Saturday, November 24, 2007

Slackware package build scripts

Long time Slackware users have since the beginning created their own Slackware build scripts that created Slackware compatible packages. These packages made for easy installation as well as removal. They also eased the pain for administrators with multiple machines.

Over time these long time Slackware users built up a huge collection of build scripts. Most, like myself, have kept these build scripts to themselves. Only releasing the odd one or two to friends and colleagues or if some package that came with Slackware itself could be built in an alternative way. Gaim, now called Pidgin, comes to mind here as it can be built against mozilla's NSS or against GnuTLS. Slackwares own is built again Mozilla's NSS but many users don't install Mozilla so the alternative build against GnuTLS that I created a long time ago was born. That build script was downloaded over 2 million times. The packages were downloaded over 1.2 million times. These numbers vindicated my releasing the build scripts and packages.

Many friends and colleagues urged me to release more of my own build scripts and packages but I did not. One, probably the major reason why I did not, because I considered Slackware users would rather create their own.

Latterly, lots of web sites dedicated to Slackware build scripts have popped up. Some borrowed my Gaim/Pidgin build scripts and called them their own. Others simply copied them, changed a few bits here and there within the build scripts then called them their own.

But the point of this post is not to complain about that but to ask the various administrators of those Slackware build script sites to add support to all their scripts for the x86_64 architecture.

I have no idea which of the two main x86_64 distributions, Bluewhite64 or Slamd64, is the most popular. Nor do I care. I use Bluewhite64 myself purely because the packages are one for one with Slackware itself whereas Slamd64 has some changes.

I don't care if these newer sites have stolen or reworked Slackware build scripts from other places on the Internet. Simply put these collections offer a great service to Slackware users by having lots of build scripts in one place. However, by leaving out x86_64 support in their build script repository's they are leaving out a large, and growing by the day, proportion of Bluewhite64/Slamd64 users.

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