should work on that
soon. rpm/yum combo is slow as mollases (yes, I know about yum makecache,
but it is still so far behind apt-get/aptitude update -- have you ever
heard about differential updates -- http://tinyurl.com/ylvv9r and
http://tinyurl.com/yhwlb6). I am fan of python, but maybe this kind of job
is better done by C/C++?
	Not only that I am really missing aptitude (for those who don't know --
ncurses based frontend for apt-get, which allows browsing, searching,
installation, upgrades, anything you want to do with your packages, plus
it is able to remeber which packages were installed just to satisfy
dependencies, so when they are not needed they are automatically removed
as well). I know about apt-rpm, but aptitude still doesn't work with it --
mornfall (aka Peter Rockai aka prockai<at>redhat<dot>com) is working but
so far without much success AFAIK. Don't even think about comparing it to
pirut/pup -- that's like comparing Porsche to Trabant (for Americans --
imagine Yugo built from plastic -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant).

That's all what just went through my mind,


http://www.ceplovi.cz/matej/blog/, Jabber: ceplma<at>jabber.cz
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