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Fetchware is a package manger for source code distributions
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INTRODUCTION Fetchware is a command line program written in Perl with help from CPAN that brings package management to source code distributions. It is able to do this, because most source code distributions use GNU autoconf, and thereby use the exact same commands to build and install. Furthermore, everyone uses md5sums, shasums, and/or gpg sigs, and ftp/http mirrors. Because everyone follows the a similar format for their FOSS means a fairly simple but flexible command line program should be able provide package management for source code distributions. Fetchware is a command line perl program that supports install, uninstall (via make uninstall), upgrade (for just one package), upgrade-all (for all installed packages), and the best part a new command that is a console wizard question and answer interface that easily builds brand new Fetchwarefiles and packages based on fairly obvious information (mirrors, name, configure options, make options, and so on.). If you have the need for fetchware (You already know how to install source code distributions yourself.), then you should be able to figure out how to answer the questions easily. WHY DID YOU CREATE FETCHWARE? I wanted an automated way of installing apache's constant security fixes, which was necessary, because I compiled apache from source instead of using my Linux distribution's default build. Most sysadmins these days just use their Linux distribution's default packages, but Unix and Linux have a long history of compiling yourself the software that you install. Fetchware follows in this tradition, and makes managing compiled from source software easier. WHAT IS A FETCHWAREFILE? A Fetchwarefile is Fetchware's configuration file. Because Fetchware can be a package manger for any source-code distribution, it requires a file to tell it everything it needs to know in order to install, upgrade, and uninstall your source-code distribution, and that is what a Fetchwarefile does. AND A FETCHWARE PACKAGE? A Fetchware package is simply the original source-code distribution unarchived with your Fetchwarefile added to it. Then it is tared and gziped, but named with a .fpkg file extension instead of a .tar.gz file extension. This simple format is modeled after Slackware Linux's package format, which is also very simple. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? There really isn't any other than file size and name. They both contain a Fetchwarefile, which is really what is needed to install, upgrade, and uninstall fetchware packages. WHY SHOULD I USE FETCHWARE INSTEAD OF MY OWN PLATFORM'S PACKAGE MANAGER? Fetchware should be used if you want to build those same software packages from source code, and be able to specify your own configuration options to configure that software as you want instead of how that package's maintainer wants it to be configured. Furthermore, Fetchware leaves you in control of creating the actual Fetchware package, because you just need the Fetchwarefile, and that is enough to build and install a Fetchware package. This means that instead of using something like Fedora/RHEL's EPEL, where you're a slave to each individual package maintainer's schedule and ability to release updated versions every time yet another security hole comes out, you can upgrade to latest, secure version whenever it is released. However, Fetchware needs a full build environment on your server, and wherever you install the resulting Fetchware package. This may be a limitation in some enterprise/data center environments. However, if you set up your Fetchwarefile properly, you can build the Fetchware package on a testing or build server, and then only do the "make install" step on each of the production servers. CAN FETCHWARE UNINSTALL FETCHWARE PACKAGES? It can, but only if the underlying source-code distribution's build system supports some sort of "make uninstall" target. For example, Apache does not have a "make uninstall" make target, while ctags does; therfore, Fetchware can not uninstall Apache, but it can uninstall ctags. Other similar programs can uninstall compiled-from-source programs using some sort of LD_PRELOAD trick or perhaps gdb debugging hooks, but Fetchware currently does not support any of these methods. WHERE CAN I FIND A FETCHWARE PACKAGE REPOSITORY? Currently there is no official or unofficial repository of Fetchware packages. But perhaps I or someone else will create one in the future. Also, creating your own Fetchwarefile's to use to create your own Fetchware packages is quite simple and flexible. See perldoc App::Fetchware for all of the details after installing Fetchware. INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS (Note: currently Windows is not supported, but it may be supported in the future. But everything Linux or Unix is supported.) Just use your platform's cpan command to install Fetchware and Fetchware's dependencies. cpan App::Fetchware That should cause the CPAN client to install the App::Fetchware distribution from Perl's CPAN. This will also take care of installing any of Fetchware's dependencies, or any