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Re: SEUL: Package format

> Please no new package-system. We already have .tar.gz and .rpm, and 
> prviders will not like the idea to provide their programs in 3 formats. 

We also have .deb. Many people say that .deb is superior technically
while the .rpm tools are superior with regard to simplicity of use.
There is also a tool, named alien, which converts other
package formats to .deb--as far as I know.

I did not use the .rpm's but I use Debian. I don't know how the
.rpm packages are maintained. The reason I `switched' to debian 
(from slackware) is the following:

Dependencies among packages come in many flavours and are frequently
subtle. For example, let's take a small package named `hyperlatex'
a kind of (la)texinfo for html & latex. In order to use it
you have to have emacs installed. You should also have latex.
Nevertheless, one of its features---converting PS graphical insets
in the LaTeX doc into gif IMGs in the html result---is a desirable
option to have, and it involves pbmplus and ghostscript.

Now, these dependencies, some mandatory in order for the package to work
at all, some desirable in order to use the package to its full potential,
cannot be known by simply running the ldd command for example. Somebody
who knows the package and used it (and likes it) must undertake to
identify the nature of dependencies and to embed this knowledge into
the package system. This way, the user will be sure to have a working
set of packages, without an unknown number subtle disfunctionalities,
whatever she chooses to install, uninstall, reinstall and so on.

How can such a set of packages be achieved? There are two prerequisites:
a package system which allows the description and automatic/manual use
of these complex dependencies, and a large number of people who undertake
to chase the versions of the various programs available on the nat and 
ensure that each of them will work in the context.

The Debian project did just that: a definitive (I think) package
dependencies system, better (I hear) then that in RH, and a community
of `package developers' on the Internet (a few hundreds of them)
who chase the evolution of individual packages and take care of
everything working, each one for the package in his care.

I don't think we are going to do all this work better in parralel with
them, or that it is good to start all over again.

The problem with Debian is the relative intricacy of the dselect
utility (with which you choose the packages to install). If a better
interface to dselect is provided, especially one that deals with
collections of packages, based on a dialog with the user that
does not involve technical terms, I think we can achieve
out goal faster and better.

NB. I am sure that everything regarding Debian is GPL-ed.

This is why I propose to settle for Debian.

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