Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fedora Core 5 pirut bug/feature

I've been using Fedora since mid 2004. I quite like it - bleeding edge and with minimal patches on top of the upstream source so there isn't much bloat nor extra bugs (which is why I switched from Mandrake/Mandriva - that story some other day). The distro's not perfect but like democracy, I've found that it's the least worst.

Now, I've been using Fedora Core 4 for a while now. I decided it would be interesting to try out Fedora 5 for the new development machine
kindly donated by Brad Hards.

Other than updated software, it seems the same as Fedora Core 4 but with an extra "feature":

For the first time in Fedora, we have a tightly integrated package-management system, Pirut.

    -- Inside Fedora Core 5, Red Hat Magazine

Only, it cannot install packages from CD by default! It reminds me of that Michelle Branch song:

Goodbye to user friendliness.
Goodbye to the sanity that I knew.
You were the one thing I tried to install.

[ok, that was terrible, I admit :)]

This is a shocking regression and I'm stunned that this made it past quality control, into the release.

Luckily, it's not that bleak as there are solutions:

The first is to create a repository on your hard disk containing all 5 CDs' RPMs. Of course, this takes a lot of disk space... When following those instructions, if you have the CDs, copy the RPMS and the comps.xml directly - don't bother creating an ISO and dealing with the loopback filesystem business (-o loop). The confusing line for me was:

rpm -Uvh RPMS/createrepo*

That was just a tricky way of saying make sure you install the version of "createrepo" RPM stored on the CDs.

The second method I haven't tried but only found a few minutes ago. You can apparently just point yum to the CD ROM drive. This appears to work just like Fedora 4 - requires no extra disk space as it reads straight from the CDs. I'm wondering: if I'm searching for packages, will it search the current CD in the drive or all of them?


Anonymous said...

I haven't used fedora nor redhat since a long time (since I discovered I had to manage all dependencies myself when installing anything...)

So, finally, they added a package manager ? There was none before that ?

Jack said...

Could this be the first linux virus - a devious little beast that refuses to be pinned down and is known variously as zen/zmd/zypp/pirut but always manifests the same symptoms of an unusable package manager and extreme user frustration? Quick! Get me a 10cc of Yum or Smart, the only known antidotes


Clarence Dang said...

anonymous: Yes, "yum" does dependency resolving. I don't think there were any before that (except various attempts at e.g. porting "apt-get" from Debian to Red Hat). Mandrake/Mandriva's equivalent to "yum" is "urpmi" .

My experience with all Linux package management systems and their GUIs is that they:

1. are slow

2. require too much configuration

3. assume infinitely fast and unlimited connections (for updates, use deltarpm or something _please_!)

4. are buggy