Re: Fedora Updates: whole packages vs patches

From: Aleksandar Milivojevic (
Date: 12/09/04

  • Next message: Alexander Dalloz: "Re: Updates for FC3.."
    Date: Thu, 09 Dec 2004 16:10:20 -0600
    To: For users of Fedora Core releases <>

    Rick Wagner wrote:
    > Another problem though, is recreating the base if you remove the patch. So
    > say you install the base: "rpm -Uvh foo1". Then apply the patch: "rpm -Uvh
    > foo1-patch1". This over writes the original libfoo with the new one. What
    > happens if you try to remove foo1-patch1? RPM could refuse, because doing so
    > would delete libfoo, leaving a broken package. It could have maybe
    > squirreled the original away, then put it back. Or maybe request the
    > location of the original package, and restore the needed parts from there.
    > Not insurmountable problems; but not as simple as just shipping patches
    > either.

    Jumping in the discussion late. What OP suggested is basically the way
    patches were handled in Solaris. With exception that they are not named
    foo-patch1, but rater 232187-06 and you are left to guess which
    package(s) that patch will patch ;-)

    Anyhow, all the problems discussed are solvable (and are solved in
    Solaris packaging system). However, the real question is: is it worth
    the trouble implementing the (non-trivial) changes.

    Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. On one hand some
    bandwith is saved, but on the other hand there's complexity to it. On
    Linux you can always back out particular patch revision simply by
    reinstalling appropriate package. On Solaris, you can do the same if
    you had enough disk space to save backout files. If not, it is a dirty
    work to get rid of a patch.

    I guess anybody on dialup would vote for Solaris-style patches approach
    any day (although those can get just as big as original packages). Most
    people with high speed connections would probably opt for simplicity of
    the way it is currently done.

    How about this idea, that would be something like in the middle.
    Implementing a tool that could replace changed files inside binary RPM,
    producing new RPM (with bumped version) as output. That way you can
    either download a patch, or new RPM. If you download the patch, you
    generate new RPM by applying the patch against original distribution
    RPM. The only difference from downloaded updated package would be
    missing signature. This isn't a big deal because there were signatures
    on both the patch and the original RPM, and user can sign resulting RPM
    with his own PGP key. The rest of the patching process is the same as
    now (install updated RPM, either downloaded one, or the one generated
    using the patch).

    Aleksandar Milivojevic <>    Pollard Banknote Limited
    Systems Administrator                           1499 Buffalo Place
    Tel: (204) 474-2323 ext 276                     Winnipeg, MB  R3T 1L7
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