[kwlug-disc] is it just me, or is debian package management painful?

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Aug 14 10:56:54 EDT 2009


On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 09:10:30AM -0400, Paul Gallaway wrote:

> dpkg -f install foo
> 
> That should/could force the package to install even though it's in a
> broken state. Follow with:
> 
> aptitude -f install
> 
> and/or
> 
> apt-get -f install

A word of caution, which has been hinted at by others. Debian has a
standard philosophy of installing through apt sources (whether
official, third-party or local repositories). Furthermore, .debs are
almost always built against the libraries in a release of Debian.
Every time you fight with it by forcing packages you are asking for a
world of hurt, because your approach and Debian's approach will
conflict.

I totally understand the frustrations with installing local/updated
packages in Debian. It should be more well-suited to local backporting
than it is. But it really isn't, and if you really are set on
installing a lot of software that is not in some repository somewhere
(a few providers maintain their own APT repositories) you might
actually be better off using aptitude to install the development
libraries and then compiling and installing software in /usr/local
rather than trying to cherry-pick .deb packages. 

If a version of the software you are looking for has been packaged
elsewhere, then building the package from source can work. 

If your software is a one-off .deb that has been built against the
version of the distro you have, then something like gdebi should be
able to do the trick. 

Otherwise, be careful. 

- Paul





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