[pacman-dev] Alternatives system brainstorm

Allan McRae allan at archlinux.org
Sun Oct 20 11:05:34 UTC 2019

On 20/10/19 7:52 pm, Daan van Rossum wrote:
> * on Sunday, 2019-10-20 14:24 +1000, Allan McRae <allan at archlinux.org> wrote:
>> That is on the cards.   I had the example of the lua include directory
>> in the first email, but did not explicitly specify that we could symlink
>> directories as well as files.
> Alternatives management via "dynamic modification of a user's environment" has been popular in HPC for decades, e.g. see [1].  In particular, being able to use different alternatives in separate environments is very useful.  (This does not preclude setting user-wide or all-user-wide defaults.)
> It may be helpful to consider separately feature-rich, flexible, dynamic alternatives management for a user's convenience on one hand, versus functionality that is essential for the system to work properly on the other.
> Package dependencies probably fall under the latter category, as well as sh->bash/dash awk->gawk/nawk cc/clang, whereas lua->lua51/lua52/lua53 or java->java-8-openjdk/... fall under the second, I guess...
> Best, Daan
> P.S. I hope this is contribution is constructive, but please let me know if it isn't!
> 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_Modules_(software)

It is constructive, but I don't think is necessarily relevant.  Pacman
is a system package manager, not a userspace software manager.

The HPC use case is quite different.  It allows pieces of software to be
made available to individual users, but not system-wide.


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