Written by ELO

Words are Everything.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

On A Red Carpet Ride......

One of the nagging drawbacks of using a Linux Distribution (insiders called them Distros) was the pain in installing new packages NOT from the Distro manufacturer.

Few distros had a well thought out program to get at this wealth of "other" programs (read: made for another Distro).

Red Hat started packaging their offerings in a container called RPM (Redhat Package Manager) which worked fine if you were running Redhat. Other distros would have a tough time dealing with a Linux annoyance called "Dependencies". Helper programs needed to install the RPM program.

Debian Linux came up with a program called APT GET. An Application Program Getter that downloaded the RPM file needed from a special Debian Repository that would also get All the necessary Dependencies in one fell swoop.

This was excellent for Debian users. In fact, they often bragged about "apt-get" being package management grown up, all the other stuff out there was still kid's stuff.

By and large, Debian was right. The Other package management tools for distros Other than Red Hat (and Fedora) and Debian were pretty much a crap-shoot.

Along came a prgram from Ximian called Red Carpet that used a Special Repository for their RPM's and had the smarts to install missing dependencies. The Tool became so rock-solid that Novell SUSE, the new owners of Ximian, sells an optimized version of Red Carpet to Corporate accounts called Novell's ZENworks Linux Management.

What about the rest of us?

Well most distros now include a version of Red Carpet, especially Suse Linux, my distro. So I had to check it out to see if it worked as advertised.

Red Carpet is a two part program, a server which can be loaded at boot time, and a client you use to communicate with the software repository (In this case, SUSE rpms).

One of the console commands available to the client was an update and install checker for my suse distro. I typed in the client commands "rug up" and 24 minutes later my distrobution had installed and updated over 200 megs of software.

This was unbelievable.

There will be an update on this program called Red Carpet, an Open Source plugin that let's you access a depository "other" than the one setup for "Your" distro. The Plugin is called "Open Carpet", stay tuned....