Packaging code is about sharing

I have been packaging code into RPMs for internal use for about five years now. I’m not going to say I’m an expert at it–I’m still learning–but I’m getting better at it and I think that’s a good thing.

Recently I packaged a piece of software that didn’t have an existing RPM (AFAIK). I was then able to share that RPM, and installation instructions, with a partner institution so that they could easily install the software as well–in fact with one command. :)

From one perspective it’s obvious that packaging software is about sharing. But often I spend so much time just getting the RPM built, which can mean the gruelling process of pulling requirements out of developers who think packaging is…not important or even intrusive, that I forget how it’s not just about easing sysadmin maintenance of servers; that it’s about being able to share systems and software with peers.

I often wonder where some Linux users think packages come from. Certainly not a big white stork in the middle of the night. Dedicated volunteers (and I don’t mean me) are building thousands of packages every day! So hat tip to all those volunteers. Licensing is important, but so is packaging. :)