Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 14th Sep 2002 22:44 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE From SuSE Linux 8.1 on, YaST2 comes with a new, powerful package manager. It supersedes the classic YaST2 single package selection and integrates the YaST Online Update (YOU) and post-installation add-on selection at the same time. It lays the foundation for supporting multiple installation sources like a traditional set of SuSE CDs, add-on product CDs, patch CDs, FTP servers or even local directories - all of which may contain software packages to install. Specially optimized versions were implemented for both graphical user interface (the YaST2 Qt UI) or text interface (the YaST2 NCurses UI), providing each type of user with the tool that best fits his needs. Read more for the commentary.
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APT ...
by Rob on Sun 15th Sep 2002 08:37 UTC

All this crap about APT.

Do this for me from your Debian box, without sacrificing your legendary Debian stability:

apt-get install xfree86-4.2.1
apt-get install gnome2
apt-get install kde-3.0.3

Is APT a good tool? Sure. It's a good tool for dealing with packages sanctioned by and CREATED by Debian's maintainers.

What good is it when you want to use current software? In the Windows world, if you're using SomeApp-1.0 and SomeApp-1.1 comes out, you just download the executable, install it, and off you go. Do you have to reboot? Maybe, but you DO NOT have to compile the stuff yourself, sort out god knows what libraries, break 50% of your system to get this one damned app to run because it was built with some pre-release version of GCC that never should have seen the light of day.

And when was the last time you installed a Windows package that didn't put a link on the Start menu? When was the last time you installed a linux package NOT packaged by/for your distro that DID? If this wasn't a problem, I don't think KAppfinder and "update-menus" would exist, now would they?

I LOVE Linux. I'm _typing_ this from Linux, but for God's sake, just because you like something doesn't mean you put on blinders and lie to yourself and everyone else who'll listen about your favorite pet product! If we all did that, nothing would ever get fixed would it? Repeat after me:

"I can be loyal to Linux without having to pretend it has no flaws whatsoever. I can enjoy Linux while at the same time admitting it is not perfection rendered in machine language."

So, tell me ... what is APT, really? It's crap. URPMI is crap. SuSE's new package manager is crap. So is Red Hat's. They are GOOD tools that do, for the most part, exactly what they are supposed to do. So how are they STILL crap? Simple, because that is precisely what they have to work with: crap.

So when you defend APT, what you're saying is, "APT is a wonderful tool that will install everything I want, even fix the bloody dependencies, AS LONG AS I DON'T STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX." How many of you Debian users are running "unofficial" debs for things like KDE and GNOME? How many of you worry that it's going to break your system at some point? One day "apt-get upgrade" is going to choke, gag, and send you scurrying for a rescue CD.

That is wrong. It's not Debian's fault. For what it does, APT is exceptional. URPMI is also very nice (I'm using it now, in the background, to sync my Mandrake 9.0 installation with Cooker). But they are, as Eugenia said, just pretty tools slapped onto an ugly problem.

You guys totally missed my point. ANYONE can reasonably expect to write a Win32 program, package it, and have it install on Windows98SE, WinME, Win2k, XP Pro/Home ... and unless they have done something really really stupid it will "just work".

I guess none of you Debian users recall the XFree86 4.2.0 flamewars, huh? APT is NOT as simple as a Windows package install. Period. If it was, you could just go grab the source tarballs from and throw KOffice-1.2 and KDE-3.0.3 on your Debian box, right? If those were Windows packages, you could reasonably expect to do just that.

If you want an example, pick a distribution that does NOT ship AbiWord 1.02.

Now, sit a series of Windows boxes next to this Linux machine, also not running AbiWord 1.02.

For the Linux machine:

Download the source. Hunt down any dependencies, update whatever libraries you need to (and hope you don't kill 10 other things in the process). Maybe make a few symlinks to KEEP from killing unrelated things. Figure out whether or not you have the build environment AbiWord needs: automake, autoconf, etc. Start the compile. Cross your fingers. Did it fail? Start over. Better luck next time. Maybe if you drop back to GCC 2.95 instead of GCC 3.2 ...

For the Windows machines: Download one copy of the AbiWord Win32 executable. Click a few times to get it installed; while the Linux box is still compiling start typing your new novel or whatever.

And before you flame me, or make well thought out remarks like, "You're a Microsoft shill, everyone knows Windows sucks, how much are they payin you??" ... Bear in mind, I don't use Windows. Period. I've been Linux-only for some time now. But, like I said, coating the problem with sugar and pretending it isn't there at all does NOTHING for Linux. Hell, in the end, it HURTS it.

Linux is fractured. Why do projects like AbiWord put out a single executable for Windows (98/ME/2K/XP) and a source tarball for Linux? Sure, there are RPMs for a couple of the big distros. But there shouldn't HAVE TO BE. THAT is the point.

People always bitch and whine about a lack of hardware vendor support for Linux. Go look at nVidia's website.
You can count the executables for Windows (ALL versions) on one hand. Now look at the Linux page. Just to support recent versions of Red Hat, Mandrake, and SuSE there are ALMOST FIFTY PACKAGES.

To support Windows (over NINETY PERCENT) of its userbase, nVidia has to release 3 packages: NT4, 98/ME, 2K/XP. So to support a TINY fraction of its userbase, nVidia must take the time to maintain almost 50 pacakges. And then we BITCH contstantly because the drivers aren't "free".

So you guys should get off Eugenia's back. Even if SuSE's new package manager is the greatest RPM manager of all time, it'll still suck, since it's nothing more than an attempt to make an ugly problem less visible without addressing the problem itself at all.