Are they so different that it’s justified to have so many different distributions? So far I guess that different package manager are the reason that divides the linux community. One may be on KDE and one on GNOME but they can use each other’s packages but usually you are bound to one manager

  • @seitanic@lemmy.sdf.org
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    7 months ago

    You could also ask: “Why are there so many audio formats? Why are there so many video formats?” And so on.

    The reason is different people have different ideas on what is the best way to do things.

    • @RegalPotoo@lemmy.world
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      387 months ago

      And different goals. A large part of why apt is the way it is comes down to the way the Debian project is structured - a project relying on a large number of volunteers vs something like Red Hat where most of the changes come from employees, so has different rules and standards for how packages should be constructed

  • @yoevli@lemmy.world
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    477 months ago

    As another user mentioned, package managers are specific to distributions rather than DEs. The main difference between them is that they’re developed by the respective distribution teams, but there are some practical differences too. For example, apt supports versioned dependencies while pacman doesn’t because of the different distribution models between Debian and Arch (monolithic vs. rolling release). This affects their dependency resolution strategy with each being better suited for it’s respective distribution.

    To address your point about package managers being the main difference between distros, this isn’t quite true. As mentioned, different distros have different distribution models, priorities, and overall biases/opinions that affect the user experience in a variety of ways and make them better suited to different use cases. I would never dream of putting Arch on one of my servers in the same way that you’d probably never catch me installing Debian on my gaming machine.

    • @30p87@feddit.de
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      77 months ago

      never dream of putting Arch on one of my servers in the same way that

      All my devices, including servers and pi, on Arch testing (Only nvidia has fucked me twice):

  • Ramin Honary
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    7 months ago

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the package manager, just worry about whether the distro has a good package repository. If it has all the software you want to use, then use it. In my opinion, most package managers (dnf, apt, pacman, xbmp) are basically the same, and you would only notice a big difference if you ever tried to make your own package for your own software.

    That said, a few package managers are very different from all the rest:

    • Crux OS “prt-get”: simple and stupid: just downloads and installs tar archives.
    • Gentoo “emerge”: builds all software from source code when you install it. This provides some guarantees that the source code was not tampered with by the distro maintainers, this is great if you need to review all of the source code that is running on your system, but terrible for most people who don’t want to spend so much computing power on compiling stuff every time you do a software update.
    • Nix and Guix: creates its own blockchain-like database of isolated package dependency chains on your system, allowing you to instantly roll-back to the previous set of installed packages if you ever install something that breaks your system. It also guarantees that the software can be checked bit-for-bit (using SHA hash) traced back to the exact version and dependencies of the source code that built it. Nix and Guix packages also live peacefully side-by-side with any other package manager since all Nix/Guix apps are completely self-contained within its own database. In a way, it is sort of like one big AppImage or Docker container, but you can just keep adding or removing stuff to it as often as you want.
    • Silverblue, SteamOS, VanillaOS, BlendOS, CarbonOS: distributes “immutable images,” so it is impossible modify the operating system at all. Updates will ship an entirely new operating system with all packages built-in. However you are allowed to install software into your home directory, and you can install FlatPacks and AppImages. This provides a great deal of security in exchange for a tiny bit of inconvenience.

    My personal preference: I use ordinary Debian or Ubuntu to install the critical software that needs to be stable and reliable, and I use Guix OS on the side to install the bleeding-edge things that might break a lot.

    • @dino
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      107 months ago

      I couldn’t disagree more! Package managers are actually the only thing which differentiates distributions by a large margin. Syntax should be intuitive, download/updates fast and reliable. Also when watching git repositories for new software alternatives, you e.g. see often packages for good package managers, whereas you need to go some extra mile for “stable” package managers.

      • Ramin Honary
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        97 months ago

        I wouldn’t worry too much about the package manager, just worry about whether the distro has a good package repository.

        download/updates fast and reliable. Also when watching git repositories for new software alternatives, you e.g. see often packages for good package managers, whereas you need to go some extra mile for “stable” package managers.

        But I would say these are not features of the package manager software, rather they are features of the package repository, that is, the online service that provides the packages. It doesn’t matter if you use Apt, DNF, Pacman, if the package repo is slow, fully of packages that haven’t been built right, the package manager software won’t do much to make it better.

        But like I said, a few package manager are really unique, like Gentoo Emerge, Crux Prt-Get, and Nix and Guix.

        • @dino
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          37 months ago

          Can you decouple a package manager from its repository like that? And even if, is that a real world example?

