Re: [dev] [9buntu] first attempt -bashing needed

From: Kris Maglione <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 14:04:44 -0400

On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 01:17:49PM -0400, Donald Allen wrote:
>On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Kris Maglione <> wrote:
>> No. Slackware may be relatively simple, but it's no simpler than Arch or
>> GoboLinux, and it has, by far, a weaker packaging system which leads to
>> nothing but headaches.
>I'm sorry, but this is simply not true. I have run Slackware for some
>time now on 5 systems and it's rock-solid and very easy to administer.
>The package system is simpler, not weaker (I'm a bit surprised at your
>statement, given that it was made on, where
>simplicity is considered such a virtue; yes, things can be *too*
>simple, but this is not an example of that; read on). Most of what you
>need is present by virtue of the core install and just about anything
>else is available from, a very high-quality bit of
>work. Installing packages from there is simple. The only thing not
>done for you, apt-style, is making sure everything an app depends on
>is loaded. But the fact is that, by virtue of the core install, in
>most cases everything *is* loaded, so missing dependencies are
>relatively rare. Where something is not part of the core install, it
>is carefully spelled out on the page for the
>application you are after. You load the dependency, build the
>slackware package once, and then you can load it on all your systems.
>It's easy and the underlying package management stuff is very solid. I
>ran Gentoo, with all its fancy package stuff, some years ago, and it
>was a nightmare to administer, e.g., dangling pointers to shared
>libraries needing to be fixed with revdep-rebuild and such. I spend
>*far* less time tending to my Slackware systems than I did with
>Another such example of a system that will give you headaches is Arch,
>with its rolling releases. Arch is *continuously* releasing new stuff,
>which means it's impossible to test the entire system every time
>something new appears on the Bleeding Edge. Most of the time this
>works, but occasionally you will do an update and find your system
>completely wedged. At that point, you get to learn about booting from
>the install disk, chroot, and figuring out how to put your system back
>together, at which you may or may not be successful. I've had this
>happen three times during the time I ran Arch (maybe six months?) and
>got sick of it. Read the Arch discussion groups. It's not hard to find
>messages from people who are in the kind of trouble I just described.
>This is the reason why systems that are renowned for reliability, like
>OpenBSD and Slackware, release with a frequency that allows thorough
>testing of the whole thing. Theo de Raadt and Patrick Volkerding have
>a lot to teach the world about software QA and release engineering.

I never said ‘weaker’ meant simpler. My problem with the
Slackware packaging system is its lack of dependency management.
I'll agree, though, that the Arch people are not entirely sane.
The aggressively rolling nature of the package repo is certainly
irritating, but that doesn't have much bearing on the utter
simplicity of the packaging system which rivals every other
distro I've come across (except perhaps GoboLinux). The same
goes for the base system. Most of the configuration is done in
one BSD-like file, /etc/rc.conf. /etc/rcN.d are not used. There
are no fancy network configuration scripts. The base system is
small and, though irritatingly bash-entangled, fairly clean.
Beyond that, it's trivial to setup a package repo. One script,
repo-add, one directory of packages, and one tarball containing
the plain-text, filesystem-based package database.

As for upgrades wedging the system... well, it may happen to
others, but I've got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, and if I ever
have to boot from a CD, something is seriously wrong. But I do
often wish that Linuxes would provide something akin to
FreeBSD's statically linked /rescue.

Kris Maglione
Correctness is clearly the prime quality.  If a system does not do
what it is supposed to do, then everything else about it matters
	--Bertrand Meyer
Received on Fri Jul 30 2010 - 20:04:44 CEST

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