Fedora Being Talked About For "Software Collections"
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 6 December 2012 at 11:57 AM EST. Add A Comment
To adjust the rate at which how fast software updates are forced onto users, some Fedora and Red Hat developers have made a "Software Collections" proposal. The purpose of Software Collections is to allow users to install a package and choose between different versions of RPM-packaged software in parallel at run-time.

Software Collections is built around the scl-utils base tool package, which is already found in Fedora, but the Software Collections concept itself hasn't yet been applied to Fedora. The proposal itself was authored this past summer but is now being talked about for Fedora. Software Collections has yet to move along since there's many open work items surrounding the infrastructure, maintenance, and other policies to be determined. There's also hope of Software Collections for EPEL, the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux repository used by Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the other RHEL derivatives.

Software Collections for Fedora are now being discussed in the development mailing list within the thread What would it take to make Software Collections work in Fedora?

The plans in details for having Software Collections are documented in this extensive guide and was authored by Petr Kovář of Red Hat Engineering.

"With Software Collections, you can build and concurrently install multiple versions of the same RPM packages on your system. Software Collections have no impact on the system versions of the packages installed by the conventional RPM package manager." Software Collections are designed to not overwrite system files, avoid system file conflicts, require no RPM package manager changes, require only minor SPEC file changes, allow building conventional RPM packages and a Software Collection package from a single SPEC file, support for multiple Software Collections, uniquely name all included packages, do not conflict with package updates, and can depend on other software collections.

Some have already voiced their concerns about having Software Collections within Fedora Linux. Jared Smith wrote, "Given the short shelf-life of a Fedora release and the complication involved in Software Collections, I'm still not convinced that we really need this in Fedora...Given it's longer shelf life and different target audience, RHEL is a better candidate -- and the record, the company I work for uses Software Collections that way. I'm just having a hard time justifying it in my mind for Fedora." The aforementioned mailing list thread is quite active in the past day with a variety of views being shared.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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