posted by Robert C. Dowdy on Tue 8th Oct 2002 02:36 UTC

"APT, Mp3 and DVD Playback - Part I"
Any time Linux package management is discussed, the often overstated horrors of "dependency hell" are a hotly debated topic. Any time dependency hell is being debated, the resident Debian users will invariably refer to Debian's own apt-get install simplicity. "Why use an RPM-based distribution when Debian's package management is so obviously superior?" the Debian supporters will ask. "Why use Debian when the software is old and out of date and you have to be a systems engineer just to install it?" comes the reply. The discussion generally deteriorates from there into the all-too-familiar "mine is bigger" vein that, well, all such discussions tend to deteriorate into.

With Psyche, your options are a bit more open than in previous versions of Red Hat Linux, where package management after the install was sorely lacking. For the first time, Red Hat has included a GUI package manager (separate from Red Hat Network) capable of adding and removing packages intelligently from the installation CDs. You can start it by opening up a command box and running redhat-config-packages or by pointing to Start Here -> System Settings -> Packages. For working with the packages on the official Red Hat CDs, this is a convenient and powerful tool. Once you step outside the box and start adding third-party packages, things get a bit more complicated. Thankfully, the folks at FreshRPMS have given us another option in the war against dependency hell: a full Red Hat 8.0 apt repository, including some very interesting custom packages created by FreshRPMS.

Setting Psyche up to work with apt and the FreshRPMS repository is simplicity itself. First, visit this page and click on the link for Red Hat 8.0. Grab the apt and apt-devel packages (you don't need the source [.src.rpm] rpm) and save them to your machine. Then open a terminal, switch to root user, and install the packages with:

rpm -ivh apt*

Once that's done:

cat /etc/apt/sources.list

You should see the following:

# Red Hat Linux 8.0

rpm redhat/8.0/en/i386 os updates freshrpms

rpm-src redhat/8.0/en/i386 os updates freshrpms

# Red Hat Linux 7.3

#rpm redhat/7.3/en/i386 os updates freshrpms

#rpm-src redhat/7.3/en/i386 os updates freshrpms

If everything looks good, we're ready to update our sources (as root user):

apt-get update

It should go without saying that this requires an active Internet connection. After issuing this command you should see a variety of messages scrolling past as apt connects to the FreshRPMS servers, logs in, and takes a look around. Once you're returned to the command prompt, assuming there were no errors, the full power of apt is at your disposal. (Be sure to type man apt or enter #apt into a command box or Konqueror's address bar to learn more about this powerful tool.)

First, let's make sure our Psyche installation is correctly set up to use apt. That is, we'll ask apt to make sure there are no broken dependencies or duplications in the RPM database that will keep apt from working.

apt-get -f install (think of the -f as fix)

As you might have guessed, this tells apt to verify your RPM database. It should do a bit of checking and exit with something similar to:

Reading Package Lists... Done

Building Dependency Tree... Done

0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 removed and 3 not upgraded.

If not, inspect the errors carefully and be very sure you know what you're doing before allowing apt to make any changes to your system. Since both of my installs thus far haven't produced any errors at this stage, I'm going to assume your installation was equally flawless.

Table of contents
  1. "Introduction"
  2. "Nvidia Drivers"
  3. "Fonts"
  4. "APT, Mp3 and DVD Playback - Part I"
  5. "APT, Mp3 and DVD Playback - Part II"
  6. "Yes, it is still KDE - Part I"
  7. "Yes, it is still KDE - Part II"
  8. "Red Hat Ambition, Modified KDE"
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