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RPM dependancy hell - past?

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Many of us probably remember the old "dependancy hell" often associated with RPM based distros due to their poor management of dependancies. It was happening when you download an individual RPM package that had alot of other dependancies, and by downloading it you didn't know which other packs to download inevitably ending up running the RPM file numerous times every time getting a message saying that this or that dependancy is missing and then going to search and download it.

Infact, this could happen with debian packages as well, but apparently RPM's just missed an universal tool like apt-get to, when coupled with repositories, handle all this automatically.

However, I've heard there are now tools like yum and apt2rpm. Does that end the "dependancy hell" story? Are RPM based distros much better off in that area today than they were before?

I would really like to know cause I might be trying a RPM based distro after a good deal of time actually staying away from them.

Thanks
Daniel

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20

The only time you run into dependency hell is if the package you want isn't in a repo you have.

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Joined: 2005-12-18

I have been using PCLinuxOS for quite some time now. It is RPM based and uses apt as a package manager with Synaptic as a default frontend.

I have even installed some generic rpms and some Mandriva rpms (using rpm command). They all got nicely registered under "Installed (local or obsolete)" section in Synaptic where they can be uninstalled, so I believe that apt nicely handles these rpms and their dependencies.

All upgrades were seamless and so far packaging system seems bullet-proof. There were even some large upgrades (few kernel, xorg and kde upgrades) that were all flawless.

So far I have been extremely satisfied with PCLinuxOS and its packaging system and rpm hell looks like something from distant past (Rpm hell? What is that? Ah, yes, I remember...).

By the way, rpms that aren't in PCLinuxOS repository can be requested on PCLinuxOS forums and they are usually added in a day or two - kudos to PCLinuxOS packagers.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

It's really great to hear that considering RPM-based distros are among the most popular ones, especially for new users..

After reading what you said stojic I'd really like to try PCLinuxOS.. maybe that's what I'm gonna try first in my comeback to RPM distros. Smiling

Quote:

a_thing wrote:
The only time you run into dependency hell is if the package you want isn't in a repo you have.

Yes, that was actually the way it was, but there were still universal tools missing (like apt-get). It was only some distro-specific tools like Mandriva's urpmi (if I remember correctly), but that still didn't cut it. It worked best for installing from CD's, but it was hard to find a suitable repository and we have therefore been forced to chase individual RPMs.. Now that seems to be changed.

Besides PCLinuxOS, what other RPM distro would you recommend? What are the experiences with package management in Fedora Core for example?

Thanks
Daniel

Anonymous

If you don't mix extras or Livna with RPMForge, Fedora's fine. I suggest using Smart instead of YUM. The only thing I've noticed better about Smart is that it used a downgraded package that didn't depend on the package I was removing once, so I still had a version of the package that depended on the one being removed.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
"Anonymous" wrote:

If you don't mix extras or Livna with RPMForge, Fedora's fine. I suggest using Smart instead of YUM. The only thing I've noticed better about Smart is that it used a downgraded package that didn't depend on the package I was removing once, so I still had a version of the package that depended on the one being removed.

Whoops that was me.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

I've been a happy Suse user for a few years now. Ever since 9.0, which is when I pretty much began using Suse, I've installed apt4rpm and never really experienced this dependency hell that others speak of. Only time I ever got annoyed at RPMs is when I tried updating to unstable KDE 3.2 under Suse 9.0.

With the release of Suse 10.0, both APT and YUM come bundled along with the install discs, so I don't even have to manually get apt4rpm from the net. If I am missing a package, I just apt it. Hasn't caused me any grief, so I'm happy. Smiling

That of course doesn't mean that RPM based distributions have better package management than say Debian or Gentoo. I sure want to try them sometime and see how for example source-based package management feels like. However, back to RPM dependency hell, can't say I've experienced it and that it has annoyed me.

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Joined: 2006-10-12
RPM dependancy hell - past?

I could not make reasonable judgment about RPM-hell because of the number of distributions using RPM and mileage may vary by distribution. I have experienced mixed results in the past. However, I went over to Debian a long time ago.

However this link might be of interest to you - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPM_Package_Manager.

In the Debian world, it is aptitude that is the program to manage your packages. Aptitude supports two-way dependency tracking (see - http://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/your-debian-aptitude): "That is, if you install package A which requires package B, then remove package A, aptitude will check to see if anything else you've installed recently requires B. If not, it will let you know that B is now a waste of disk space and will be removed...."

So the point of comparison is, is there an rpm package manager that support two-way dependency tracking. If not then Debian is still out in front of the pack.

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Joined: 2006-03-28
Well, at the time this post

Well, at the time this post was originally written I was using LFS. Talk about dependency-hell with RPM- or DPkg-Packages and I show you somebody who's never compiled something big, like KDE.

Anyway, the way it is now I would pretty much say that this time is over now. Just look at Fedora. With yum you can easily install stuff you want. It's at least as easy as apt and also works fine when you download packages from outside the repository, in my case this, for example, is the lightscribe-software.

So, overall I cannot say that this problem still exists, and for the time before I switched to Fedora I cannot really tell as I used to install stuff from source, which in any case sends you into a hell much worse than RPM ever could.

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