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Old 09-26-2010, 09:46 AM   #1
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The perfect package format: No package, but instead revision control

The package format wars are a key element of the distro wars and have been for a long time. Package management, essentially, is an automated way of installing software and as such is one of Linux's killer features. Problem is, there are several package formats, and most of the main ones are archive files with obscure formats like ar or cpio with different filename extensions.

And even the formats that truly are .tar.* archives, like Slackware's or Arch's, still are compressed archives, which still have to be properly configured, which still takes time.

Here's what I consider the future of package management: How about actually hosting the packages online as revision control trees, which are automatically synced to your root directory during an upgrade and automatically checked out to your root directory during an install. There would be no need to unpack; just check out and configure.

On top of that, they would be easier to upload to and update: Because many people could be contributing to a single "package", the revision control trees would be more up-to-date. They also would be easier to upload to: All a person would need to do is create an install root to check out the packages to, add their files, and then upload. This would ultimately save developers plenty of time that they would have taken to create the directory structure needed to build a package or create a control file (which would already be in a revision control system once one person, not any more than that person, uploads it).

Any opinions on this?

Last edited by Kenny_Strawn; 09-26-2010 at 09:49 AM.
Old 09-26-2010, 11:32 AM   #2
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That is an interesting theory, and would make sense with something like a cluster, but I don't see how this would help with mainline Linux distros. It isn't as if all the different distros could use one communal repository, most of the distributions now are using patched or otherwise customized packages, so you would still need to maintain different CVS repositories.

If anything, this would only complicate matters. Imagine the questions we would be seeing:

I pointed my Slackware machine's package manager to the Ubuntu CVS server because it had newer packages, and now the computer is all messed up. Help, plz".
Old 09-26-2010, 12:33 PM   #3
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Actually, I was thinking of actually using this only for one specific distro, possibly an LFS-based one (and then using possibly a frontend to Git for the repository, which in turn is made up of Git trees with package metadata that get installed to /).


package management, revision control

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