[pacman-dev] ALPM Questions

Georg Grabler ggrabler at gmail.com
Fri May 4 03:44:50 EDT 2007

Hey guys,

I know, none if you is quite happy with the current public interface
of ALPM. Anyway, we're on to build up python bindings for this
library. We'll be with you when the API of ALPM changes, so i'll watch
the lists and cvs carefully.

We have a feature plan for the first milestone of the project, but for
the sake of task definition i'm missing information (basically
documentation, but we all know it always could be better :) .. i hate
documenting things too, it's annoying but needed).

You have exported quite a lot of data structures. Basically, the first
milestone will include a configuration "interface", spoken from the
binding, the possibility to add and remove packages (undecided for

I've some question regarding alpm features, as well as data structure questions.

I'll start with the alpm features. As it seems, alpm currently has no
possibility to fetch a list of packages provided by  a specified
package database. It seems, as if i need to use the pmdb_t structure
and manually step trough the pkgcache of it to have a list what the
repo provides. Am i right? Or is there any other interface?

The data structures:
Since adding and removing packages are quite simple tasks (at least
from the point of view of someone using the API), by taking a look at
the pacman code (3.0.0, don't have the current 3.0.3 here), it seems
as i need a type implementation in the binding for the following
pmgrp_t (if we provide the grouping already in ms1)
pmdepend_t  (if i want a list what a  package depends on anyway, the
implementation might be needed for the purpose of building a pkg
object containing a set of information).

There i'm unsure what it is used for, and if i need it at all. I could
not find any function which i definitely need to call where this
structure is used for.

Feature related bindings
Register / unregister DBs
Register / unregister cache directories (handled by the binding, not the client)
Add packages (resolving deps, conflichts, handling of ignorepkg,
checksums, sha1, architecture handling and adding packages using
alpm_trans_addtarget, alpm_prepare and alpm_commit).

Removing packages
Resolving of all removable dependencies to keep the system "clean".
Remove packages including removable dependencies (using
alpm_trans_addtarget, alpm_prepare and alpm_commit).
QUESTION: how to find out which dependencies of a package are stil in
use by other installed packages, and which not?

The features of the first test client are still undecided, even though
there is no decision if there will be a GUIfied test for the first
milestone release.

A closer look:
This document is missing the pmdb_t implementation - was late
yesterday in the evening i started the document, and i've still some
more tasks (getting the domain right down the same server as the svn
is located, providing a task-tracking and bug-tracking for the dev etc
or a groupware etc).

A basic question is: pyalpm will break within a new version with API
changes of alpm. Will it be possible to have two libraries installed?
Otherwhise, we would either have to react fast, or keep on track with
your development, for being able to release with a new alpm api as
well. There we'd definitely need proper information befor it's pushed
For now, not important, but all this are things somehow turning my brain around.

Kind regards,

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