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Old 01-30-2003, 02:10 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2002
Distribution: RH, FC, FreeBSD,OpenBSD
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Newbie qusetion source and binary

Ok, this is something I have been meaning to ask for quite some time, but I never have.

What I was wondering is if someone call tell me the difference between a source package and a binary packet? For instance, when I sometimes download a RPM, I have the option of downloading the 'src' version of the RPM.

Also, sometimes when I download a tarball, I have the option of downloading it as source or as a binary.

Can someone explain the difference to me and why I would want one or the other?

Thank you very much.

Old 01-30-2003, 02:51 PM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Rome, Italy ; Novi Sad, Srbija; Brisbane, Australia
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Binary package is already compiled, machine code, that you just need to install. RPM's DEB's and slackware's TGZ's are binary packages, pre-compiled. Source RPM's and source code tarballs contain the actual code (usually C or C++, Python, or whatever) and instructions how to make (compile) that bunch of text files into binary AKA machine code. If you have all the requirements needed for that source code to compile (if you have all necessary libraries it needs to link to), then it will compile and install.
On binary distros such as mandrake and RH stick with RPM's and in some cases you will need source RPMs. On other distros that you can tailor to your wish you should always use source code because that way you can specifu special compile-time features and you will get cleaner and faster machine code since it's compiled exactly for your hardware.
Does that help?


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