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    Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0
    Contributed by linuxguy on Tuesday, July 10 @ 21:02:45 BST

    Linux Standard Base
    I was wondering what is Debian developers reaction to the proposed packaging format in LSB 1.0.0. Unfortunatelly, it seems that in order to "enable a uniform industry standard environment for high-volume applications conforming to the LSB" we would have to drop DEBs in favor of RPMs, which I would really hate to see happen. Otherwise, would it make Debian a rebel and contribute to the Unix-like fragmentation? Read on for my opinion.

    It is a bit disturbing to see that the LSB has chosen its packaging system based on popularity rather than on merit. This is particularly true since Debian currently seems to be closer to the goal of LSB compliancy than the competition (read RedHat). However, with fantastic tools such as alien and the recent port of apt to support RPMs, it does not seem to be much of a technical challenge to implement complete and native RPM support in Debian. Can the two formats be made to peacefully coexist on Debian while RPM becomes the standard for everyone else, should action be taken to ensure that Debian packages become a part of the LSB, or is there anyone out there who thinks that the RPM format can be extended to the point of reaching the functionality of Debian packages? There's a voice deep within me that says "One package format for all Linux distributions would be cool!"

    Related Links

  • Linux Standard Base
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  • News by alp

    Most read story about Linux Standard Base:
    Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0

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  • "Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0" | Login/Create Account | 20 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 21:52:54 BST

    If all the distros move to one package system, we'll end up with something like the current Mandrake/RedHat issues. Same package format, slightly different systems, and users just assume that a .rpm will work on both.

    The only way to get around that is to make all the distros identical.

    Maybe what we need is a universal package format, that all the distros can read from, but are not based on. Debian would be based on .deb, but would accept .lsb or something. Redhat, .rpm, and accepting .lsb.

    I dunno, I'm not sure if there's a win-win situation anywhere in the cards.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 22:19:28 BST

    We can still support multiple file formats including deb and this is fine with the LSB 1.0.0. I'm not as concerned about package formats as debs will probably be around for a while and it shouldn't be to hard to support rpm and the new lsb format when it comes out.

    However I'd like to know when Debian (and the other distros) are going to be start supporting the OTHER aspects of the LSB specification as in where it puts files and the libraries and versions that can be assumed to be on any LSB complient system. If everything else in the LSB was supported by most of the main distributions I'd be a happy man.

    Joel Wagler

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, July 12 @ 17:03:32 BST

    I believe the lsb's file system hierarchy is supposed to take care of those "slight differences" between systems.

    I, of course, have no dilusions of it doing away with all problems, but surely it's possible to incorporate some kind of error detection (dependencies, for instance) into an installer... or the format itself... so as to avoid most problems.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: -1, Troll)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 21:55:30 BST

    I've always hated rpm's. Not just because they are inferior, but also they just don't sound as good. I would much rather install a "deb" on my system than a "rpm". Doesn't it just flow better? What really should happen is Red Hat (and others) should throw in the hat (haha) and convert their stuff to deb instead of us trying to be compatible with that shite.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 22:15:10 BST

    Yes, I think that Debian should go on the LSB direction, because this could be a great aproach to have a unification of the most recognized linux distributions. The only problem i see is that, if RPM becomes the debian standard... could this be an initiative to people to use packages that aren't from Debian, getting a system unstable by causes hard to find...?

    I think packages source shoud be recognized before installing, and tell the user some warning messages,.... or something like this.

    [ Reply ]

    Please read the back discussion (Score: 4, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 22:34:39 BST

    Does nobody here read either debian-devel or debian-user? This was covered in huge, painful detail there. The fact that this was posted shows that there are a lot of people ignorant of what the LSB really did, and what it really means. (You wouldn't have been if you'd caught the other discussions, or the LSB itself.)

    For starters:

    • The LSB has chosen RPMs as the recommended packaging for third-party apps which want to use packages.

    • The LSB does not require that the distribution use RPMs as the native package format. (See footnote 2.)

    • The LSB specifically requires that packages use a restricted subset of RPM functionality, so odds are that no distribution will use it as their native format.

    • This restricted format was chosen so that all could support it, even Debian using alien.

    • Yes, the LSB folks (which included Debian developers) intended Debian to use alien to support these packages. Since it's a restricted subset of RPM, and since LSB packages may only depend on certain things in the host environment, it is expected that alien can be modified to install these without any problems at all.

    • Who said Debian was closer to LSB compliancy than RH? It's not, probably. See recent discussion for details, on things which have vocal opponents (uid requirements, initlevel meanings, etc.).

    • We will not have to drop DEBs.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Please read the back discussion (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10 @ 22:52:35 BST

    You failed to address the most important part of my comment. We need a spiffy, easy thing to say like "deb" instead of the bulky, 3 syllable "rpm". What does debian-user have to say about that, eh?

