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With a heterogeneous environment, package installation requires an understanding of each of the package management systems. This presented a problem with the 2.0 and 2.1 releases for certain platforms, in particular Solaris. Unlike HP-UX depot, Solaris pkgadd handles installation of dependencies poorly. The Solaris package manager does not "automatically" install a package's dependencies.

Our solution to this problem is pkgutils, a suite of tools that provides transparent access to the underlying package management system. The most important of these is the pkg-inst tool, a utility that installs packages independent of the package management system. Support is available for the following package management systems: AIX lpp, HP-UX depot, RPM, and Solaris pkgadd. The pkg-inst tool works by reading an XML database containing information about a package and its dependencies to abstract from the user the details needed to install packages. Options such as --ignoredeps and --reinstall provide access to the specific options required by the package managers to achieve the same end result on all package management systems. If a package being installed has dependencies, pkg-inst will automatically install the dependencies and then attempt to reinstall the package once the dependencies have been installed.

The pkgutils also includes the following tools:
  chk-pkg-updates: Check for new releases relative to what is installed
pkg-config Install and remove links to common bin, info, and man directories after installation of a package
pkg-info List installed packages, packages from a repository, package information, and what packages have common links associated with them
pkg-rm Removes packages installed with the pkg-inst tool, regardless of the package management system being used

A sample run of pkg-inst is available for AIX lpp, HP-UX depot, RPM, and Solaris pkgadd.