[Nottingham] A newbie speaks... nervously

Martin martin at ml1.co.uk
Thu Nov 27 18:03:40 GMT 2003

Michael Leuty wrote:
> I'm replying as an almost-newbie myself. No doubt one of the big boys
> will correct me if I make too many mistakes.
> You don't have to decide which distro to use in advance, why not try
> several? I certainly have.  :-)   If you have a look at
> www.distrowatch.com you can learn a bit about the many that are
> available, but here is a bit of information that I have learned.
> For the past few years there have been three RedHat-based distros which
> have churned out new versions every six months and which have been
> available to buy in a box or as a free download. They are RedHat itself,
> SUSE and Mandrake.

Good overview summary.

> GNU/Linux programs don't come with nice .EXE installation files. The
> manly way of installing them involves strange incantations including
> "make install", but the RedHat distros use RPM files, which work similar
> to Windows installation files, but don't always find the "dependencies",
> the library files required for the program to run. If the dependency
> isn't on the system, RPM files just say "tough, dependency missing".

There is:

rpm                  (8)  - RPM Package Manager
rpm2cpio             (8)  - Extract cpio archive from RPM Package 
Manager (RPM) package
rpmbuild             (8)  - Build RPM Package(s)
rpmstats             (8)  - print packages usage statistics
urpm                 (3)  - Mandrake perl tools to handle urpmi database
urpmf                (8)  - RPMFind - Finds the RPM package providing 
the specified file
urpmi                (8)  - rpm wrapper making installs easier for the user
urpmi.addmedia [urpmi] (8)  - adds a new rpms media for use with urpmi
urpmi.removemedia [urpmi] (8)  - remove a rpms media from the known 
medias of urpmi
urpmi.update [urpmi] (8)  - Updates packages list for specified medias
urpmq                (8)  - urpmi database query tool

The urpmi/urpm stuff will automatically give you nice dialogs to go and 
automatically get any missing dependancies.

The Mandrake "Software Management" GUI is rather nice and just simply works.

> Apt-get is a more sophisticated system which will go and get the
> required dependencies for you, and also keeps track of what dependencies

> Hope this helps.

Yep. An interesting monologue!

(A good subject for a talk evening???...)


Martin Lomas
martin at ml1.co.uk

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