Re: pros/cons of installing from source

On 5/3/07, Greg Folkert <greg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Thu, 2007-05-03 at 22:38 -0600, Javier Vasquez wrote:
> On 5/3/07, Greg Folkert <greg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > ...
> > > ...
> Nope, aptitude offers you the dependencies the distro developer
> specifies (not just the application developer), some of them are
> recommendations, some of them are strictly required. When you are to
> compile the application yourself, you can find that even things
> strictly required by a binary distro are really not. The reason is
> that the distro developer compiled using a particular library for
> example, when he/she could have used another or none. So on binary
> distros one has 2 levels of non optional dependencies I believe, the
> ones set by the original package developer, and the ones set by the
> distro developer for the package. This is not true on sourceMage, not
> sure on gentoo (it looks like people immediately thinks of gentoo when
> talking about source based distros) since I don't know about it, and
> it's just because the only really required dependencies on sourceMage
> by policy are the ones set by the original package developer.
> Whether this makes a difference or not, it depends on the system one
> wants to get.

I specifically picked "gd" for that very reason. It supports eleventy
options. The reason I picked it, is because the linked set of libraries
for Debian pulls in some xlibs on even cursor based systems.

Basically the changelog said something like:

"the linking of the code against xlibs, only slightly increases
the pull in of files amounting to 72KiB, these days this small
amount of disk space does not matter. The performance is not
affected in any way, but allows for 98% coverage and reduces
package count by 12 flavors. If you must have no xlibs, compile
it yourself without it."

Which, to be honest, is the exact same reason people "restore or rebuild
classic cars" or heavily customize the "ricers" they own, or build thier
own house or hand craft the Linux Distro of their choice.

> I might be wrong though about how debian package developers compile
> things though, I'm not one, and it might be that there's a policy to
> keep as required dependencies only the ones set by upstream, but I'm
> not aware of it.

There is the Debian Developers Guide and the Debian Free software Guide.
These BOTH have an effect on the Original Source code. BTW, you do know
that *EXCEPT* for non-free pieces (like non-source firmware and binary
blobs) that Debian include *.orig.tar.gz for everything? They also have
a *.diff.tar.gz... so following your comment about "keeping upstream
untouched as much as possible" is not-genuine. Debian does this, but at
the same time folowing the DFSG.

> As a side note, something I liked from sourceMage was its policy of
> keeping upstream code untouched as much as possible. I don't know of
> any binary distro trying to keep up with that. However this is beyond
> the discussion since there's a lot to talk about that, just something
> to mention, :).

I mentioned Debian Policy (Set forth by the Debian Free Software Guide)
as being the BEST reason to run Debian Linux... or Debian FreeBSD or
Debian period.

> For anything else I agree. Just wanted to clarify a bit further about
> the dependencies comment. For not compiling the kernel as a
> suggestion, well, again it depends (I don't totally agree). For a
> regular user with 40GB of HD or more, there's no problem on having a
> blotted set of modules he/she will never use. If you have limited HD,
> you'd like to compile only what you need, and not everything so far
> supported by the kernel (besides you get more tunned configuration at
> the same time for free if you want, I provided the pentium M example,
> but I bet there are more, like the kind of pre-emption, the frequency,
> etc, not that one gets better performance, but that one gets the right
> tunned configuration for the system, and not just a blotted generic
> one). Same thing applies to other packages. One might want to remove
> any gnome/QT dependency as much as possible, one might not support
> some graphics libraries although required for the general purpose,
> etc.

Good enough, I could pick, but won't. :-P

> ...

I am fully up on Gentoo. I like its handling, its tools for helping in
dealing with packaging and other features... specifically not using
upstart (at the moment) and other pieces that traditional UNIX systems
have more in common with it. Gentoo is very friendly, it is just picky
about its friends.

> Please, if I'm completely wrong about my comments on dependencies, let
> me know. Maybe there's a debian policiy talking about this (is there
> a pointer?) that I'm not aware of, and I was just talking non sense,
> :).

The Debian Social Contract and the DFSG is located:

The Developer's Guide is located:

Specifically though if you want to really read on policy:

It ain;t short, but it will help you understand things like we have been
greg, greg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

You mentioned debian commitment to FSF and its social contract, as
very good reasons by themselves to run debian. I totally agree.
However debian is not the only distro with such commitment. Actually
sourceMage picked debian social contract and modified it a bit...

For some reason I found the social contract and the gentoo faq even
more enlightening than the "about" link... There's a strong
commitment to FSF, and to what debian would call "main" stream. It
also includes release branches...

I've never looked at the whole debian policy stuff, only some parts.
And I've never even looked at the developers stuff. The developers
documentation might clarify things further... Not a quick task

I won't further comment. By now I think whoever is interested on pros
and cons should have an idea of what they are, and if still wanting
more info, some links were provided for that purpose. Of course one
tends to talk by experience. But that also means that to generate a
strong criteria, one needs to try things out and see what one gets.
BTW, if for some reason one disagrees with the binary distro package
developer, there's nothing stopping one to compile/install/configure
the package from upstrem, and still keep on using the binary distro
(I'm still not sure if the original question was intended to discuss
about what one might get out of a source based distro, or just about
compiling vs just downloading/installing instead).


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