I’ve been working on a small project for a while now and it’s with great pleasure that I get to announce it now that I have a proof of concept. This is Alchemist a program designed to transform package names for other distributions into the equivalent package names in your own distribution. It then will install them for you automatically.

I was tired of Arch Linux being treated as a second class citizen in many Github projects where instructions only existed for Ubuntu installation. This was a shame and raises a barrier to entry to getting users set up to use the project. Why not create a tool that removes this barrier that I consistently came against? Why not create it so that it worked for all unix based platforms? I can’t be the only one facing this problem and lesser known or used distributions must have it worse than I when it comes to this.

I began work on Alchemist in order to solve this problem, put package names in and get the correct version for my platform out. Right now I only have a few packages that map from Ubuntu to Arch (or vice versa) and the db schema only works for Arch and Ubuntu right now. I want to change this though and expand the functionality to other platforms and add more packages for users to have. This is a huge undertaking and not one I can do alone. Any help is appreciated no matter how small. Even if it’s just adding package mappings or adding support for more distros all code changes are welcome.

Of course I can’t just claim all of this and not give a demonstration. Here’s a video of me installing some packages for Ubuntu and getting the Arch Linux equivalent:

In order to build it you’ll need the binary and library packages for postgresql and sqlite of your distro so that diesel will build and the latest version of the nightly compiler due to the nature of diesel as a library.

I hope that this will solve a problem for some that has bugged me for quite some time and I’m looking forward to seeing what Alchemist will become in the future.

You can find the code located on Github here

Michael Gattozzi

I get paid to make lights change patterns on a screen and I can't imagine doing anything else. Lover of all things vim, functional, and unix. Avid gamer with a penchant to buy more games than I have time for.

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