mether's Fedora Blog

Random thoughts, usually on Fedora

Source tarballs do not exist

Once upon a time. long long ago, there was a distribution called Red Hat Linux. Red Hat Linux had only a small number of packages directly maintained by Red Hat and useful for its customers but a lot of Red Hat Linux users were not customers. They were enthusiasts who played with a lot more software and needed them packaged. Third party repositories sprang to address their needs. They served a good purpose. Unfortunately the packaging guidelines, tooling, process and community were all different and splintered. Repositories conflicted with each other. Red Hat Linux gave away to Fedora. Fedora only included free and open source software. With the merge of core and extras back in Fedora 7, the repository grew in leaps and bounds and life was great but for proprietary software and free but patent encumbered software, it was still a bad situation with repository conflicts and user confusion. RPM Fusion (and Livna with just libdvdcss) finally addressed that problem.

Five years later, there is rarely a piece of software that I need that isn’t already available in the repositories and as a user, source tarballs do not exist for me anymore. If you are a starting a new free and open source project, make sure it gets into the major distribution repositories quickly. If your software doesn’t exist in the repository, it might as well just not exist. That’s the value of packaging and convenience. Pay attention to this or nobody will care about your project.

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Written by mether

July 23, 2009 at 3:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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