Monday, December 05, 2005

RPM versus compiled source with linux

With the advent of open source, many users often debate is it better to install from and RPM were to build a program from source code? I think the answer is it depends on the situation. most times and often than not you'll need to use a combination of both.

RPMS

RPMS stands for "Red Hat Package Manager" which is equivalent in some ways to the install shield technology used on the windows platform.

Benefits

  • that ease of an installation of a pre build software installation package very similar to an EXE file in windows

Caveats

  • sometimes RPMS aren't always available
  • you run the risk of installing a potentially nonfunctioning RPM if the source is not trusted
Source code

Benefits

  • you can always get the latest version of the software from compiled source

Caveats

  • this is significantly more difficult and error prone for installation and configuration especially if the software package wasn't developed perfectly. It is also more time consuming depending on the nature of the installation sometimes compiling can take much longer than using an RPM.

Personal recommendations

Traditionally, my approach to installing programs on linux has always been to use RPMS. However as I find that I get one more comfortable working with the operating systems on occasion I have been known to compile from source. When installations with RPMs do not work properly that's when I seek out the path of using source code to compile and install the software programs that I need.

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