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Old 03-03-2004, 06:48 PM   #1
busbarn
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arch vs. gentoo vs. slackware (pacman vs. emerge vs. swaret)


I have been running gentoo on my system for over a year. I really like it. I love their documentation, their forums, and emerge is wonderful. However, I am beginning to tire of always having to compile programs. Yes, everything is optimized for my system, but in the big scheme of things, does it make that big of a difference? The available binary packages for gentoo are just not as up to date as their ebuilds. I don't have the technical know it all to make my own ebuilds. I was just wanting some input from all of you arch users to see if this is worth my while.

***NOTE***
I installed gentoo and have worked through a lot of issues. I don't want suggestions for other distros with easy installs or any of that business. I would just like to have a nice discussion about pacman vs. emerge.
***END NOTE***


Question 1
#emerge -up system
#emerge -up world

The --pretend flag in emerge is very useful because I've borked my system by blindly updating world. Is there any way to --pretend a pacman installation so you can see what it will install or uninstall?without really installing it?

Question 2
Is making your own ABS build as easy as the documentation says it is?

Question 3
When pacman updates the system, does it automatically update configuration files? I'm very familiar with etc-update in gentoo, and how you can merge old and new files, replace the old with the new, or scrap the old one and keep what you have. Is there anything like this in pacman? It's nice to be all gung ho about updating until fstab gets overwritten. I know that you can protect files, put doesn't that pose a problem with headers or something like that?

Last edited by busbarn; 04-02-2004 at 03:18 PM.
 
Old 03-03-2004, 08:04 PM   #2
rberry88
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Well I have been using Gentoo and Arch under my Fedora install for a few months now and really like them both for different reasons. I like Gentoo because of portage, you can pull up a list of all the programs that you can install by going to /usr/portage/ and doing "ls". In Arch, with Pacman, there really is no viewable list like this, you can go to www.archlinux.org and they have all the packages listed by repository (stable, unstable, extra etc) and then just type pacman -S programname to install it. So I would give the slight edge to Gentoo and portage here.

The next issue is updating. I have found emerge -U world/system to be very effective with Gentoo, but, like you said it doesn't take care of updating config files for you (automatically), you have to run etc-update or the one I like config-update and carefully update the ones that need updating. If you are new to linux then this can be quite cumbersome in your attempts to keep your system up to date AND running. Arch with Pacman, on the other hand, handles all the config files for you and if there are new versions that it suggests that are required then it will save the new file with an extension of .pacsave (for example: if it updates your fstab file but it is not critical and your current one will suffice then it will add a second fstab file to your /etc directory but it shows as fstab.pacsave) This takes a ton of headaches out of your life and is a welcome addition to the pacman system. I would give Arch and Pacman the edge here for the config file handling.

Overall I think both distros are very good so I guess I might be the wrong person to be answering this if you want a better idea of the cons for Arch but I don't think you'll be disappointed with it. Plus its free so giving it a try isn't going to cost you anything but your time.

rberry88
 
Old 03-03-2004, 09:01 PM   #3
busbarn
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Thank you very much for your input. I haven't utilized the search function too much in portage. I just do an emerge -p whateverpackage to see if it exists and what the dependencies are.

I guess this leads me to another question. How are the packages? I tried slackware a while ago and found some of the packages at www.linuxpackages.net were poorly put together and didn't work very well. I have never had a problem with a compiled package on gentoo--if it compiles, it works. And I really like that. Have you found that the packages are maintained and appropriately built?
 
Old 03-03-2004, 10:04 PM   #4
slakmagik
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Not trying to be a Slackware zealot, especially as it isn't relevant, but I just thought I'd mention that linuxpackages is just stuff posted by folks that has nothing to do with Slackware. I agree they're often subpar. Gentoo's packages are part of the distro and the 'quality assurance' part of Gentoo is checking those. So linuxpackages doesn't have anything to do with Slackware as a distro. You may well know this, but the casual reader viewing this might not, so I thought I'd mention it.

