I’m looking for a GNU/Linux Distribution which act nicely toward partial system upgrades. That means, let me allow update single packages without much trouble. I prefer a source-based GNU/Linux distribution, but if it’s a binary distribution which can check on binary integrity (reproducible and distributed builds?) It’s fine with me.
I used Debian for about two years and Sabayon Linux for a year. I had experiments with Arch Linux and LFS too.
I’ve been using Gentoo Linux for more than a decade now. Gentoo was perfect for me for the first years even though it was said it wasn’t appropriate for system with low-speed Internet connection. Portage was so flexible and I loved the idea of USE flags. It wasn’t very smart about reverse dependencies but there was
revdep-rebuild tool which did the job. Also Portage did a good job by introducing Preserved Libraries too keep shared library files of old packages if they were still needed (maybe because of a partial update) by another packages. At some point package subslots were introduced to detect some reverse dependency breakages and push them into dependency graph. I’m not sure whether it was Gentoo being oversmart or because of lacking of ABI compatibility between GCC upgrades (specially after GCC 4 IIRC) that virtually everything got subslotted. I often disable subslot processing anyway but I think Portage behavior has became less stable too, or I guess, ebuilds change so often in tree that Portage totally recover state of system after missing updates for a while. Very often, Portage can’t resolve dependency graph for a Partial package update and the only thing I’d get in IRC is to do a world update which is a far cry from the initial reasons that I’d chosen Gentoo Linux. Even world upgrade fails a lot for me and Gentoo output looks more cryptic now. Slot conflicts used to have a meaning but now I get slot conflicts between installed versions and to be installed versions of the same package (+). Anyway, I think I’m killing too much brain cells to understand Portage and I think I should find another distribution. Also if there’s another package manager to deal better with partial updates, I’d give it a try.
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