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Patching Dependencies

You remember how Linux used to be, right? You’d dial up to the Internet with your 56k modem, find that awesome new music player you heard about and download the source code. You would dutifully run tar -xvzf musicplayer.tar.gz, and then run the holy configure, make, and make install commands. Next, you’d sit back and sigh, and realize you need to download another dependency, over 56k, so you download that, compile, install, compile the music player, install and realize your IRC client wont launch anymore because you overwrote something it depended on. Then came package management, which was supposed to take care of things like this, and it does, mostly. While the above referenced scenario is not the canonical example of dependency hell, it is an example of a problem that I thought was long gone. To be fair, for the most part it is, as long as the user stays inside the box, that is, the provided software repositories, things work fine. But, if you step outside of that box, you risk breaking things in strange and unexpected ways. Take for example a bug that I ran into today patching my CentOS servers. The servers needed to

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