packaging system (was: Re: GCC 3.3.2 kernel)

Emiel Kollof coolvibe at
Thu Oct 30 09:40:14 PST 2003

* Lewis, Todd (todd.lewis at xxxxxx) wrote:
> Emiel Kollof wrote:
> > I agree. I for one, don't like dpkg. 
> Why not?  The more details, the better; I'm really curious.

Dpkg is typical GNU stuff: overfeatured, obtuse and too complex[1]. It
does waaaaaay more than a package format needs to do. Things that irk me
about dpkg are for instance the configuration phase. I'd like to do that
myself, thanks. I don't want dpkg to manage my configfiles for me. Also,
the nasty habit of splitting up apps in their use and -devel
counterparts is something I despise.

The big question is: why should we move to a new file format for

As far as I care, the current BSD packages are fine as they are as packages, 
but the managing of those packages (/var/db/pkg, portupgrade, etc etc) needs 
to be overhauled. This is where we could use something more
apt/portage-like. Add variant symlinks and VFS magic in the mix, and we
have something partly 'backwards'-compatible and beautiful :)

Also, since we still have FreeBSD binary compatibility, wouldn't it be
nice to be able to use FreeBSD's already compiled package repository?
Why should we move to a whole new package format? As far as simplicity
goes, the FreeBSD package format (.tgz) is as simple[1] as it gets.

> Everyone knows the 1001 ways in which dpkg/apt/debian rock, right?  If not,
> then I'd be happy to list them...

Most of the people that proclaim the virtues of Debian, are talking
about apt, not dpkg. And they both get confused with each other all the
time. .deb is the package format. apt is the package management. 

Apt is nice and package-format agnostic (which is mainly why it's nice). dpkg 
sucks since it's (to me) unwieldy.

Sure, we could steal a couple of nice ideas from apt (like the binary
upgradeability), but do we really need a totally new package file


[1] With "simple" and "complex" I don't mean ease of use.

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