[Techtalk] Chicken

Telsa Gwynne hobbit at aloss.ukuu.org.uk
Sat Nov 16 14:41:42 EST 2002

On Fri, Nov 15, 2002 at 08:01:24AM -0500 or thereabouts, Andrew wrote:
> Hi Telsa G,

Just Telsa is fine. 

Sorry about the length. I would definitely try to avoid quoting
this entire message if you can: just quote any bits you want to
reply to.

> 	I am using Mandrake 8.2 and it (aspell ect) is the "stock/standard"
> location to which I am refering to. No action has yet been taken.
> Package I have is from tar, now temporarily unpacked on the KDE

The only sane-sounding way I can find to reconcile these two 
comments is that you currently have aspell-0.33 installed from 
an rpm and aspell-0.50 present as a tarball which you want to

> "Desktop".  I found a RPM package build for RedHat and thought source
> might be better.  Using rpm on this machine gives me the "package
> already installed" error, repeatedly, with a dozen packages I have
> tried. 

You should not get "package already installed" with the command I
suggested, "rpm -q aspell". That was to find out whether it was
there and provided by rpm. You generally get that message when you
do "rpm --install (rpm -i)". It's hardly an error, btw. It is 

What other dozen packages do you need to (re-)install for aspell? 
Asking around, I find there are some "migration issues" between
older aspells and the more recent ones, and that consequently the
upgrade is rather more tricky than you might want. I imagine
these issues are due to the fact that aspell is becoming an official
GNU package, and that they are reorganising all the files within
the package. I didn't know this before. I just got curious and
typed aspell into Google. 

Or are you simply having trouble using rpm in general? 

> I find rpm less than usefull.

rpm is hard to get used to at first. I could never remember which
commands wanted a packagename ("foo") as an argument; which commands 
wanted a the filename as an argument (foo-1.2-4.(i386|src).rpm, with
a pathname in front); and which commands wanted a path to a file
as an argument (/usr/lib/foo/foolib.so.2).

Once you have got used to that, rpm is very very useful indeed.
The important thing with any package management system is to use
it properly (ie, don't use --force, don't use --nodeps, and don't
use --justdb as a way to make it think dependences are satisfied);
and to draw a clear line between what's package-managed and what's

Most of the GUI front-ends are very useful for this, because they
won't allow you to do things that break stuff. Red Carpet, the Ximian 
package manager, checks your rpm database is intact and consistent
before doing anything. When it was first released, there were many
many complaints from people who had used --force and --nodeps too
much that Red Carpet said there was a problem. Red Carpet was
right :)

The other advantage of GUI front-ends to rpm is that you don't
have to remember all the options. The only reason I do is because
I met them when there weren't any good GUI tools, so I had to.

Speaking of which...

> 	So you are suggesting using rpm --remove foo instead of uninstall y/n.
> Is it --remove or --erase? 

Re-read my message which you included at the bottom. (And which 
I removed for the sake of bandwidth.) I did not suggest --remove
because that is not an rpm option. The command is rpm --erase. 
There will also be a way to do it through rpmdrake. I presume 
this is what you are talking about when you mention "uninstall y/n". 
If that is indeed from rpmdrake, then either way will work.

> 	And if using the source, should I modify something to get 
> it to put it in "/usr/share/foo" to keep the existing links. I 
> ask, because this is where "mandrake" put aspell, ispell, pspell

There is a standard set of places where different sorts of files
should go. They are described in the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard
( http://www.pathname.com/fhs/ ). You do not -have- to follow it,
but both this and long-standing tradition suggest that applications
built on a machine from a tarball should go in /usr/local. I have
not looked at aspell, but this location is generally the default
for most tarballs. I would definitely not alter where it lives
unless you are very sure you know what you are doing. 

It is, in my experience, a bad idea to start putting packages from
tarballs into the same places as packages from package-management

So I would leave it alone. Read the README and if it says it will
go into /usr/local, let it. However, see below..

> 	Mandrake is basicaly RedHat I am told. Where the diffferences are is
> beyond me. I am just begining to understand how some of this works... So

Once upon a time, Mandrake was "Red Hat plus KDE and more languages".
I don't think it's fair to Mandrake or to Red Hat to say the same
now. I haven't looked at Mandrake in ages, but examples of differences
are: the default MTA (Postfix on Mandrake, sendmail on Red Hat); the
printing system (CUPS on Mandrake, LPRng on Red Hat); the range of
languages supported; the appearance of the desktop/s (Red Hat makes
them very similar; Mandrake doesn't); the updating system (up2date
for Red Hat; something-I-don't-know for Mandrake); apt-get-like
front ends to rpm (it's not shipped by RH but other people maintain
rpm-apt repositories for recent RH releases; Mandrake have urpmi);
hardware support.

There are similarities, yes: both distros are committed to 
free software; both distros make huge amounts of things available
via ftp; both distros are going for FHS-compliance; and both distros 
have a penchant for including new things early on. 

But they're not the same.

> if I somehow change the destination of make (or config?) it should
> install where I and Mandrake want in /usr/share??? and.. and the links
> (to the many programs that use aspell) should stay intact??? 
> 	I am going from 0.33 to 0.50

I hope this doesn't come across badly. But "if I somehow change the
destination" sounds as if you're not sure how you'd go about it. If
that's the case, right now, I'd suggest not trying to change it.

I don't know what links you're talking about.

Do you mean the output of " file `rpm -ql aspell` | grep 'link ' "? 
This shows you all the files provided by the aspell rpm which the
"file" command thinks are symlinks. I see four. 

I would not mess with any of those, personally.

I am curious why you're trying to upgrade aspell, and why you're
going for tarballs when you're on a distro which uses package
management. Mandrake have a reputation for packaging and repackaging
things rapidly as the original package changes. I'd just wait for
them to figure out how to package the new version of aspell neatly
and then get that. 

In fact, rpmfind (http://fr.rpmfind.net/) lists several beta-versions
of it already! There they are: for Mandrake, available via cooker,
seemingly. Someone else will have to explain the cooker "distro". 
Not being a Mandrake user, I don't know much about it. But my best 
guess would be, if you don't want to upgrade to whatever you need 
for that, get the .src.rpm, then rebuild it. I am sure Mandrake 
have instructions in their manuals or on their website about that. 


rpmfind search results are most-recently-released-first, so what 
you want is right at the top. 

After comments from friends about fairly sweeping aspell changes, 
and after looking at the webpage for it, I think I am totally
unqualified to answer any more questions on the subject of upgrading
aspell. I would suggest either the mandrake lists or the aspell
lists. The changes look fairly extensive, and that's the sort
of thing I like my distro to sort out for me. 

I would _definitely_ get the rpm: either the src.rpm and rebuild
it for Mandrake 8.2 (or whatever you're on), or wait for the 
binary rpm for it to arrive. (To answer something I didn't touch
earlier: no, it is not a good idea to stick rpms designed for 
a different distro -- or even for a later version of the distro 
you have -- onto your machine. Or at least, whenever I try, things
break horribly.)


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