            • @dino
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              37 months ago

              Ubuntu and Debian differences…don’t see your point here. Nobody in Arch uses apt? Nobody on ubuntu uses pacman. If you use pacman you are using Arch repositories.

              • If you use pacman you are using Arch repositories.

                Incorrect. There is manjaro, but there also is msys2, a windows program with the goal of making linux tools available on windows by recompiling all of them. That’s very far from the arch philosophy and repos.

                And ubuntu and debian have massively different repositories. One of them gives you the actual firefox package, and the other installs firefox via a closed source backend, app store called snap, when you attempt to install firefox using apt.

                And then there is also the version differences, like debian stable is going to have much older software than ubuntu.

                • @dino
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                  27 months ago

                  Thanks for pulling corner cases from dark places… not sure if we misunderstand but my point was as written, you use the package manager/repository which ships with your distro. So the original quote was:

                  I wouldn’t worry too much about the package manager, just worry about whether the distro has a good package repository. Which in my opinion is misleading at best.

    • @msage@programming.dev
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      47 months ago

      Also, bit part of Portage (Gentoo “emerge”) is being able to ‘flag out’ parts of the package out (or in) to the compilation.

      Let’s say you want to not have telemetry in your packages. So you set ‘-telemetry’ globally, and each package that has known telemetry parts will not compile locally - so it can not be turned on (unless it’s hidden really well).

      Or you want to use pulseaudio? You can flag it globally, or for specific packages. That way you can influence software you install without knowing much about anything build-related - the work is done by the repository maintainers.

      They won’t be able to pry Gentoo from my cold dead hands. Arch, Nix/Guix can suck it, all my money goes to the Gentoo

      • @Sunrosa@lemmy.world
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        47 months ago

        From what I’ve heard compiling locally also allows for hardware optimizations specific to your system, though that may be false, as I’ve never used gentoo.

        • @msage@programming.dev
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          47 months ago

          Sure, but such optimizations won’t usually matter a lot. I have no hard data on that, but would still prefer having smaller binaries from removing unnecessary BS to having CPU optimizations.

          Fortunately I got both ^^ And the system feels a lot more responsive to Ubuntu, but I never ran any benchmarks to prove that.

          • @Sunrosa@lemmy.world
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            37 months ago

            Yeah the smaller binaries is a big part too. I bet it feels like having your system hand-crafted just for you

            • @msage@programming.dev
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              37 months ago

              It does. Unfortunately I don’t spend as much time on my PC lately.

              Also I still use binary blobs like Steam.

  • @flashgnash@lemm.ee
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    317 months ago

    Oh no, there are 5 package managers out there and they’re all wildly different

    I know! I’ll make a standard, universal package manager that’ll be better than all the others that everyone will use!

    There are now 6 different package managers

  • @AProfessional@lemmy.world
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    237 months ago

    The package manager is really only a small part of the story.

    A distro at the end of the day is a API/ABI platform. What makes Debian what it is, is that it has a specific set of old unmoving packages. What makes Arch is that it has the latest APIs always. And everything in between like Fedora.

    So even if Fedora used dpkg it wouldn’t change anything, you can’t use its packages on Debian.

    As to why so many exist… well a lot of them suck in their own unique way.

    • @Vilian@lemmy.ca
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      117 months ago

      As to why so many exist… well a lot of them suck in their own unique way.

      lmao, true

    • @iopq@lemmy.world
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      67 months ago

      Except in NixOS, it’s literally a distro built around a package manager. But it doesn’t force you to choose, you can have both unstable and stable packages

      • @AProfessional@lemmy.world
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        37 months ago

        Yeah modern usage in general involves silo’d ABIs, be it Flatpak, Nix, Docker/Podman. Modern languages even try to move away from any ABI.

        Of course there are upsides and downsides to the traditional approach.

        • @lolcatnip@reddthat.com
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          37 months ago

          Modern languages even try to move away from any ABI.

          I wouldn’t put it that way. In the case of Rust, it seems everyone wants to have a stable ABI for a number of reasons (e.g. making dynamic linking possible without FFI), but the core developers feel like the ABI is still too unstable to commit to anything.

          • @AProfessional@lemmy.world
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            7 months ago

            In my experience a lot of Rust developers love the lack of shared libraries and bundling everything, viewing it as a huge win. Maybe someday it will support it but I feel it will be less commonly relied on.

