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Re: Nix fixes dependency hell on all Linux distributions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.98.239.62] on December 23, 2008 07:43 AM
I don't like the Nix approach, but the problems they mention are very real, major issues on GNU/Linux systems. Just because you are happy with the selections and versions of Debian packages and never want anything else, doesn't mean everyone else is like you. Debian's package management isn't any different from RPM, technically anyway. It's just that Debian maintainers are more disciplined. Still, you are locked into a set of certain versions of certain packages compiles with certain options chosen by them. It's open source and you can grab a tarball or alternate packages--which many people end up having to do at some point--and it won't be a fun experience.

A nice world is where you can just grab a package where the requirements are simply things like minimum kernel version, minimum memory, disk space, a network connection, etc. install and expect it works and doesn't break anything. Telling everyone to use Debian wouldn't solve that problem, even if they did... and it'd introduce other problems like, the difficulty of just installing Debian and the notoriously hostile to noobs Debian community.

The whole idea of each version of each distribution having its own special, package hierarchy was a seriously wrong turn for GNU/Linux as a whole. If it isn't the single biggest thing holding back widespread adoption of GNU/Linux, it certain is at least one brick wall on that path. To put this even simpler, people need to be able to buy or download a package and say, "Oh, yeah.. It's for Linux and I have Linux.", install and expect it works.

Matthew

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