Panel: Package Manager Convergence: What Stands in the Way?
2021-11-10, 16:00–16:45 (UTC), Room I

We’ve managed to bring all of you together from different package manager communities, but can we also bring the package managers you work on together? Is there room for one package manager to rule them all, or will package management always be a very domain-centric activity? If it does, is that good or bad?


We’ve brought together a panel of experts to hash this out! Please welcome:

  • Wolf Vollprecht (QuantStack, Mamba project, Condaforge)
  • Joshua Lock (VMWare, The Update Framework)
  • Ludovic Courtès (Inria, Guix project)
  • Andrew Nesbitt (Octobox, manifest.fm)

Todd Gamblin (LLNL, Spack project) will moderate.

Each panelist will briefly give us their take on the following charge questions, followed by a lively discussion and questions from the audience.

  • Do you think there are too many package managers? Why or why not?
  • What parts of packaging could eventually be automated or replaced by infrastructure?
  • What parts of package managers do you think could be shared as common components? What would it take to make that happen?
  • If not through common components, what other ways could the many different packaging communities come together in the future?
  • What do we need to do to get people outside the packaging community to better understand these challenges?

Wolf Vollprecht is a Technical Director at QuantStack. QuantStack is a small open source software consulting company that mostly works on scientific open source software.
Wolf spends most of his time working on the mamba package manager, and as part of the conda-forge core team. Mamba is a fast, cross-platform and language agnostic package manager that works with conda packages.

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Todd Gamblin is a Senior Principal MTS in Livermore Computing's Advanced Technology Office at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He created Spack, a popular open source HPC package management tool with a rapidly growing community of contributors. He leads the Packaging Technologies Project in the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, LLNL's DevRAMP project on developer productivity, and an LLNL Strategic Research Initiative on software integration and dependency management. His research interests include dependency management, software engineering, parallel computing, performance measurement, and performance analysis.

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Almost yen years ago, Ludovic started work on GNU Guix. It has since become the home of a vibrant community encompassing free software enthusiasts, principled developers, and scientists in search of reproducibility.

Before that, Ludovic was already a co-maintainer of GNU Guile, an implementation of the Scheme functional programming language, and a contributor to Nix, Nixpkgs, and NixOS—the beginning of a delightful journey at the crossroads of functional deployment and embedded domain-specific languages.

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Joshua is a collaborator and maintainer on The Update Framework (TUF) and Supply-chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA) projects. He is fortunate enough to work on these projects, and others, at VMware in their Open Source Technology Center. In a past life he spent many years working on and with the Yocto Project. Joshua has spoken at several events including Linux Security Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, and KubeCon + CloudNativeCon.

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Creator of Libraries.io, host of package management podcast The Manifest and software developer