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Re: Hidden dependencies?

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Andy Dougherty
October 2, 2003 12:37
Re: Hidden dependencies?
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On Wed, 1 Oct 2003, Sam Vilain wrote:

> Personally I think all software should accept such control scripts for
> inclusion into their source distributions.  They're extremely small,
> and a part of the software that is needed for seamless installation by
> the user / automated utilities.  Compared to maintaining C
> compatibility, maintaining the package control directories is a
> doddle.

Maintaining them is "a doodle" only if you know that particular packaging
system, the underlying OS or distribution requirements and/or
expectations, and have a ready means to test changes.  Surely someone
associated with the distribution is in a better position to do those

Still, if someone wants to generate *and promise to maintain* such scripts
for various distributions, I have no philosophical objection to including
them in some sort of contrib/ directory in the perl source.  However, I
wouldn't advise anyone to make such a promise.  Here's one good reason
why:  Perl releases occur infrequently.  Suppose such a script had been
included in 5.8.0.  Would it have been reasonable to assume that
distribution packaging policies and expectations for all the included
scripts would not change in the 14 months between the release of 5.8.0 and
5.8.1?  I really doubt it.

As a final source of confusion, the infrastructure surrounding such
control scripts must be able to handle at least these two separate cases

    1.  The user wishes to *replace* the existing perl distribution.
    2.  The user wishes to install an *additional* perl version (e.g. in
        /usr/local, or a version with threads, or wherever).

That's hard to do well.

> The joy of being able to download a source distribution and just type
> "dpkg-buildpackage -b -uc -rfakeroot" in its source, and have it work,
> is almost matched by the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you can *both*
> use new software, _and_ keep everything on your system installed via
> its Packaging system.

Right now, you can download the debian/rules file for perl from your
favorite debian mirror and use that.

    Andy Dougherty

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