swpkg - Software Packaging

What is swpkg?
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swpkg is a collection of tools based on a fairly simple philosophy and designed to simplify the management of third party software packages including their inter-dependencies. These tools cover every aspect of building, installing and maintaining software packages and include the ability of having multiple versions of a single software package installed concurrently.

In a nutshell, each software is installed in a separate directory, and symbolic links are used to populate common directories (typically /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/sbin, ..) which are then referenced by users (in their PATH and so on). The directories where the software actually lives are never referenced directly by users.

Along with its basic ideas, swpkg tries to promote a number of principles in the form of guidelines and methods to improve the quality of third party software locally installed every day by system administrators around the world. The value of these should be easy to appreciate to most, even if those who have been lucky enough to never inherit systems with a huge /usr/local containing hundreds of software installed over many years by many different people, some packages for which sources are long lost.

While things may seem overly complicated or obscure at first, once understood, the "swpkg philosophy" is fairly easy to apply. In particular, for the vast majority of third party (and in particular free) software, setup and installation is as straight forward as if you were installing them directly in /usr/local. For some other packages, a little thinking and extra work is required.

Again, this is all intended to save what can easily be hours of future headaches.


© 2001-2008 - Christophe Kalt