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Please read the back discussion (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, July 15 @ 03:59:56 BST

    Actually, I prefer DEBs over RPMs,but I rarely pronounce their names. However, I do type them often and rpm is a little bit easier&faster to type...

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: -1, Flamebait)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 01:20:55 BST

    I think LSB is one of the most useless groups

    ever. It has a soft underbelly, and frequently

    rolls over to show it to commercial organistations. The fact they choose a technically inferior package system says a lot for them. Linux should be community driven like the Kernel itself, I believe that Debian will win thru in the end. While I think the concept of LSB is good, I don't believe its working.

    [ Reply ]

    And you can tell us who are NOT part of community? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 07:39:20 BST

    IMHO, people writing LSB are just as good members of community as everyone else.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 1)
    by pgammans on Wednesday, July 11 @ 15:48:53 BST
    (User Info)

    Having a Common package format isn't the best thing in the world. Just try using ximian and debian packages.

    It works but you get dependency problems when the package names are not the same, or where a different dists pakage 'A' provide file x but Debain has file x in Package 'B' not it's version of 'A'

    Then Package B from Debian will clash with package A from the other dist.

    They alread have this problem with RPMs from RH, SUSE, etc you can use alien if I can [get|complie|bebotherd to complie] you own version from the source, thing are just as likly to work.

    [ Reply ]

    debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: -1, Troll)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 03:13:10 BST

    Hmm. Flaimbait disguised as an article, which the submitter apparently didn't read/understand very well.

    What do you think this is, slashdot?

    [ Reply ]

    Re: debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 07:43:48 BST

    IMHO, going fast to that direction. I won't take too many days until I don't want to read debianplanet any more if this continues.

    You everybody should read Quit Slashdot. There is seed of truth in that page even though it looks like joke.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: 1)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 16:15:52 BST

    I hear you guys atm...I did have a LSB article in the works, but I've just been too bummed out during my mid-year uni break to finish it = ). But I guess I better rush it. Ironically, me and robster started out DebianPlanet cause we were kinda sick of the Debian flamming on Slashdot. So don't give up hope that we'll go down the path of flamewarring too quickly. Alp is one of newer editors, so give him a break and welcome him aboard. Thanks.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: 1)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 16:17:17 BST

    wierd...the above comment is meant to be posted from me (Netsnipe). I guess it's time to bug ressu and rob again about that damned phpnuke.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: 1)
    by drone0709 on Wednesday, July 11 @ 16:23:38 BST
    (User Info)

    Drone0709 testing to make sure our DB isn't broken again 🙁

    [ Reply ]

    Re: debianplanet == slashdot? (Score: 1)
    by Netsnipe (netsnipe .at. debianplanet .dot. org) on Wednesday, July 11 @ 16:32:56 BST
    (User Info)

    Netsnipe testing to see whether his cookies were just fscked up.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: -1, Redundant)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 22:04:12 BST

    Let me preface this by saying I am not a programmer (IANAP). If any part of this is wrong, please tell me.

    I have done some searching on the internet and I have not found anyone who has made the claim that the RPM specification is inferior to DEBs. Most people see the difference in quality between a Debian distibution and a RPM-based distribution and assume it is due to the technical superiority of the packaging format itself. I don't think this is the case. If Debian dumped deb and switched to rpm, I'd be willing to bet that no one would notice a difference at all. What makes Debian special is that it is a COMMUNITY EFFORT. There are thousands of packages maintained by hundreds of individuals, all of which adhere to a fairly rigid set of standards. This is lacking in commercial distributions. My impression is that the packaging format itself is largely irrelivant. There are other reasons why Debian kicks so much ass. This isn't as big of a deal as it's becoming.


    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 11 @ 22:53:54 BST

    Dude, there *are* some good reasons why DEB's are better than RPM's. For example, the idea of being dependent on tags instead of files on specific packages. RPM's can handle this, but not nearly as well. Also, DEB's have much more control on dependencies. I think maybe RPM 4.0 might have made RPM a little better in that regard, but it seems even RedHat doesn't know how to use it.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Standard package format according to LSB 1.0.0 (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, July 14 @ 19:19:24 BST

    What makes Debian work well is not the DEB format, it's the fact that people take a lot of time packaging stuff, maintaining it, and adding it to a big database. RPM can support that just fine. If Debian switched to apt/RPM, most people would probably not notice any difference.

    RPM packages usually check file-based dependencies rather than prerequisites. This makes it much easier to create packages that live outside the main distribution. That may not be such a good idea for some packages, but for third party apps, it's what you want.

    [ Reply ]

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