porting fai to rpm distributions: s/apt/smartpm/g?

Axel Thimm Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
Tue Jul 5 12:24:20 CEST 2005


I've been discussing with Henning^2 on what is needed to port fai to
rpm-based distributions (my personal target is RHEL). It looks like
the main distribution specific tasks to solve are to prepare the base
chroot and the use of the depsolver. I have already played with fcopy
in kickstart's %post scripts, and was very pleased to see my Red Hat
going classes :)

Preparing the base chroot is probably the easier part. I'm a bit
worried about the depsolver.

Currently fai uses apt, which does perform OK and is Debian's
depsolver tool of choice. I've been an apt-rpm fan for quite some
years now, but I see the project aging and not being maintainable
anymore (at least the apt-rpm port).

Other than a couple of apt bugs that can be worked around there is the
problem of apt not handling multilib systems properly (this is package
system independent). This means that apt cannot cope with multiple
instance of the same package (name) but with different
architectures. E.g. apt will not accept a glibc package for i386 and
x86_64 on the same box. This has rather killed apt as the preferred
depsolver in distributions shipping mixed 32/64 bit systems like Red
Hat/Fedora for instance.

Now, this is not a suggestion to start a multiple backend architecture
for fai to support apt-dpkg, apt-rpm, yum, up2date and
whatever. Instead I thing the solution is already there in the form of
the smart package manager (already in Sarge):


It works with deb, rpm (and even slackware packages) and can plug to
all major repo formats, from Debian's apt-deb , over rpm's apt-rpm,
metadata, urpmi etc. It does abstrahize all package format details
from the user.

It can also be used to initiate and populate chroots, which would be
quite helpful for creating the different base.tgzs.

The drawback is that replacing apt with smart in fai could be a
non-trivial task. Although smart has kept the typical parts of apt's
cli, fai uses apt's perl bindings, something which does not exist for
smart (smart is writen in python BTW).

Nevertheless, I wanted to drop this idea in this forum and make some
propaganda about smart. smart could be a good idea for fai/debian even
w/o thinking about portability, but it would be a vital step to
unleash fai onto the rpm world, too.</propaganda>

smart is currently in Debian Sarge, but if you want to give it a test,
please use the version in Edge, as the one in Sarge is already quite
outdated. Not relevant for fai's purposes, but smart even comes with a
synaptic-like GUI.
Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
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