To gentoo or not to gentoo (subtitled package management)

Eric Miller etmilleretmiller at
Sun Feb 9 18:30:25 PST 2003

I top post coz that email is just to darned long ;)

Torsten, I am a pretty devoted Gentoo user, I have
four systems:  My two main systems, both gentoo, my
LFS kickaround system, and my Mandrake MNF

You sound like a much more advanced linux user than
most.  Many of your requirements are very detailed and
I doubt that you will find a developed package manager
that meets all or most of those requirements.  I will
say that of all the package managers, apt, rpm,
whatever, the portage system is pretty tough to beat. 
There is even a (not so well written) article on how
to use poratage on LFS and other systems.

A few of your requests, such as stateful updates (you
can tell portage to ignore certain packages) are
possible.  Your last request of being able to install
software and not worry about where it goes, well thats
protage in a nutshell.

My advice would be to install a gentoo system and try
portage out for yourself.  You may even be able to
tweek the code and scripts to your liking (from the
sound of your abilities)

If you can build LFS, gentoo should be a peice of cake
for you, start from the stage three tarball if you
just want to get up and running quick to see how
portage works.

Gentoo user #22A8698C-8186-6A04-FE4F-8FA972BC4408

--- torsten <torsten at> wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm looking for advice, suggestions, and
> recommendations.
> I've done the LFS compilation about six times.  I
> started with LFS
> when I moved off of Slackware, and that was because
> I
> disagreed with Slackware's version jump to 7.0
> philosophy.  I was
> on a Slack 3 system then.
> With the recent 4.0 LFS, I switched to using a
> package manager, epkg.
> Previously, I was using
> --prefix=/usr/local/<package>, but this
> method is flawed and eventually broke my system.  It
> was also very
> tedious and time consuming.
> With the new package manager, I packaged my entire
> system.  There
> is not one "real" file sitting anywhere except
> /boot, /etc and the two
> package subdirectories.  This has the side-effect
> that if a package
> overwrites a file during install, it only overwrites
> the symlink.
> epkg has simplified everything.
> Installation before epkg:
> cd /usr/local/bin
> ln -s ../<package>/bin/* ./
> cd ../include
> ln -s ../<package>/include/* ./
> cd ../lib
> ln -s ../<package>lib/* ./
> ........ and so on - most of the time, I just did
> bin,include,
> and lib.  It was very tedious.
> Installatoin Now:  epkg <package>
> However, epkg lacks any kind of install system for
> non-packaged
> programs (source or binary).  So I still use my
> installation
> scripts, itrace, itrace+lkm, DESTDIR, and
> occasionally manual
> modification of Makefiles.
> The only other system I know of that handles
> installs very
> nicely, with dependencies, local compile-time
> options, and all, 
> is gentoo's portage system. Everything I've been
> doing with lfs, 
> gentoo has automated.  There are some things that
> bother me, 
> and if you can, please address them.
> 1) portage is not stateless - it requires a
> constantly-updated database
> 2) non-portage dependencies (i.e. installed my own
> libs)
> 3) using portage with other distributions
> 4) doesn't use relinking - just installs into the
> filesystem
> I want to find a way to automate package management
> that doesn't
> require managing packages (i.e. no rpm, deb, etc).
> Here's what I want:
> 1) stateless - no database (filesystem is database)
> 2) relinking - packages in their own subdirectories
> 3) optional prepackaging (src,bin,src+bin)
> 4) automated recompiling (use ld on system binaries)
> 5) file collection (files are automatically
> collected
> and placed in a subtree, no need for DESTDIR or
> --prefix=/<package>
> 6) file collector handles static install programs
> 7) automatic dependency checking (ld for binaries,
> source
> search for headers).
> 8) postpackaging (tar up installed packages for
> distribution
> or later use
> 9) gpl
> 10) compile-time options
> jam (a replacement for automake/autocong)
> 	satisfies 7 - automatically determines dependencies
> 	from source header names
> checkinstall
> 	satisfies 1,3,8,9
> 	notably doesn't handle statically-linked install
> programs
> install-log (written for lfs)
> 	gone, webpage is there, source is not
> epkg
> 	satisfies 1,2,3,8
> 	not gpl
> itrace
> 	satisfies 1,5,6,9
> 	kernel modules needs work, doesn't collect packages
> relink
> 	satisfies 1,2, technically 3, 9
> So, a lot of the tools are there, but they are not
> integrated
> into a cohesive package management system.  This
> type of system
> could also manage rpm and deb packages very easily
> (alien
> could optionally do the conversion to tar.gz).  I'd
> mostly need
> to write some glue code.  I don't know of a program
> that figures
> out compile time options for you.
> Ideally, I'd like to install any program, at any
> time, without
> worrying about where programs go.  If you know of
> any program
> that'll take care of my needs (or more of them),
> please let me
> know - I don't really want to write a bunch of code
> if it's
> already been written.
> Have I gone mad?
> Torsten
> -- 
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