opkg vs apt vs ipkg

Daniel Clark dclark at pobox.com
Thu Feb 4 14:16:14 EST 2010

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM, Ron K. Jeffries <rjeffries at gmail.com> wrote:
> Jon,
> ipkg and opkg are very similar.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipkg
> What I am not sure of  where we stand in terms of
> an easily available set of packages compiled for
> MIPS and that work on Nanonote.
> Can someone comment on that?

I can't, but I have a related question: what MIPS ABI(s) (o32, n32,
n64) does the Ben Nanonote support, and what types of binaries is it
actually using?

For the loongson2f MIPS processors in gNewSense we currently have 2
annoying issues,

 (a) n32 is much faster (~40%) than o32, but our upstream only has o32
binaries, and

(b) the CPU has some silicon bugs that mean everything should really
be compiled with a certain set of as / binutils flags, but our
upstream doesn't do that.

OpenWRT seems to make it very easy to compile from scratch, so if
there are any similar issues I'd heavily suggest going the route of
most optimization for your CPU, and making people compile some of
their own stuff at first if that is the trade off.

BTW my memory is that opkg is considered to be an improvement on ipkg,
and both formats were created because they are somehow lighter weight
than .debs - a quick search confirms this pretty much:


Q. How similar is the ipk format, to the deb format? They look very
similar; the data and control tar balls are identical as far as i can

A. Very similar. ipk files are basically deb files with documentation
removed, and ipkg is even supposedly able to handle deb files. Opkg
can install .deb packages directly, with no change. There may be
issues with some packages, concerning preinst and postinst scripts

Daniel JB Clark | Free Software Activist | http://pobox.com/~dclark

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