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Old 12-28-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
Ace Blackwell
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Why are Slack Builds needed for one of the original Linux Distros


I've only used Slackware or Ports in my short 2 year run with Linux. I've noticed something that has lead me to ask, if Slackware is one of the original Linux distros and has been and still is one of the most stable distros, then why aren't most packages written with Slackware in mind. It would seem to me that Slackware would be the standard that would be used when developing and testing new software. To the contrary, it seems the Slackware community and development team are constantly having to take the source code or tarball files and tailor them to work with Slackware. Or at least get them to work for those of us that aren't as programming minded. Does anyone know why this is or when it started happening

Not complaining, just curious.

Thanks
Ace

Last edited by Ace Blackwell; 12-28-2009 at 09:17 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:28 PM   #2
~sHyLoCk~
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Why slackware has limited no. of pre-built packages:
Well for one thing slackware isn't backed by a huge organisation, most distros are. The no. of developers are also limited.
Would it be different if Slackware was backed by a company such as canonical?
There may have been more packages in more repositories but that won't change how Slackware is made. There are lesser no. of packages simply because the userbase is lesser than ubuntu's or debian's. And frankly slackware contributors are also limited.You can do your part as well. Write slackbuilds and submit to slackbuilds.org, build custom packages like alienBob,rworkman and many other users like ponce and host them in your own repositories. But obviously officially they won't be ever included. We can learn a lot from Arch Linux. The userbase was miniscule a few years ago and now they have almost all packages you can think of. Thanks to the contributions of thousands of Archers in AUR, the unofficial user repo. Slackware needs such a common repo where we slackers can contribute our packages. I don't know if outsiders are allowed to contribute their packages in slacky.eu or linuxpackages, but there's a need for unofficial user repo if we want the number of Slackware packages and as well as userbase to grow.

Last edited by ~sHyLoCk~; 12-28-2009 at 10:16 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:33 PM   #3
mlangdn
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I've been a Slackware user since 7x. I am not a Slackware guru by any stretch of the imagination, but I do consider myself a competent Slackware user. That said, from my perspective, Slackware is an OS that provides all the tools necessary to build the behemoth machine of your desires. However, it is up to the user to do the necessary research for a desired result. This means finding and installing dependencies for a desired result. This is sometimes not easy, but is enlightening.

I've tried a lot of distros, but I have never been swayed to leave Slackware. The big reason is that if I can't find what I want in a package, I can build it myself. Sometimes, that has been a pain, but well worth the effort.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:48 PM   #4
GooseYArd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace Blackwell View Post
it seems the Slackware community and development team are constantly having to take the source code or tarball files and tailor them to work with Slackware. Or at least get them to work for those of us that aren't as programming minded. Does anyone know why this is or when it started happening

Not complaining, just curious.

Thanks
Ace
its the other way around- slackware packages almost never do anything other than the standard gnu autoconf steps, ./configure, make, make install. Few I've seen do more than changing the installation prefix and making a startup rc file.
 
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
~sHyLoCk~
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I agree with GooseYArd, besides this is the way we Slackers like it. I have used many other distro with giant repositories of available packages but still I have always came back to Slack, the reason is simple. I like it this way. I want control over my system and the packges I install.
 
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
GooseYArd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~sHyLoCk~ View Post
I want control over my system and the packges I install.
to be fair, its fairly trivial to adjust the behavior of rpm or deb packages as well, but the tools are a little more elaborate.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 11:04 PM   #7
~sHyLoCk~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GooseYArd View Post
to be fair, its fairly trivial to adjust the behavior of rpm or deb packages as well, but the tools are a little more elaborate.
Of course you can, but there are other factors as well. Like countless dependencies they force you to install even the optional dependencies! Or else the installation won't progress. Plus the unnecessary branding and patches are also quite irritating.
 
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
gnashley
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"slackware packages almost never do anything other than the standard gnu autoconf steps, ./configure, make, make install. Few I've seen do more than changing the installation prefix and making a startup rc file."

You really ought to have a long look through the Slackware sources before repeating this old myth. In fact, the base packages are the one which usually require the most 'finagling' to make them work for slackware or any other distro. Once you get into the extras, the above becomes more true.
 
Old 12-29-2009, 05:52 AM   #9
Josh000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~sHyLoCk~ View Post
Of course you can, but there are other factors as well. Like countless dependencies they force you to install even the optional dependencies! Or else the installation won't progress. Plus the unnecessary branding and patches are also quite irritating.
I agree the branding and patches can be annoying, but needing to install optional dependencies isn't something that slackware avoids.

A full install is recommended, and the packages are built with this in mind, which means simple standalone packages such as mplayer end up needing samba.

Not complaining, just pointing out what you said is not entirely accurate.
 
