[arch-general] Frustrating Dependencies

Heiko Baums lists at baums-on-web.de
Mon Nov 23 10:06:34 EST 2009

Am Mon, 23 Nov 2009 12:16:46 -0200
schrieb André Ramaciotti da Silva <andre.ramaciotti at gmail.com>:

> I know, I know, they always come back. :P
> My Arch installation is still in my HD, just in case.
> About disk usage, don't forget that arch keeps a cache of downloaded
> packages. So I don't think Gentoo is in disadvantage here. My
> installation uses 1GB less than Arch (both have basically the same
> packages). It may not sound like a lot, thinking of the size most HD
> have nowadays, but it's a 20% improvement.

But you can delete the cached packages in Arch (pacman -Sc or pacman
-Scc). ;-) If this is useful is a different question.

> I don't think compiling takes that much. If you're in a hurry, then
> yes, it'll seem like forever. I installed in a weekend, basically the
> same time I took to install Arch (because I install some packages,
> then I remember of others, then others...). But it wasn't 48h
> compiling, it was way, way less.

On my old i686 1,3 GHz CPU with 1 GB RAM it took me a week to compile
and install the complete Gentoo system inkl. Xorg, KDE, OpenOffice etc.
while I only need 1 or 2 days for Arch. And KDE alone took me 1 day and
OpenOffice 12 hours. I did this several years until I had enough of
this waste of time and found Arch Linux.

Even if compiling only takes 48 hours. Installing it on Arch takes only
a few seconds or maximum a few minutes. And compiling uses more
ressources and thus more energy.

> I agree that with Arch you still have control over your packages, but
> USE flags make it easier. Somebody already went into the ./configure
> of all packages and put it in an easier way to do it. If programs
> could talk, emerge would be like:
> - I want my mplayer with samba and lirc support.
> - OK, I'll configure it this way, but then you also need to install
> this and this packages.
> While pacman would be something like:
> - I want my mplayer without samba support.
> - Wakka wakka wakka. Make a custom PKGBUILD then, wakka wakka.

The problem is that in my experience most USE flags are set to get a
more comfortable system, see the lot of USE flags for support for MP3,
Ogg/Vorbis etc. Who wants a media player without MP3 or Ogg/Vorbis
support? Only a few USE flags make really sense.

The whole USE flag stuff can also get quite complex. And then once in a
while they change the names of the USE flags without changing their
function or they remove USE flags all without announcement. So after a
while your make.conf (or what was the name of the file) will get bigger
and bigger and even more complex.

On Arch Linux you are not quite as flexible as in Gentoo but it's much
more comfortable.

Portage is getting slower and slower from time to time. There's no
portage overlay like AUR where a user can easily upload ebuilds. To be
able to upload to Sunrise you need to be a dev or something like a TU
and you first have to file a bug report and attach your ebuild. If your
lucky your ebuild will be added to Sunrise a few weeks later. If your
not so lucky every user who want to install this package needs to
download this ebuild manually from bugzilla for years. And due to many
undocumented ebuild functions and non-expressive variable names and a
more complex directory structure for the build system it's much more
difficult writing an ebuild than a PKGBUILD.

I don't want to say that Gentoo is a bad distro (it's indeed beside
Arch one of the best) but it takes more time and is more complicated
than Arch without a big advantage.

> And finally, yes, there are optdeps, but pacman don't handle them as
> nicely it handles obligatory dependencies. If I install an optdep as
> an explicit installed package, when I uninstall the other package,
> the optdep will stay in my system. If I install it as a dependency,
> pacman will list it as an unnecessary dependency when I run pacman
> -Qdt.

Well, this is a point which I'm missing, too, on Arch. This should
indeed be fixed in pacman.


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