Making midnight commander understand old and new RPM formats

If you are an avid fan of midnight commander (like me) and you happen to inspect RPM files from time to time (like me too), you may have been irritated by a change in the RPM format.

In the past the payload of the RPM package was a simple cpio file. You could use the rpm2cpio tool to extract the cpio payload from the RPM or simply open it using midnight commander.

mrepo now with fuseiso and unionfs support (0.8.5 ready soon ?)

I am planning to do an mrepo 0.8.5 release very soon. For those new to mrepo, mrepo is a python tool that can download RPMs from repositories, but also from Red Hat Network and Yast Online Update (or CentOS or OpenSUSE for that matter), mount ISO images if needed, and create repositories out of it.

For the people that have heard of Red Hat Satellite, consider it a (free) light version that only covers downloading the updates and making it available.

Using apt in an RPM world

Everytime I am surprised that people don't know that apt-get works on RPM-based distributions and works much better than the alternatives. Especially in a CentOS/RHEL environment where you have various distribution releases running, apt-rpm allows you to use the same apt version and the same apt features across CentOS/RHEL 2.1, 3, 4 and 5.

In an attempt to persuade you to try out apt, let me denounce some myths about the current apt-rpm:

The thin line between genius and madness

It is a common problem with packagers. Developers release a package 0.4, then release a 0.5a (or 0.5pre1 or 0.5rc1) and then release the stable 0.5. Of course, when packaging you have to foresee such problems and maintain a proper upgrade path from 0.4 to 0.5pre1 to 0.5rc1 and to 0.5. Often that means finding the meaning of a release string.

Citrix (ICA) Client on CentOS

My sister's laptop harddisk crashed recently and turned the Windows laptop in a blue screen generating device. When reinstalling her system with the official Windows XP Professional CD, the installation process failed on what I think was a damaged CD.

Having no Windows media at home (I do not want to support a convicted monopolist and I fear the BSA raiding my home) I decided to put CentOS on it and return it like that. Everything installed fine on this Toshiba Satellite A10 laptop, even the wifi required a 'yum install madwifi' that pulled in DKMS nice and easy.

I am sorry that your yum is broken

This weekend, after a few weeks of perl updates and fixing our perl SPEC file generator, I broke the perl dependencies and probably upset a few people along the way.

The good news is that we have some new tools for better automating and updating our perl RPM packages and the coming week I hope to finish updating the existing one.

The bad news is that your yum is broken by design. I wish apt was an option, but that possibility looks dimmer and dimmer. (Even though I am still an avid apt user)

RPM Packaging news: lockstat and http_replicator

One of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog is because I often stumble upon new and exciting tools. and sometimes I want to share some information or an opinion on it. So a blog seems a good way to ventilate (and archive) that knowledge. Much like offsite storage...

This week 2 interesting tools caught my attention.