Old 12-29-2009, 06:04 AM   #10
XavierP
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All packages are, in fact, pre-built with Slack in mind. See those tarballs that you can get? They work on Slackware really well. debs and rpms are provided for the "other" distros" but all devs provide tarballs as a tip of the hat to Slackware. "The Man" prevents them from properly crediting Slack though. (shhh)
 
Old 12-29-2009, 06:44 AM   #11
allend
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Quote:
All packages are, in fact, pre-built with Slack in mind. See those tarballs that you can get? They work on Slackware really well. debs and rpms are provided for the "other" distros" but all devs provide tarballs as a tip of the hat to Slackware. "The Man" prevents them from properly crediting Slack though. (shhh)
ROFL
 
Old 12-29-2009, 07:07 AM   #12
Alexvader
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Hi Forum

IMHO, the fact that Slackware is a source distro, and most packages are source tarballs, which can be built with standard GNU toolchain, relieves us Slackware users from "dependency hell", and provides us with some sort of "fine grained" control when building a package one does not find in other distros

( Yo, ppl from Gentoo, and LFS I was sort of kidding, right...!? what I meant is that MOST distros will not allow that )

This is why the whole system "feels" snappier than binary based distros... like RHEL, Fedora, Debian or Buntu...

Does not make much sense running apt-get install k3b, to find out that <applicarions> menu in Gnome became cluttered with Kde applications, like kdeedu, kdeadmin, keject...

Now, extrapolate from this simple example, in Debian lenny, and immagine how much "trash" ( header files , libraries and applications ) gets "dragged" along each time you use Synaptic ( apt-get )... I do not need Kdeadmin to be able to burn a DVD with k3b... :|


This is what Slackware tries to avoid...

BRGDS

Alex
 
Old 12-29-2009, 07:32 AM   #13
GooseYArd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnashley View Post
You really ought to have a long look through the Slackware sources before repeating this old myth. In fact, the base packages are the one which usually require the most 'finagling' to make them work for slackware or any other distro. Once you get into the extras, the above becomes more true.
lets have an example?
 
Old 12-29-2009, 08:03 AM   #14
gapan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexvader View Post
IMHO, the fact that Slackware is a source distro, and most packages are source tarballs...
Excuse me? I'm hoping that was a joke I didn't get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexvader View Post
...which can be built with standard GNU toolchain, relieves us Slackware users from "dependency hell"...
What relieves Slackware users from dependency hell, is the fact that everyone is recommending a full install. If you do that, there are no dependencies you need to resolve (until you want to install something extra).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexvader View Post
...and provides us with some sort of "fine grained" control when building a package one does not find in other distros ...
What fine control did you exercise while installing glibc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexvader View Post
This is why the whole system "feels" snappier than binary based distros... like RHEL, Fedora, Debian or Buntu...
So Slackware is faster because these other distros are binary based and Slackware isn't? I'm completely confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexvader View Post
Does not make much sense running apt-get install k3b, to find out that <applicarions> menu in Gnome became cluttered with Kde applications, like kdeedu, kdeadmin, keject...
It does not make much sense to do a full install of Slackware and have your xfce menu cluttered with KDE applications either.
 
Old 12-29-2009, 08:06 AM   #15
Lufbery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GooseYArd View Post
lets have an example?
Gilbert has posted some examples in other threads, but a read through the slackbuild scripts used to compile Slackware packages can be very interesting. For example, here's a comment from the coreutils slackbuild script:

Quote:
# Compilation with glibc version later than 2.3.2 needs the environment
# variable DEFAULT_POSIX2_VERSION set to 199209.
# Without the next line, the coreutils will start complaining about 'obsolete'
# command switches, like "tail -20" will be considered obsolete.
# This behaviour breaks many other packages... the 'obsolete' parameters are
# too commonly used to disregard them. Better to stick with the older more
# widely accepted standards until things begin to demand the new way.
Having said all of that, my impression is that Slackware does a minimum of finagling compared to other distributions, and they tend to leave the upstream packages mostly alone.

However, I took the original poster's question to be something like, "why don't application developers make Slackware packages available like they do .rpm and .deb packages?"

Go to nearly any application's home page (like QGIS, OpenOffice, Ted, etc.), and you'll see pre-compiled binaries for Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, SuSE, etc., but not Slackware.

Even worse: often when the source code is available, the build instructions are geared toward building the software on Ubuntu! It drives me nuts when the first instruction is something like, "sudo apt-get a really important development tool." This is especially bad when the instructions are for CMake and most of the text deals with building for Windows and Mac.

I think the answer is that developers are trying to develop for the widest user base possible, and who can blame them. In the past several years, I've seen a seemingly huge increase in developers using Cmake, and who can blame them? They write code once and compile it for three different operating systems. If they're going to make precompiled binaries for Windows and Mac, then they'll do it for Linux too. But, they only do it for the most popular brands of Linux with "standard" (dependency-checking) package managers: Ubuntu, Suse, Red Hat, and Debian.

In fact, the lack of dependency-checking in Slackware is probably a turn off for developers looking to package binaries for it. It means that they can't just compile their application and expect that people can download it and use it because the OS takes care of grabbing and installing the needed libraries. Instead, for Slackware they either need to package everything together, or trust that the users will read the documentation and grab the other necessary libraries and packages.

None of this is an argument for adding dependency checking to Slackware, but it probably explains why there aren't a lot of pre-compiled binaries available for Slackware.

Regards,
 
  


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