Fabio Mancinelli, Roberto Di Cosmo, Jérôme Vouillon, Jaap Boender, Berke Durak, Xavier Leroy, and Ralf Treinen. Managing the complexity of large free and open source package-based software distributions. In 21st IEEE Int. Conf. on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2006), pages 199-208. IEEE Computer Society Press, 2006.

The widespread adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in many strategic contexts of the information technology society has drawn the attention on the issues regarding how to handle the complexity of assembling and managing a huge number of (packaged) components in a consistent and effective way. FOSS distributions (and in particular GNU/Linux-based ones) have always provided tools for managing the tasks of installing, removing and upgrading the (packaged) components they were made of. While these tools provide a (not always effective) way to handle these tasks on the client side, there is still a lack of tools that could help the distribution editors to maintain, on the server side, large and high-quality distributions. In this paper we present our research whose main goal is to fill this gap: we show our approach, the tools we have developed and their application with experimental results. Our contribution provides an effective and automatic way to support distribution editors in handling those issues that were, until now, mostly addressed using ad-hoc tools and manual techniques.

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