NIH syndrome: Yum doesn’t work on SuSE 11.1

It seems that yum, a reasonably good, quite standard, and powerful tool for maintaining systems across Redhat/Centos, Fedora, and multiple other distributions … was deprecated in SuSE in favor of an “Invented Here” tool such as zypper.

I am running into this right now with attempting to get OFED installed on OpenSUSE 11.1 to see if this will solve a customer problem. Yum is a convenient and powerful tool, common across many distros. Zypper is not common across many distros.

Moreover, yum can’t be simply dropped in due to python issues. Yum is written in Python, and as people have been discovering, Python 2.4 isn’t quite compatible with Python 2.6++. I can’t let this get by without a little dig here … we have scripts written 15 years ago in Perl that work fine (Perl 4.x), and appear to still work fine in Perl 6 (Rakudo) in compatibility mode.

Hmmm…

But I guess yum’s days have been numbered on OpenSUSE for a while.

Changing something that works, that people understand for something new, that we don’t have as much experience with … coupled to SuSE’s long (bad) history with management tool options (SuSE 10.x was a nightmare … you had to force the system to behave as you wanted … often by actively subverting the “helpful” mechanisms).

Lets just say that I am as enthusiastic about zypper as I was in the rest of the previous set of failed experiments in SuSE. I look with great trepidation at trying to help customers adapt to yet another incompatible update method.

I’d like to say “go back to yum”, but this involves other baggage (Python incompatibilities), so it’s not all SuSE’s fault for not using it. I have fortran code I wrote 20+ years ago (eek!) that still compiles and runs correctly. C code from 15 years ago like that. Perl code like the C code. Python? Not so much coding in it. Usually fixing other peoples bugs, but it isn’t my choice of language.

Here’s hoping that yum has crossed the Python 2.6++ barrier so we can force^H^H^H^H^H port yum back to SuSE 11.1 and beyond.

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