ALFS Status: Past and future [was Re: new guy, newbie questions.]

Rob Landley landley at
Sat Jan 19 01:48:31 PST 2002

On Saturday 19 January 2002 06:17 am, Jesse Tie-Ten-Quee wrote:

> Here! Here! that's the way things should be.  But, is there anything we
> can actually call ALFS anymore?  I don't believe so...

A little background on me: I worked on OS/2's install programs for a couple 
years starting in 1995.  Installing operating systems is something I have a 
bit of experience in. :)

>From what I've seen so far, there seem to be XML descriptions of packages and 
how to install and configure them, from source, via an automated "configure; 
make; make install" process.  There are also tools which parse this XML, and 
do the actual installation.  (One implementation in perl, another in C.) 

This is only about half of a true package management system.  You also need 
to be able to uninstall packages, upgrade existing packages, and to query the 
system for what's installed and information about the configuration of what's 
installed.  Package management needs an inventory database (which could very 
well be XML based, sure).

> One thing that i've noticed in recent momnths is that there's been a
> large number of developers that prefer to write there own
> implementations and projects which are similar to ALFS, but don't feel
> the need to contribute back or don't care where ALFS is going, etc.
> [allthough that fails into play with the previous paragraph, so.. :)]
> I would have figured more developers would have volunteered to help ALFS
> and to work together, contact Gerard ask for permissions and so forth..
> to my knowledge that hasn't happened.

Are their data files compatable with your XML document type definition 
thingy?  (Do you have a standard they're implementating variants of?  If not, 
if you've defined and implemented a standard, would they be willing to change 
to become compatable with it?)

I.E. if gentoo doesn't have package X that Rock Linux has, would it be 
possible to install package X from Rock Linux if it contained a little 
snippet of this XML stuff to tell the package management system how?

> So, as you can see... perhaps that adds a little perspective why ALFS
> may seems to have no documentation, an outdated website or just plain
> unorganized.

Okay, query: What IS the goal?  (Do you want to be a small educational linux 
distribution?  A co-ordination point for other source-based distributions?  
Some kind of test project?)

> Last august, the biggest goal was to move away from the old perl
> implementation, mainly because we had no one to maintain or update it.
> Halfling, the code name for the implementation of ALFS i've been
> writting under C using the libxml2 library is nearly ready to be put
> into CVS.  A few more days of debugging and testing are in needed
> however.

Is the contribution of the ALFS a specific tool, or the standard and a 
collection point for the data files?

> It will, in the next couple of weeks, become the official ALFS
> implementation if it can manage to abide by all the goals and features
> that we want for an initial 1.0 release.
> [goals/features: these are not yet published anywhere yet, so please
> have some patience.. as i know someone is bound to reply asking where
> the may see a list]

I suppose we can all wait a little bit longer... :)

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