[Beowulf] wajig for Ubuntu/Debian package management

Andrew Piskorski atp at piskorski.com
Fri Feb 15 15:57:49 PST 2008

On Fri, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:45:45PM -0500, Joe Landman wrote:
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] centos5 as cluster os
> Tim Cutts wrote:

> >apt-file : not installed by default, but phenomenally useful - it's dpkg 
> >-S for stuff that isn't installed yet.  So if you want to ask "what 
> >package do I need to install to supply this obscure header file", 
> >apt-file can tell you.
> Will have to play with it.

Those are good hints...

Debian and Ubuntu have excellent package management functionality and
and repositories (as good or better than any other major Linux or Unix
distribution, AFAIK), but strangely, by default they have no
consistent API or command set for using it.  Therefore, I recommend
trying out wajig:

  sudo apt-get install wajig

It's really just a wrapper (in Python) around all the same underlying
command-line tools, but in my limited use of it so far, it seems
noticeably more convenient than the traditional bizarre, non-orthogonal
mishmash of apt-get, dpkg, apt-cache, apt-file, etc.
(I don't know if/how it compares to aptitude, I've never used that.)

The Debian package management tools don't seem to have any sane
programming API, but so far I haven't really needed that (and wajig
manages to do without).

Their only other major flaw that I'm aware of, is that, just like all
the rpm based tools, you can only have one single version of a binary
package installed at a time (yuck!).  Perhaps one day, the sort of
tools the NixOS and DragonFly BSD folks are working on will fix that.


Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com>

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