[Beowulf] best linux distribution

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Oct 8 10:29:23 PDT 2007

On Mon, 8 Oct 2007, Tony Travis wrote:

> What I like about APT (the Debian package manager) is the dependency checking 
> and conflict resolution capabilities of "aptitude", which is more robust than 
> the older "apt-get". I previously ran Red Hat 5.3->9 and I've used both 
> "up2date" and "yum". Neither of these is as capable of resolving package 
> conflicts and dependencies as APT. I used APT for RPM when I ran RH9 for 
> exactly this reason.
> In my opinion, the package management system is a very important factor to 
> take into account when choosing a distribution, as well as the range of tried 
> and tested binary packages that are available. In that respect, Debian/Ubuntu 
> has a lot to recommend it.

It is worth noting that (while yes, up2date sucks and has always sucked)
yum in FC 7 is a far, far cry from yum in RH 9.  Dependency hell is
always a bad thing, but very, very few people have experienced it with
yum since maybe FC 4 or 5, if not earlier.  With "enhanced" Fedora (the
base distro, updates, and either "extras" for <7 and/or add-on repos
like livna) one almost never encounters a package that doesn't just
install, pulling dependencies as needed perfectly.  When one DOES
encounter a problem it is 9 times out of 10 the fault of the
RPM-builder, not yum.  Neither yum not apt can actually control the
builder of the packages they manage, they can only do their best with
the dependencies those packages request.  It is always possible to do
stupid things like insert circular references or requirements for
packages that aren't in the distro, and it isn't fair to blame the
package manager when those packages fail.


> 	Tony.

Robert G. Brown
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
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