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Re: [vox-tech] gentoo's "portage" vs. debian's "apt-get"
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Re: [vox-tech] gentoo's "portage" vs. debian's "apt-get"



On Tue, Nov 04, 2003 at 09:06:14AM -0800, Jonathan Stickel wrote:
> It is time for me to move away from RedHat.  At the moment, I am 
> considering Gentoo and Debian (with the libranet installer).
> 
> A distribution specific feature I consider important is the method for 
> installing and updating software.  I know that Debian uses "apt-get", 
> and I have seen a number of posts on this list with apt-get examples. 
> Gentoo's website advertises "portage" as its method for installing and 
> updating, using the "emerge" command.
> 
> I'd like to hear (concisely) pros/cons of these two methods; whether 
> they just work, or if they require some tinkering; and the availability 
> of software through each.
> 
> Please avoid "but my distro is best" responses ;-)

I use Debian, and I find that apt-get does an excellent job of 
dependancy management, partly because of the ability of apt-get and 
partly because of Debian's packaging policy. 

If you are using Debian stable or Debian testing, then you will always 
be able to install any package in the Debian repository using apt-get.  
If you are using Debian unstable, this is where developers sort out 
package dependancies, so it doesn't always work as well as in testing or 
stable, but I've only had packages wind up on hold (because they don't 
have the appropriate dependancies) or had packages that apt-get wanted 
to remove that I wanted to keep about 3 to 5% of the time.

The disadvantage is that software in stable is frozen as-of the last 
release 15 months ago. Software form unstable is moved into testing 
according to rules approximately as follows:
 * package has been in Testing for 10 days
 * package has been compiled for all 11 architectures
 * package has less (or equal) release critical bugs than the one in 
   testing already
 * all of the dependancies of this package are in testing, and the 
   package will not break dependancies of a package already in testing 
   (unless that package will be upgraded at the same time)
The net effect of this is that package is about 15 to 20 days old, but 
some more important packages can hold up a lot of packages from entering 
testing. (For example, glibc updates in unstable can keep packages from 
entering testing for a long time until glibc gets upgraded in testing, 
another example is the Gnome-1 to Gnome-2 upgrade where Gnome-2 had to 
be pretty much completely working before any of it entered testing - 
that took months.)


Debian has a very good bug-tracking system. Just use the reportbug 
command in the reportbug package, and you can submit a bug and you will 
be emailed with all of the discussions. You don't need a login like for 
bugzilla, just submit and get tracking information. Look at 
bugs.debian.org to see how this works.

A downside: there's no corporation behind Debian, so some complex things 
can take a long time to get upgraded. They're still testing out XFree 
4.3 for example, not yet ready to upload it into Debian/unstable.

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