Resolving Dependencies on Linux

Album Cover: Sea Change

"How could this love, ever changing, never change the way I feel?"
Beck / Lonesome Tears

Posted on August 30, 2006 9:56 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Anyone who has played around with Linux long enough to try and install an application or two has doubtless run into the problem of package dependencies.

I've frequently run into situations where application A is dependent on package B, which itself is dependent on packages C and D. Then C is dependent on package E, F and G while D is dependent upon package H. Sometimes you get to the point where you don't care enough to find out what E-H depend on.

It almost reminds me of trying to manually walk through the process a recursive function goes through.

Well, anyway, going through the process of resolving dependencies can actually be rewarding if you reach the end of the meandering paths – especially when the end result is a working application. Even if you don't manage to reach the end, though, the attempt in itself is good "getting your hands dirty" experience and worthy of a notch on your belt. That's why I got a kick out of the following over at Dive Into Mark today:

Please don't ask me for help installing these prerequisites. Consider it a character-building exercise.

Character-building indeed.


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