Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016

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Haiku's package management

Design and issues with ported software


What are the features of Haiku's package management system? How does its design impact packaging of ported software? We'll answer this and list some good and bad practices that affect the portability of software to Haiku.

Inspired by the BeOS, a desktop operating system ahead of its time but where software were still packaged as zip files or click-to-install files distributed manually, Haiku has grown a dozen years this way. But things change, and Haiku made the big leap into modern software packaging, with a new infrastructure that could probably inspire even mainstream GNU/Linux distributions.

Haiku's package management is a radical change from its historical roots, affecting even native software despite existing APIs like find_directory(). Ported software are also impacted by those changes, but also benefit from HaikuPorts which streamlines packaging for Haiku developers and changed their lives literally.

Not unlike other packaging frameworks like Guix, Haiku's package management required changes to the filesystem layout inherited from BeOS, including making parts read-only. It brings many features but also complicates porting sometimes, which will be discussed.

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Photo of Fran├žois Revol Fran├žois Revol

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