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USENIX Tenth System Administration Conference (LISA '96)

Abstract Yourself With Modules

John L. Furlani
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Peter W. Osel
Siemens Components, Inc.


Modules abstracts the activation of applications from the details of their installation. It provides a uniform interface for selecting applications and for applying the necessary changes to the environment.

Five years ago, the first paper on Modules was published [1]. Since then, Modules has been written in C, uses Tcl [2] as its extension language, has seen acceptance and use at a rich variety of sites and has acquired several features for supporting the management of hundreds of software packages across large and diverse intranets. With Modules' proven combination of features and flexibility, we believe it has the potential to become the preferred standard for software management and activation.

In this paper, we compare the Modules package with several systems that have appeared in the years since its introduction. We also present some real-world examples of how the Modules package is being applied. This paper covers some of the new features in the current implementation. Finally, we discuss how the Modules concept can be applied elsewhere, including the problem of loading and installing on-demand applets and applications.

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