[TUHS] Package Management

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Nov 22 11:17:53 AEST 2020

1) No intention to slight debian in any way.
2) dpkg was definitely an improvement over FreeBSds ports scheme. But... In
fact freebsd did have a pkg system for ports before that --- which was
basically similar to 1983 SysIII scheme
3) also as I understand (and larry feel free to correct me here as a better
chronicler of things Linux than I) but I believe that the big thing rpm
added was the DB like DEC's setld and system Sun had used which us what I
was refering too.

Pls remember that I was trying to chronicle the basic ideas and some of the
motivation which is what Henry asked.   And that the original driver was to
support ISVs installs.  So I was trying to explain the history of what we
did at the time.

The be fair one of the more vocal people in the early 80s was Heinz who
occasionally add color here.  I remember Heinz trying to push us to an ABI
and not stop at an API.

Today most of the ISVs have abandoned Unix except for the Mac. Msft and the
phones have taken that.  And the package mngr has been replaced by the app
store which has.much great use than any of the current Unix packaging
schemes.  Funny how the profit motive drove that.

Working for one of the few ISVS that do package SW for Unix we basically
support two schemes.  Apple Mac installs and RPM because that is were the
primary customer base has been.   I'd not about goodness or being better or
being first.  It's economic (Larry and I bemoan this a lot).

So pls don't take it as a comment about anything other than trying to
answer as much of the early history as I could.

Heinz, Jon, Larry you all lived this on the commercial side.   Care to add


On Sat, Nov 21, 2020 at 6:31 PM Gregg Levine <gregg.drwho8 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello!
> I, myself normally run Slackware Linux. It uses package management in
> the form of compressed tar files, and a flat file store of the names.
> It also has a tool which when run will show the user what's there, and
> what they do if need be. In fact Slackware predates Red Hat by about
> four years. (Pat and his CS professor introduced themselves to one
> much earlier one, which was SLS. Neither liked it, and the Prof was
> convinced that Pat could do better.)
> -----
> Gregg C Levine gregg.drwho8 at gmail.com
> "This signature fought the Time Wars, time and again."
> On Sat, Nov 21, 2020 at 1:54 PM <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:
> >
> > Things were pretty much ad hoc.  Commercial software likely came
> > as tar/cpio tapes to install however the vendor wanted. Free software
> > was from USENET in source code, so again, however people wanted.
> >
> > The AT&T Unix PC (7300 / 3B1) in the late 80s had a file format
> > for installing software from floppy and tracked what was installed,
> > but that was unique to it.
> >
> > Package managers as we know them today really became a big thing
> > with Linux. Redhat's RPM was one of the earliest.
> >
> > My two cents; I'm sure others remember it differently.
> >
> > Arnold
> >
> > Henry Bent <henry.r.bent at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Hello All,
> > >
> > > I know I have asked this before, but I am curious about any new
> replies or
> > > insight.  How did package management start?  Were sites keeping track
> of
> > > packages installed in a flat file that you could grep (as god intended)
> > > somewhere, or were upgrades and additions simply done without
> significant
> > > announcement?  At what point did someone decide, 'Hey, we need to have
> a
> > > central way to track additional software"?
> > >
> > > I know of DEC's setld and SGI's inst in the latter half of the '80s.
> What
> > > was the mechanism before that?
> > >
> > > -Henry
> >
Sent from a handheld expect more typos than usual
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