A Koan

A novice once came to a systems software roshi seeking wisdom:

“I am troubled. My project has become large and I am having trouble reproducing the environment across test servers. I have all my sources and I’ve installed them from source in the ways our forefathers have, but some behave in strange ways and clash with other software at odd times. What can I do?”

The older  asked “Find your dependencies and bring them here.”

The novice searched for days amongst his tarballs and local installations, but could only come back with sources, some parchments containing approximate versions, notes and some ldd output.

The master took the notes and the sources, put them in a box, and put the box on the novice’s head.

“In future use these, perhaps build your own – it is not hard. They will manage your installed software better and ease your suffering if you use them wisely and diligently.”

On hearing this the novice was struck with awe.