            • @lolcatnip@reddthat.com
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              7 months ago

              I’ve seen that sentiment but I think it’s more a matter of people making excuses for Rust and not wanting to admit that it has any shortcomings compared to C++.

              It’s the same mentality that leads C++ developers to defend things like header files.

  • @lolcatnip@reddthat.com
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    157 months ago

    I think a lot of what drives the creation of redundant open source tools is that the urge to address a matter of personal taste meets the urge to start a new project, so people create new things that are different in key ways from older ones, but not necessarily better, and not necessarily even different enough to justify the amount of work that goes into them.

    In some ways it feels a lot easier to start a new project then to build off an existing one:

    • You don’t have to familiarize yourself with the old code, which may be in a language you don’t know or don’t like

    • You don’t have to deal with the existing maintainers, who may or may not be supportive of the changes you want to make

    • You don’t have to support use cases that don’t matter to you personally

  • @Drito@sh.itjust.works
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    7 months ago

    Some differences can be explained. Pacman was created after the Debian package manager (I guess that because Debian is older than Arch) . It is justified because Pacman is faster than Apt. But its too much work to replace Apt by Pacman comparing to the benefits.

    But in some cases I don’t know why. As instance I wonder why a distro, such as Void, created its own package manager instead of using the Alpine one. If Alpine is younger than Void, invert the sentence of course.

        • @khorovodoved@lemm.ee
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          7 months ago

          It is extremely fast and simple. Also, it has its own “aur”, called xbps-src. But nowadays void is not just xbps, it is also defined by runit (which is also extremely fast and simple) and minimalist dependencies (you will have to manually install many things, that other distributions ship reinstalled, in case you need them. By the way, if you prefer GUI package manager, there is octoxbps (not an advantage of xbps, but you might want that when you try void linux).

          • @mrbaby@lemmy.world
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            27 months ago

            Nice! I’m coming from arch with systemd so it’ll be interesting to play around with runit too. Definitely going to give it a tinker.

            Thanks for the info!

  • CyclohexaneM
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    137 months ago

    Some package managers do have differences that justify a separate project (nix, gentoo’s portage, etc).

    For others, sometimes package managers are very similar feature-wise. But some developers would rather remake the thing because they would understand their code a lot better than someone else’s. Or because it would be far easier for them to customize rather than extend another project.

    Imo it is developer laziness. Being able to use other people’s work is a valuable skill. But then again, this is open source, and people are free to develop the software they want the way they want.

  • @s_s@lemm.ee
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    7 months ago

    Because linux runs on an incredible amount of platforms with an incredible amount of hardware targets and platform goals.

    It runs on every supercomputer and every raspberry pi and every android phone, as well as most web servers and almost every steamdeck.

    Use cases are so dramatically different there will always be multiple distributions with their own needs for package managers.

  • @recarsion
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    127 months ago

    Because people will never agree on a single one, and it’s FOSS so nothing is forced. I for one am glad I don’t have to use apt because I prefer pacman, just as I am glad someone who doesn’t want to use an Arch-derivative has Debian and apt to fall back on.

    • @digger@lemmy.ca
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      27 months ago

      Hi, that’s me! I’ve been using apt and Debian derivatives for 17 years. Bookworm is fantastic!

  • WasPentalive
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    107 months ago

    There are many different “X” because people have different tastes in their choice of “X”. I like KDE, the next guy likes Gnome. I like Apt, but I might like whatever NIXOS uses, others like Yum or DNF. I kinda like the idea behind GoboLinux, probably because I was a MAC OSx user for a long while.

  • Captain Beyond
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    7 months ago

    Any “why are there too many X’s on Linux” (where X is package manager, desktop environment, init system etc) appear to stem from the silly assumption that there happens to be an already built operating system called Linux and all these people are forking it and putting in their own stuff for the sake of their own egos and nothing else.

    When really, the answer fundamentally boils down to either one of two things: either it doesn’t exist yet, or the existing solution fails to meet a need. Linux, itself, is merely a kernel; it didn’t come with a package manager or desktop environment. Those things all had to be made by separate parties and there isn’t always agreement on how best to do them.

    As a Guix user, I believe the Guix package manager has advantages over “traditional” GNU/Linux package managers, as well as other so-called “universal package managers” such as Flatpak.

  • Quazatron
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    107 months ago

    Diversity generates competition that drives innovation. Also, people mostly work on what they like and use what they like. Although it certainly spreads resources on duplicate projects, you can’t force people to work or use your personal favourite. You’ll get used to it.