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

john at netdirect.ca john at netdirect.ca
Thu Feb 4 16:54:39 EST 2010

kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org wrote on 02/04/2010 02:31:51 PM:
> On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 1:04 PM, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> 
> 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 
> 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, 
> 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 
> cpan command to get stuff.

I used cpan2rpm when possible to download the perl module and build an 
RPM. It doesn't auto-update though.

I also use pear make-rpm-spec to do the same for Pear modules. Again no 

I do this so I can track the packages installed.
> 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, 
> 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, 
> 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 
> 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 

Now we have more than one update manager. I suspect it will only get worse 

RPM (and I assume debs) seem to have handled many of the classic software 
well, but it's devolving for some the popular packages. It's not just 
Drupal, we run Asterisk as a non-RPM packaged.

It completely slipped my mind where we went outside the package manager.

John Van Ostrand
Net Direct Inc.
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12
Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6
john at netdirect.ca
Ph: 866-883-1172
Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware
Fx: 519-883-8533

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