Packaging Erlang (was: Longstanding issues: structs & standalone Erlang)

Douglas Philips <>
Mon Feb 20 16:31:52 CET 2006

On 2006 Feb 20, at 6:39 AM, Romain Lenglet wrote:

> Perhaps we have not been clear.
> ...

> I believe that an ambiguity in this thread lies in the confusion
> between the roles of developers, packagers and users, who have
> different needs and problems.
> You are a final user? Very well, you should not have to deal with
> the installation of GNU make or anything like that, and a
> packager should have made a package readily usable for you.
> That's right.

Thank you for making this explicit, since I certainly was not seeing  
that "the packagers" were seeing that distinction. :-)

The two issues are not completely unrelated, since the output of the  
packagers is what is to be used by the users...

> 2- What could be a packaging system for creating self-installable
> self-contained packages for systems that have no packaging
> system?
> This question is still open, but it is out of question that this
> system be Autoconf and make, of course.
> But still, we proposed that this packaging system takes source
> packages provided by developers, builds them using ./configure ;
> make ; make install, and creates self-installable,
> self-contained, easy-to-install packages for end-users.

That is a decent step. I am a dyed in the wool, pry-from-my-cold-dead- 
hands Mac OS lover.
However, for my $job I use PCs running Windows. There I find such  
solace as there is to be had from running cygwin. And I've found  
cygwin and company to be a very serviceable working programmer  
environment, so I think the packaging focus on unix tools would not  
be unduly hampered on windows if one were willing to use cygwin  
(there are likely other options, I am just not familiar with them).

Focussing on the second issue (end user experience), there is still  
work to be done re: user-installable packaging vs. system  
administrator installable packaging. As far as I know, this is still  
in the realm of mostly unexplored territory. Many interpreted  
languages (perl, python, lisp) have had this problem to solve. Perl  
and Python (and TeX, which is not typically lumped in) have solved  
this quite successfully with a Comprehensive <something> Archive  
Network (CPAN, CTAN, etc.). On the Mac, applications have (for the  
most part) moved away from installing themselves into the system and  
needing priveleges, with preferences, settings, etc. living under the  
home directory of the user(s) running them.

Perhaps Firefox would be a more acceptable (than CPAN, etc.)   
example, wherein from within which I can install extensions, etc.  
etc. etc.
Perhaps a distinction between the base erlang system (which might  
need an administrator to install) and user-add ons.
Or perhaps we're just confusing two very different deployment  
scenarios? Back-room server rack unattended systems vs. user- 
interactive intensive 'desktop' applications?


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