xfce Package Manager

Tim Tassonis timtas at cubic.ch
Sun Oct 19 17:51:14 CEST 2014

On October 19, 2014 4:09:18 PM Anders F Björklund <afb at algonet.se> wrote:

> Tim Tassonis wrote:
> >> I'm not sure what the world needs most is yet another package manager,
> >> but if you want some ideas you can take a look at the Smart project ?
> >
> > You're probably dead right, but I'm writing one anyway, for educational 
> purposes and because I'm about to create my own distro. Now, that's 
> definitely what the world has been waiting for, I know...
> Right, it seems that for some reason every distribution needs another
> package manager. Or for that matter, another software packaging effort.

Well, it seems to me that a lot of distributions are either based on 
dpkg/apt or rpm/yum. The way I see it, apt and yum are basically frontends 
to dpkg and rpm that allow you to resolve dependencies and download 
packages from repositories. I really would like to have another approach to 
that: I have one program for managing the local package inventory that has 
the ability to use a loadable package catalogue that will provide functions 
to search for packages, to refresh the catalogue and to get the ones 
needed. The catalogues are pluggable. That really allows me to have one 
interface for everything instead of two, as in dpkg/apt. I hate the 
switching of interfaces in apt/dpkg depending on what I want to do, and 
rpm/yum is just the same.

> Efforts like PackageKit are all about trying to "hide" the diversity.
> and not about using similar packaging format or one package repository.
> If you look at the main distributions, even _finding_ the packages is
> getting harder. It's all about "apps" these days, and bundling the deps.
> Some take the view that if you want to see details, you need the CLI.
> The GUI is about abstraction, and providing a "store" with reviews etc.

Well, my solution should allow the same detail for the gui as for the 
command line.

> Personally, I think many like Synaptic for same reasons they like Xfce.
> And that is why many Xfce distributions come with a Synaptic-like tool.

Yes, I'm all into that as well. I will look into synaptic and slapt-get. 
C++ is ok, too, I just don't want too many runtime dependencies, that's why 
python and perl stuff are out of scope for me.
> >> It is currently written in Python, though, so it might not fit your
> >> requirements. But it presents a GTK+ interface, on top of rpm and deb.
> >>
> >> http://github.com/smartpm/smart
> >>
> >> There's also a panel plugin, for displaying update status in the panel.
> >> So that you know when there are updates available. It's over on Goodies.
> >>
> >> http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/panel-plugins/xfce4-smartpm-plugin
> >
> > Sounds nice, apart from the python part.
> The panel plugin is in C, but on the other hand not updated in years...
> Not that the main project is either, the whole idea of cross-distro died.
> >> In the old days you would run the entire application with setuid/gksudo,
> >> but that is not allowed anymore (being a security risk, running as root)
> >
> > Do you mean that this doesn't work anymore, or that it's just 
> discouraged? I wouldn't mind the latter.
> Think that depends on your distro, but at least in GTK2 it still "works".
> It is discouraged, but not prevented. See http://www.gtk.org/setuid.html

Thanks for the link, I read that. My mind is not totally made up on this 
yet, but the two-tier approach would be fine with me as well and not too 
difficult to implement, as my program already allows for specifying 
uninterruptable behaviour and different output formats of package lists and 
package details, so I guess, that will make it easy for the different calls 
to it to be integrated into a gui.

> > Well, thanks a lot for your help, that will certainly give me a lot to 
> look at.
> I don't think that an "official" Package Manager is within scope of Xfce ?
> But it would still be "nice to have" a simple GTK+ frontend to PackageKit.
Definetely. But I'm creating an own distribution with xfce as the gui, 
that's why I asked on this list. To me, xfce is, and has been for years, 
the absolutely perfect choice of gui. I just generally replace Thunar with 
pacman as filemanager.

Thanks again for all your help!
> --anders
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