[nSLUG] Distributions and Dependencies

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Feb 24 10:27:02 AST 2006

On 2/24/06, David Potter <dlpotter at ns.sympatico.ca> wrote:
> So... I'm ready to upgrade Fedora Core 3 to Core 4 and I'm bumping into
> the package dependency wall. I'm using yum, and the problem is my own
> making but was based on the dispersed wisdom of the internet. At some
> point in the past I added/installed a non standard package... for
> argument I'll say Exim (there may be several others - perhaps 3-4).

Exim has been available for fc3 -- there was a security fix in January:
[SECURITY] Fedora Core 3 Update: exim-4.43-1.FC3.1
This update can be downloaded from:

> The install would have failed because of a dependency that drew me into
> a cascading dependency scenario in which the ranking was unclear - i.e.
> I couldn't/didn't figure out the root dependency which would have
> allowed me to work my way back up the dependency tree and complete the
> install properly.

When debian's aptitude encounters dependency problems it knows about
(e.g., between apt packages) it offers various alternative

> So... I used various forms of brute force and subtle coercion...
> symbolic links to fake the version of a library or using rpm and
> 'forcing no dependencies' to effect the install.

You can either "regularize" the fc3 configuration by removing the
manually installed packages (and perhaps replacing them with versions
packaged for fedora), or do a clean install.   I find that most
packages that aren't
available as fedora rpms can be installed in the /usr/local tree or in
/opt where
they don't interfere with yum.  There are lots of people packaging
things for fedora that don't appear in the redhat repositores -- it is
worth searching them out (ask on the fedora-core-users list if google
doesn't find them).  The big problem with these 3rd party rpms is that
the versioning isn't always consistent.

> --------------
> Now... I'm ready to upgrade Fedora Core 3 to Core 4 and I'm bumping into
> the package dependency wall that has broadened because of forcing the
> issue last time. This upgrade may be more work than it's worth, and I'm
> considering flushing everything and doing a fresh install.
> If I'm thinking of a new install, there's no reason not to consider a
> new distribution... so I'm open for suggestions.
> I must say that if I could get this (ongoing) dependency issue resolved
> I'd probably stay with Fedora. Last  time I was very happy with the
> upgrade from Core 2 to Core 3 over the net using yum. When it works it's
> pretty slick.

I think all the major distros have improved in this regard.  Fedora is
widely used, so there are very few things that aren't packaged for it.
 Debian has even more obscure packages and better consistency with
versioning.   I like the current aptitude for the ease of viewing
package metadata and the suggestions to resolve conflicts in various
ways.  It also handles local changes to confguration files by
letting you view diffs and choosing whether to keep the old files or
use the new one.

> Is there a proper tool or approach to unravel the dependencies...
> David Potter

Make a list of the packages that you installed manually.  Look for the
fedora rpm's and use "rpm -qil -p package.rpm" to get a list of the files
the package provides to see which ones are in conflict.  There is a
good chance you will be able to get to a proper, current FC3
configuration that will upgrade smoothly.  This could be a big job, in
which case you would do better to save you configuation files and
install from scratch.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


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