Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Mon 11th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews A few weeks ago, we asked for the OSNews community to help with some questions we were going to ask Aaron Griffin from the Arch Linux team, and the response was glorious and somewhat phenomenal. We added those questions to our own and sent them on over, and then we were surprised by receiving not only Aaron Griffin's responses but answers from various individuals from the team.
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Arch gives dependecy hell new meaning...
by sc3252 on Mon 11th Jan 2010 16:53 UTC
Member since:

I haven't read the whole interview yet, I will get to that a little later, but I have to say this distro does give new life into dependency hell. I enjoy using the distro, but the x64 build has less than the optimal amount of applications in it, so they point you to AUR which are user made applications for arch. Only problem sometimes is that one application could require 10+ dependencies or more, with many times those dependencies branching out. For example I will use wine since it is the most recent example I can think of.

So you start installing the package using pacman and aur and you hit a snag saying you need a dependency, first thing you do is there are a list of dependencies on that webpage it says you need, so you download the one missing and it will then tell you that you need a dependency for that dependency(or 3, which these can branch out further). This can go on for a while 10+ once, and one time there wasn't even an end(meaning no one made the package).

This seems to be mostly an X64 problem though, so it might not be a big problem for most. Also I only really ran into it while trying to get wine going initially. So if someone that is knowledgeable in using Linux wants to give this Distro a try it is a very good and well made distribution, except for that slight annoyance that I ran into. The only problem I can think of is that everyone now only makes packages and designs everything for Ubuntu, so you get less packages that are easy to install and are mostly at the mercy of other users or your own time. Which is to say business as usual.

Reply Score: 3

Alxe Member since:

The example you said is kinda, well, annoying, as seems the WinE project doesn't have a real x64 support yet, and it depends on many other packages, that need their 32-bit version to work properly with wine.

The problem here isn't Arch, but the third party development, which is incomplete or has any other issue.

Reply Parent Score: 2

broch Member since:

that is what AUR and abs are for: edit PKGBUILD for your own liking.
I do this all the time when I want to cut down on dependencies or want to add/modify something

Reply Parent Score: 1

joekiser Member since:

To be fair, AUR is completely community driven. You will often find many versions of the same software, some of which doesn't even have an owner anymore. The biggest problem is finding what version everyone else is using. I realize that there is a tool called yaourt that makes AUR seamlessly integrate with pacman, but from the comments I've read it breaks more than it fixes.

I consider Arch's package management system (pacman) to be the best of any Linux distribution. Part of the reason is that it is flexible enough to allow you to decide which sub-packages you want to install. With KDEmod, for example, you can decide whether or not to install Konqueror (I don't), or whether you want Xine, Mplayer, Gstreamer, etc as a phonon backend. It's hard to explain in context to those who haven't used pacman, but the elegance of Arch's package management system dawned on me a few weeks ago when I was using FreeBSD ports (which until Arch, I had always considered the gold-standard). I was installing KDE (make config-recursive), and it was pulling in all sorts of dependencies (Samba, Gnome-vfs, Mozilla Firefox) that I had no clue what they were being used for. While other package management systems have may have gotten lazy with their dependencies, Pacman still emphasizes minimalism.

Reply Parent Score: 1

JMcCarthy Member since:

It's called yaourt.

Reply Parent Score: 3

cerbie Member since:

"So you start installing the package using pacman and aur (...)"

That's the first problem. You start using yaourt.

Dependencies sometimes don't work, but you only have to go get them, getting into dependency Hell, when the package in question is very broken.

Reply Parent Score: 5

wooptoo Member since:

You can always automatically build all those packages with yaourt.
Also, you can find bin32-wine and all its dependencies here:

Reply Parent Score: 2

darkcoder Member since:

Only problem sometimes is that one application could require 10+ dependencies or more, with many times those dependencies branching out. For example I will use wine since it is the most recent example I can think of.

The problem with your example above is that wine is a 32-bit app. and it requires a couple of 32-bit dependency packages. Since Arch 64-bit implementation is very lean, there are few (if any) 32-bit packages on it.

But like all of Arch, if you read the forums, you will get easy instructions, complete with community repos that allow you to install it in no time.

Wine32 dependencies are the same no matter the distribution (package name may differ, but same deps). Check on a Ubuntu, or Fedora and compare. But more important, why you want a 64-bit OS, to run a 32-bit wine, whith the extra 32-bit libraries, running side by side, taking double the memory?

Do you have more than 4 GB? Otherwise is a waste. Maybe a 32-bit OS is better for you.

Edit: typo

Edited 2010-01-12 15:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

cerbie Member since:

0. bin32-wine is 64-bit; wine is 32-bit.
1. 64-bit WINE will not run 32-bit Windows apps.
2. If you have more than 3.5GB, or more than 2.5GB, with a good video card, 64-bit is very handy, even before its other performance benefits come in.
3. Why should anyone be dictated what OS they should run, to use multiple layers of 3rd-party unsupported software?

Reply Parent Score: 2

darkcoder Member since:

It may or may not be an Arch x64 bit problem. But what Arch really tells you (and other hide from you) is that when you install wine under a 64-bit Linux box, you end up installing a lot of 32-bit dependencies, most of them Xorg libraries.

While x86_64 processors can run 32-bit code side by side without penalties, when you launch wine, you are loading a bloat of 32-bit Xorg libs with it, which makes it less efficient than runing wine on a pure 32-bit system.

The link bellow compares the same ubuntu edition with 32-bit and 64-bit. You will notice that games do not gain much of a performance, but server and encoding software do benefict from the change.

Like in my previous post, if you have more than 4 GB, or use some software that "really" use the 64-bit architecture, stay with a 64-bit Linux, otherwise a 32-bit edition is better for you.

And I'm not dictating, just telling some facts.

Edited 2010-01-12 18:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

benir0 Member since:

There are tools like yaourt that will resolve the dependencies in the aur. HTH

Reply Parent Score: 1