This past Tuesday of Week 4 of classes, I tried to organize a trip to University of Rochester to attend a RocPy event as a part of attaining our meetup credits for HFOSS, but due to weather, I had to cancel.
To make up for it (and stay on track for meetup credits) I carved out some time on Friday (2/19) to attend an RITLUG meeting. I spotted both jflory7 and WilfredE from our class at the meetup as well.
The presenter discussed the significance of Package Managers on Linux systems to help manage dependencies. Before the existence of package managers, programs that relied on existing technologies either had to include all their dependencies in the product (creating MASSIVE files for complicated programs) or hope that the user remembered to set up their dependencies first. These design patterns lead to some computers having multiple instances of the same dependencies installed at the same time, or programs failing to run due to missing dependencies that users didn’t recognize the need for. To solve these problems, Package Managers were created to track what existing technologies exist on the computer, and recognize which programs require these dependencies. This means that you can download a project or application, and automatically get it’s dependencies with it, and the next time you download a project or application that utilizes one of these dependencies, the Package Manager will recognize that you’ve already installed it and prevent a dual installation of the same technologies.
I also heard the Red Hat name pop up a bunch which was neat! Further confirmation that the company I’m working for post-grad has some serious clout in the FOSS world!
This meetup also dispelled a lot of the preconceptions I’ve had about Linux users. In the past, a lot of the Linux users I’ve met were VERY pretentious about it, and used it as a method of asserting their superiority over Windows/Mac users but there was another first-timer who stopped by, and everyone was very happy to help him understand the basics of finding an appropriate distro. Additionally, while there was plenty of “Hey I’m aware of this unique technology that not a lot of people use and I’m mentioning it for hipster cred” it was all in good fun. I’m glad to see that everyone was pretty welcoming and I’ll look forward to stopping by at least once more later in the semester if there’s a cool topic being discussed!