An RPM packaging utter FAIL

January 29, 2009

Every so often, I run into examples of bad RPM packaging. Today's encounter takes the cake for utter packaging failure, though:

The RPM for VMWare Workstation 6.5.1 contains exactly one file, which the postinstall script runs and then removes. This one file is of course the regular self-extracting installer that VMWare gives you if you opt for the non-RPM version of VMWare Workstation, which means that it dumps all sorts of things over your filesystems, thereby completely defeating almost all of the purpose of installing an RPM in the first place.

(One of the things defeated is the ability to automate the installation of RPMs, because it quizzes you about agreeing to the license agreement. They went out of their way to enable this in the postinstall script.)

This is especially sad because previous versions of VMWare Workstation had reasonably well done RPM packages. I speculate wildly that VMWare felt that it was now too much work to package things up properly, but if that was so I wish they would just stop having an RPM package entirely; it would be more honest, and I'd know what I was getting into ahead of time.

(I disagree about the amount of work, as you might expect. If you are packaging something in any way, you ought to have a list of the files that get installed and where they get installed to, and that is all you need to have in order to generate a sensible RPM. Just run your installer and package up the extracted files using the list.)

Written on 29 January 2009.
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Last modified: Thu Jan 29 17:52:55 2009
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