How to clean up apt-get

Michael Torrie torriem at
Sat Sep 17 09:32:22 MDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-09-16 at 09:36 -0600, Tyler Strickland wrote:
> On 09/16/2005 12:23 AM, Steve wrote:
> > I remember dependency hell.  It's a vague and distant, yet unpleasant 
> > memory.
> > Thank heaven for Gentoo ;)
> Fortunately, since moving from RedHat 9 to Debian a few years ago, 
> dependency hell has been a rare thing, and when it does happen it's 
> generally easy to fix.  Back in the RedHat days, though...  The day my 
> distaste for RPM's reached its peak was the day I had to download a 
> package from CPAN to satisfy an RPM dependency.  I have had no desire to 
> run an RPM-based distrobution since then.  Ich.  Just thinking about it 
> gives me chills.

I guess I'm a weird one then.  I have had an order of magnitude worse
dependency hell with debian than any redhat distro.  Invariably I want
something newer than a package that debian has, but when I try to switch
repositories and upgrade it, I run into all sorts of dependency
problems.  Compounded with the fact that on different platforms the
debian packages may or may not be stable (sparc support for unstable was
spotty for example).  On my linode I wanted to upgrade to apache 2 and
php 4.3 (over a year ago), and trying to accomplish this with debian was
a nightmare.  I've since switched to RHEL (CentOS).

No wonder you hate RPMs so much.  You can't possibly satisfy an RPM
dependency with a CPAN package.  Things are much better there now that
someone has build a standardized build system to convert CPAN packages
to RPMS.  For the last 2 years I've found 99.99 percent of everything I
needed for FC from one of the 4 apt/yum repositories I use.

Dependency hell is definitely not a redhat phenomena.  *Any* package
system whether it be dpkg or rpm will suffer from it.  How bad the
symptoms are depends on how well the packages are maintained.
Fortunately FC these days does a very good job at this.  As far as I can
tell dpkg === rpm.  Only Gentoo's approach seems in any way novel.
Ideally the package system should be able to look at the entire system
and take into account files from any source (dpkg, rpm, cpan, or from
source) and try to solve it.  Of course that is probably NP complete.


> --Tyler
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Michael Torrie <torriem at>

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