As far as emerge/pacman, I never used Arch - just tried a Live-CD and wasn't impressed. Regarding Gentoo, I never really tried to master the system. Had a few compiles bomb and it seemed very difficult and... remote... to straighten it out. So I don't care for any of the pacman/emerge/apt-get things, really. I mean, your distro gives the major stuff and all the basic utilities. Then I compile a few of my own apps or even grab a binary for them. Done. Sometimes it seems like all people do is install app after app after app. It's not that big of a deal, really. For security updates, I check the Slack notices and grab the packages direct. Not all is roses there - one package suddenly decided it needed a dependency it didn't before. But, still, Slack's packaging is generally good and having elaborate package management systems seems like overkill. Checkinstall!

That said, when it works, emerge is fun. Sorry for barely being on topic, if at all.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 12:37 AM   #5
busbarn
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Is checkinstall slackware's default package system? I had trouble with it when I was toying with slack. It's just nice when I want to try a program out (like gaim) and decide I don't like it (kopete works better for me) it's nice to just type emerge -C gaim and have it done with. make uninstall or whatever is just too much for me--i don't understand it clearly enough to make heads and tales of it. I'll give the arch live cd a go and see. Overall though, I haven't liked any live cds--even knoppix. BUt that's way off topic.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 01:15 AM   #6
slakmagik
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Yeah - you're right there - being able to 'emerge foo' and then dump it - it's easy to try stuff out.

As far as Slack, the default package manager is 'pkgtool' which is actually a front end for several tools. Basically it's 'installpkg' and 'removepkg'. But that's for binaries. Checkinstall isn't *quite* part of the distro - it's offered in /extras, I believe. It's for source compiles and what it does is substitute for 'make install' - you './configure; make; checkinstall' instead. And it just creates a Slackware package out of the source compile - then you remove it like a normal binary with 'removepkg', but it's integrated into the list of installed stuff in /var/log/packages. (It can also be used on rpm systems.) And, while I haven't used any of them, there's a lot of tools like swaret that serve as a kind of apt-get or emerge for Slack, in that they grab packages or sources (I believe) and do some dependency checking and so on.

And, yeah, I don't like live CDs as far as to use - cool for emergencies or demos, but that's it. But of them, Knoppix is really good. I had to pass like 20 flags on the Arch disk to get it to boot after it bombed repeatedly. Knoppix was perfect and most others at least booted without any trouble, even if they had other issues.

Okay. Back to on-topic.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 01:28 AM   #7
rberry88
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I have a question for you guys, If you are going to try a new distro with the possibility of keeping it on your system then why do you mess with the LiveCD's?? Why not just download the ISO, clear some space on your hard drive and install the new distro and give the real deal a shot??? I've found that Live CD's of distros are good for a "take-on-the-go-and-use-when-Linux-isn't-available" type of situation but I've never liked installing them to my hard drive. Arch can be installed (base package) in about 10 minutes on an average machine and once booted to a text prompt, you can update it in however long it takes to download the packages. With Arch, you don't have to wait for the programs/files to be compiled on your computer before they are installed. Pacman just downloads them, checks the MD5 sums, checks dependencies and satisfies them and installs them with one quick swoop -- All this from "pacman -S programname" and your set. And a quick "pacman -Syu" checks your whole system for upgradable/updatable packages and lists everything it will do and you can either accept it or not.

If you were having to pass "like 20 flags" to get Arch to boot then you seriously screwed the pooch on your install, honestly, theres no reason to have to pass anymore than just maybe "hdx=ide-scsi" (older kernels) or maybe a "acpi=off" type of boot flag but anyothers would be user error and not distro error.

rberry88
 
Old 03-04-2004, 02:16 AM   #8
slakmagik
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An Arch advocate encouraged me to try the Live CD so I did.

I don't see how I could screw up 'insert disk; reboot'. I wasn't trying to install from a Live-CD. I was just trying to boot it.

