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if you build it, they will download

There is an open source product called OpenNMS that I am trying to get working in our enterprise. It’s a great product, and they even have packages for Debian, my Linux distro of choice.

Unfortunately for me, the server that I am using is running a pre-release version of Debian, the “testing” release called etch. It is the amd64 port, because I have a dual-core 64-bit chip. When I first set this up, I managed to get the stable release to properly build 64-bit packages tuned to my system, though the project does not yet create packages for etch or for 64-bit.

I decided yesterday (after struggling with glitches I couldn’t diagnose) that I was going to try to run the latest and greatest development version of OpenNMS. I ran into a lot of problems while trying to compile it, so I wrote an email to the mailing list, part of which said this:

I’m really looking forward to the day when I can install on a 64-bit etch system directly from APT. If there’s any way my haphazard skill set can help make this a reality, please let me know.

I got this back as a reply:

Glad you asked. You could start by packaging Maven for Debian.

I should warn you though, on a scale of 1 to 10, (where 1 is “no problem, I’ll take 10 minutes during my lunch hour”, and 10 is “I’ll quit my job, leave my wife and kids, and move into an abandoned missle silo for a two years”), this task is a 9.

Although it’s good to know that the reason that etch packages don’t exist yet has nothing to do with the developers being lazy, that was not exactly the response I was looking for!

For the uninformed, which included me until last night, Maven is a piece of Java software that manages the build process of other Java-based software. The OpenNMS project recently switched to Maven, where they were previously using Ant. The OpenNMS source tree includes a complete copy of the latest version of Maven, rather than expecting people to have it on their systems already. This is a change from the stable branch of OpenNMS, which requires that your system already have Ant installed before you can compile it.

By elyograg

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.
-- J.K. Galbraith

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