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Re: [seul-sci] RPM/DEB repository of scientific software?

"Pete St. Onge" wrote:
> With the recent discussion about the creation of a scientific distro, a few
> of us have talked about the need for packages (RPM and DEB) for existing
> scientific software.
> Thus far, it seems like most existing software is only available in source
> form. While this presents little problem for experience Linux users and Unix
> users in general, the work needed to compile a program often seems daunting
> to new users.
> To this end, I propose that, before thinking seriously about creating a
> scientific Linux distribution, seul-sci should focus on (a) finding apps in
> need of packaging, and (b) creating the packages themselves and them making
> them available here at SEUL and elsewhere.
> Once we have a list of packages ready, then it's easier to evaluate whether
> or not a scientific distro is appropriate (especially if the RedHats and
> Debians of the world will include the packages in their own distros)
> I'll be putting up a page on the sci site in the next few days to hold this
> list. Those interested in creating the packages or teaching others how to
> make packages are welcome to pitch in.

The idea sounds good, but is difficult to accomplish. Some Linux/Unix systems
are using XFree86-3.6, others Xfree86-4.0, and often different incompatible
versions of the GNU C compiler and the LIBC library are used too. And packages
often require other packages, which are not included in the Linux distro (or
at least in the wrong version).
So you quite often download a big binary RPM of a program, which doesn't runs
afterwards on your computer.
I have no solution for this problem. Personally i prefer building everything
from sources, which has a much higher success rate. I am using FreeBSD since
the end of 99, and made good experiences with their Ports collection.

A similiar scheme for linux and/or AUTOMAKE/AUTOCONF/LIBTOOL for making the
compilation and installation process easier would be/are steps in the right
direction (at least for me, but i am a experienced user:) 
Best regards,

email: norbert.irmer@heim9.tu-clausthal.de
web: http://gul.sourceforge.net