It wasn't 20 - that wasn't meant to be taken seriously. Literally, I think it might have been five or six boots with different options and I don't recall what they were, so I can't really back that up.

I didn't mean to get into the conversation - just wanted to say linuxpackage packages weren't Slack's fault. All this distro talk is lost on me. I'm going to try LFS and maybe FreeBSD and then I'm done. Either I make my own Linux, don't even use Linux, or I use Slack.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 09:50 AM   #9
busbarn
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THanks for the input rberry88. Yeah, I couldn't even get the livecd to boot. Bummer. That's what I needed to know though--does pacman list what it's going to install before just doing it so that the user can see what's going on. Thanks for the input.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 11:32 AM   #10
rberry88
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Quote:
Originally posted by busbarn
THanks for the input rberry88. Yeah, I couldn't even get the livecd to boot. Bummer. That's what I needed to know though--does pacman list what it's going to install before just doing it so that the user can see what's going on. Thanks for the input.
Yes, pacman will list all the files that it has to upgrade/update and its up to you to select Y or N to tell it to go ahead or not.

rberry88
 
Old 03-04-2004, 01:11 PM   #11
busbarn
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So this is my understanding of pacman. (I know I should just install and play with it but I have to use parted to repartition some things. So until I can actually do it, I may as well just talke about it eh?)

#pacman -Sy is the same as #emerge sync

the -y option doesn't seem to be very intuitive. whate does y have to do with refresh?

#pacman -Syu is the same as #emerge -u system combined with #emerge -u world

I'm to assume that where portage has world and system seperated, that isn't the case with pacman? It's just a system wide update then?

Another, thought: have you tried to build your own packages?
 
Old 03-04-2004, 01:24 PM   #12
rberry88
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You pretty much got it nailed.

#pacman -Sy is the same as #emerge sync -- it updates the pacman repositories with all the latest builds of all programs and applications.

#pacman -Syu is the same as the combo of #emerge -u world/system.

The y in the above statements tells pacman to retrieve and update the repositories on your machine (database) so when you want to install a package the database will already be updated.

The S tells pacman to "install" - whether it be a program or updates to the repositories.

Here is a website (official ArchLinux.or) that tells of the usage of Pacman:

http://www.archlinux.org/docs/en/faq...00000000000000

Building your own packages is pretty simple in Arch, it uses the abs (cvsup) application and is quite automated, there is a tutorial on how easy it is in the forums over at www.archlinux.org .

rberry88

Last edited by rberry88; 03-04-2004 at 01:26 PM.
 
Old 03-04-2004, 02:23 PM   #13
busbarn
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I was reading the documentation as I posted so I was aware of it. Thanks though. Of all the letters to choose for a shortcut to --refresh, it boggles my mind why the developers chose -y. It just seems silly to me. Well, I guess if I can figure parted out then I will give it a go and see what happens. Gentoo has just turned into such a huge project--it's so well documented and supported. I just wish they would be more up to date with their grp packages, or even binary packages for those that don't want to compile.
 
Old 03-05-2004, 11:01 AM   #14
busbarn
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Well I borked my gub file somehow installing arch and now I can't boot. See this thread that I started about it. At least the install was fast and easy. It did a good job of setting up default fstab and rc.conf.
 
Old 03-22-2004, 08:32 AM   #15
BigBadPenguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by rberry88
Well I have been using Gentoo and Arch under my Fedora install for a few months now and really like them both for different reasons. I like Gentoo because of portage, you can pull up a list of all the programs that you can install by going to /usr/portage/ and doing "ls". In Arch, with Pacman, there really is no viewable list like this, you can go to www.archlinux.org and they have all the packages listed by repository (stable, unstable, extra etc) and then just type pacman -S programname to install it. So I would give the slight edge to Gentoo and portage here.
I know this is a long time ago, but I just thought you might be interested that pacman -Sl <repository> will list all the packages in a repository (and then you can get descriptions with pacman -Si <package>) or you can go to /var/lib/pacman and browse available packages from there. Arch owns!
 
  


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