Tag Archives: distro

whohas: A good idea, in theory

After all these years of scooping manually through individual repos to see which distro carries what software, you’d think something like whohas would really enthuse me.

But unfortunately it doesn’t. The idea sounds good, but it doesn’t seem to follow through.


whohas is a multi-distro search tool. It searches through a long list of Linux and BSD repositories and returns links to packages or results pages. Ideally, it would be wonderful for someone like me.

Unfortunately, the difficulty (I imagine) in maintaining something like this, is that you have to keep up with all the dozens of search tools and their respective eccentricities. If AUR, for example, suddenly decides to move to a new host, or even just tweaks its search address, and suddenly your multi-distro info retrieval tool is handicapped.

That seems to be the case with whohas. The documentation suggests whohas should support Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Mandriva, openSUSE and a lot more, but I get results from maybe two of the 15 total available. And the rest are … missing, I guess I should say.

The git page for whohas shows attention within the last nine months, at the time of this writing. All the same, I don’t see much from Arch or Debian, which are the two I try to align myself with.

If whohas can support your distro or something that you occasionally jump to, then perhaps you’ll get more use from it than I did. As it stands for me, it was a good idea, but only in theory. šŸ˜¦

deb2targz: Crossing the streams

I mentioned a long time ago that I occasionally fall back on deb2targz when I’m checking out little programs here and there.


In my case, there are times when, for example, a program won’t build in Arch, but it’s available precompiled in the Debian repositories.

For times like that, deb2targz shunts the .deb file to a tar.gz, which can be used in Arch as well as a few other distros too.

deb2targz only does one thing. It doesn’t take any switches that I can see. It doesn’t have a man page that I could find. And aside from the information on the home page, that’s all the guidance you get.

On the other hand, I’ve never had a problem with it, and “sparse” doesn’t mean “non-functional.”

For the record, I don’t bother actually installing the tar.gz file. Decompressing it and ripping out the binary is usually as close as I get.

If that works, it works. If not, I have a few other tricks up my sleeve. šŸ˜ˆ

And yes, I know about alien. What do you think is next? :mrgreen:

dws: I know they’re bogus, but still …

It’s possible to make a program that’s only barely interesting to me, but still have enough effort and forethought invested to make it an intriguing piece of work.

dws is like that for me. dws runs to the Internet for you and collects statistics on given distros.

From Distrowatch.


All right, all right. Stop digging around for the “reply” button so you can offer a scathing retort. I know Distrowatch scores are as useless as lips on a chicken. As useless as a screen door on a submarine. As useless as … as Distrowatch rankings.

Bear with me. dws isn’t big, it isn’t flashy, and really if I had my way, it would be a little less wordy in its output.

On the other hand, it doesn’t just grab whatever is on the front page. You tell it the distros you want to poll — and even better — tell it the range of data you want.

So, as in the example above, you can grab information across six months, and get a better approximation … of … well, you get the idea.

Dig for a few other options, and you might be able to find a use for dws. I know worthless stats are worthless stats, but dws at least does an admirable job of retrieving and collating them.

Take it for what it’s worth. šŸ˜