other external CPAN modules that don't come with Perl and might not be installed on your computer. This method is recommended, and the manual method shown below should be avoided, so you don't have to worry about installing Fetchware's external CPAN dependencies. Fetchware's dependencies are: Test::More version 0.98 or higher for proper subtest support. Path::Class Perl::OSType URI Getopt::Long Archive::Tar Archive::Zip Term::UI File::HomeDir HTTP::Tiny HTML::TreeBuilder Digest::SHA Digest::MD5 Privileges::Drop, which is only a Unix module, but it simply does nothing on Windows; however it is still required even on Windows systems. Text::ParseWords Sub::Mage Test::Deep is required for testing, but you could skip it if you skip make test, which is not recommended. Win32 is needed, but only on Windows systems. It's likely already installed on most Windows systems. You can manaully install Fetchware (Not recommended). Using the series of commands below after extracting Fetchware from the archive it comes in: perl Makefile.PL make make test make install In either case, installation is not complete without setting up a cronjob to have Fetchware check each night for updates to your installed Fetchware packages. See STEP 6 below for how to add Fetchware to your crontab so that Fetchware will automatically check for updates to all of your installed software each day. HOW DO I USE FETCHWARE? STEP 1: Fetchware does nothing without Fetchwarefiles, so until you download some one elses Fetchwarefile or create one yourself, Fetechware does nothing. So, the first step is to create a Fetchwarefile using Fetchware's new comand: fetchware new After entering the above command and pressing Enter, Fetchware will ask you a series of simple questions (At least they are simple, if you're used to installing software from source code instead of using a package manager.). Answer these simple questions, and then Fetchware will ask you if you would like to install the program your Fetchwarefile is for. Answer yes, to go ahead, and install it now, or answer no, and Fetchware will just print the location of the Fetchwarefile it created for you. You can copy this file wherever you would like to keep it. STEP 2: Next, use fetchware to install the generated Fetchwarefile. Now, if you answered yes in STEP 1, then you can skip this step. fetchware install <path/to/Fetchwarefile> STEP 3: Miscelaneous commands Fetchware has various miscelaneous commands that are helpful when using Fetchware. Fetchware also lets you do various miscellaneous operations listed below: fetchware list - lists all installed Fetchware packages. fetchware clean - deletes any left over temporary directories that are no longer needed by Fetchware. Fetchware look - downloads and unarchives the specified software package, but does not install. Intended to help out manual installation, or to use to look at software packages. STEP 4: To upgrade a package you already installed just use the command: fetchware upgrade <name of already installed Fetchware package.> As hinted at above only already installed packages can be upgraded. To see what is installed, and what Fetchware thinks their names are use the list command to print out all installed Fetchware packages: fetchware list STEP 5: To uninstall an already installed package just use the uninstall command: fetchware uninstall <name of already installed Fetchware package.> Like upgrade, uninstall only uninstalls already installed packages, and again use the list command to see what Fetchware packages you have installed. Furthermore, the uninstall command only works if the source code distribution's build system supports a 'make uninstall' make target. If it does not, you can specify one with the uninstall_commands Fetchware configuration option. STEP 6: Fetchware's lookup functionality, which determines if a version of your source-code distribution is newer than the one you have installed, can be used to check if new versions of your already installed Fetchware packages have been released. This functionality can be used to check if upgrades are available for all installed Fetchware packages, and upgrade all of those packages that have newer versions available. Just use the upgrade-all command to do this: fetchware upgrade-all To do this automatically just add it to root's or your own user account's crontab: crontab -e Add the lines below to your crontab after crontab -e brings it up in your editor: # Minute Hour Day of Month Month Day of Week Command # (0-59) (0-23) (1-31) (1-12 or Jan-Dec) (0-6 or Sun-Sat) 30 2 * * * fetchware upgrade-all Or for root just put the contents below in the file fetchware in the /etc/cron.daily directory. [start copying after this line.] #!/bin/sh # Check all installed packages for upgrades every day. fetchware upgrade-all [end copying before this line.] STEP 7: Read Fetchware's documentation, which after installation should be available on your system using perldoc. So use the commands below to view the documentation: perldoc fetchware perldoc App::Fetchware If you prefer reading documentation in a Web browser, then you can use CPAN's Web viewer to read it using the URL's below: https://metacpan.org/module/fetchware https://metacpan.org/module/App::Fetchware