[kwlug-disc] What's the best desktop distribution?

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Thu Feb 4 14:31:51 EST 2010


On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 1:04 PM, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 04, 2010 at 07:53:46AM -0500, Lori Paniak wrote:
> >
> > In a deb-based system, I can upgrade *all* installed applications and
> > the OS with two lines:
> >
> > apt-get update
> > apt-get upgrade
>
> .... provided you have installed ONLY packages from APT repositories.
> This has always been an issue with Perl modules, but it is getting
> worse with Ruby gems and Drupal modules and who knows what else. I am
> increasingly growing to believe that Debian package management is
> ill-suited for the kinds of applications people actually want to run.
>

You raise a valid point, but there is a difference between language
extensions
on the one hand (e.g. Perl CPAN, Ruby Gems, and even PHP PECL and
PEAR), and applications (Drupal) on the other side.

Most of the stuff I need from Perl is packaged in Ubuntu repositories, and
you can find it as "libSOMETHING-perl", e.g. libwww-mechanize-perl,
libwww-perl, ...etc. There is still a few things where you have to use the
cpan command to get stuff.

Similarly, for PHP, most of the modules I need are in the repositories,
except for APC (a code cache for PHP), and I have to use pecl to get it.

Not an ideal situation, but when used sparingly, it does not introduce
a lot of hassles.

Language extensions, should all have versions in the repositories, because
there are dependencies from some scripts that are included in packages
on stuff, and upgrading from CPAN/PECL/etc can break stuff.

I think the reason is that those archives are vast and rapidly moving, so
the Debian/Ubuntu folk package the necessary ones and leave out the
majority of them. Who knows exactly what other factors are there?

For Drupal, it is a different situation though. On the surface of it, it is
similar, but in fact, Drupal modules are applications, and there is no
dependencies from other applications on a Drupal module. You either
have a Drupal site that needs them, or you don't. There is no cross-
breakage from other packages on your server if you upgrade Drupal
modules.

By the way, in Drupal 7, there is now an update manager module included
with core which can install and update stuff right from the web interface.
-- 
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
http://2bits.com
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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