Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 14th Sep 2002 22:44 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE From SuSE Linux 8.1 on, YaST2 comes with a new, powerful package manager. It supersedes the classic YaST2 single package selection and integrates the YaST Online Update (YOU) and post-installation add-on selection at the same time. It lays the foundation for supporting multiple installation sources like a traditional set of SuSE CDs, add-on product CDs, patch CDs, FTP servers or even local directories - all of which may contain software packages to install. Specially optimized versions were implemented for both graphical user interface (the YaST2 Qt UI) or text interface (the YaST2 NCurses UI), providing each type of user with the tool that best fits his needs. Read more for the commentary.
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Features?
by anonymous on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:38 UTC

Whats the deal? How is it diffrent/better than e.g.
Synaptic/KPackage/GnoRPM ?
Just wondering. and btw, is YaST2 opensource?

I think Eugenia has a good point
by Andrew on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:42 UTC

Why not just inlcude any libraries which may cause problems if not statically linked?

RE: Features?
by Eugenia on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:44 UTC

>Whats the deal? How is it diffrent/better than e.g.
Synaptic/KPackage/GnoRPM ?

It seems to be even more confusing UI-wise and as I wrote there, it is just yet another RPM package manager, with the add-in that can somewhat deal with dependancies.
None of these applications solve the problem though.

>and btw, is YaST2 opensource?

It does not really matter for the user. It might matter for the GPL followers, but most of the users don't care. To answer your question, YaST2 is open source, but it is not GPL. It has a restricted license. Thing is, that even the GPL ones, do not solve YaST2 package manager's problems either, so it doesn't really matter at this point.

Redhat 8 package manager..
by nony on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:50 UTC

.. is very clean, very easy to use. Definetly the best I saw in any os.

RE: Features?
by anonymous on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:53 UTC

>in that can somewhat deal with dependancies.
>None of these applications solve the problem though.
Synaptic is a frontend to apt, and solves dependencies rather good on my Redhat ;)
>It does not really matter for the user.
True.
I was mostly wondering if this was something I could port/use on a non-SuSE..

YaST
by Rayiner Hashem on Sat 14th Sep 2002 23:58 UTC

For once, I agree that this *is* too complex. Hell, it looks pretty confusing even for me. That's interesting though. YaST in Suse 8.0 was easily the best Linux setup tool out there.

Improvement
by Tim Barber on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:01 UTC

Personally, I like the new layout, and I also think that it is an improvement over the old way. Some might have fault with it, but at least they are moving in the right direction!!

Yes, I don't like the version strings that they are using in some of the packages so I do think that they have room to improve there.

GUI package management
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:14 UTC

For me, I have never been able to use any of the GUI package management tools. I get better results from the command line. But that might be reflective of the fact that when I started using Linux there were no GUI or TUI packaging tools. Hell, there weren't any packages as we know them. It was all loosely grouped tarballs.

I'm all for package managers. I just don't use them for myself.

Eugenia the Grouch?
by Bill Sheehan on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:16 UTC

Sheesh, this is the second negative review I've read on this site in two days, and both times the reaction is difficult to understand.

I've been using SuSE for many moons, and this version of YAST looks better than ever. The install is reminscent of the one RedHat rolled out in its latest betas. The little item about the dependencies is just what has been needed for a long time - do you know what a pain in the tuchus it is to find this stuff with current package managers? The phrase "Don't try this at home" is an American colloquialism that I don't think you quite understood. When a television personality is about to do something manifestly unwise, he'll say, "Don't try this at home." It doesn't mean it's safe for work.

If SuSE 8.1 is as difficult to install on my laptop as SuSE 8.0 was, I'll complain bitterly and ad nauseam. But YAST2 Next Generation looks like a good professional interface, and it bodes well for the forthcoming release.

Meantime, Eugenia, chill out for heaven's sake. I love your work, and I'd hate to see you go over to the Dark Side. We already have Dennis Powell and John C. Dvorak - we don't need another hypercritical cynic.

-- Bill

RE: Eugenia the Grouch?
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:23 UTC

>and this version of YAST looks better than ever

That doesn't mean that YaST2 is good. The fact that is better than before, does not make it good. SuSE is a commercial company and YaST is one of its selling points. If it ain't good, it will be critisized. It is my 'job' to do so, I have absolutely nothing personal against all these companies and individuals I write about.

>Meantime, Eugenia, chill out for heaven's sake

What do you mean by 'chill out'? Not work on this web site? Because this is part of my job.

>John C. Dvorak - we don't need another hypercritical cynic.

I like Dvorak most of the times (not always).

Debian vs. Yast
by Xirzon on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:25 UTC

I think you don't take the target audience of SuSE into account. While SuSE does advertise their distribution as suitable for desktop use, their focus in the last couple of years has clearly shifted to the server (that's why they are pushing UnitedLinux, too). The package management looks like it's designed to satisfy power users / system administrators who need easier ways to deal with conflicts. From this perspective, it's probably a step forward.

If you want a model for a usable package management, try Debian. I know, I know -- most of the current front-ends aren't that great (too bad Stormix was discontinued -- stormpkg was pretty nice). But the architecture is very powerful. They have a very strict policy for stuff like version numbers and change them if necessary, and they have a configuration system closely tied to the package management. The package configuration system is not tied to a particular UI, there are graphical and console based front ends to configuring packages. The distinction between stable/testing/unstable is very professional and useful. (The policy for the package config scripts is not very newbie friendly, though: Many packages want to know all sorts of advanced stuff.)

Basically, Debian's system would be easy to turn into something nice for the average end user with some commercial backing. The distributors just need to get together and agree on a standard -- something that is, unfortunately, as hard in the Linux world as everywhere else (*cough* DVD-R *cough*).

Soon after making the change to Linux, I moved from SuSE to Debian. I don't regret it: The package management alone has been worth it. What I do find disappointing is the time it takes for new packages to come out, but then again, with the exception of some annoying bugs (KDE 2.2 clipboard behavior), I don't really care about running the latest apps. Their security upgrades have also never disappointed me. Installing apps with Debian is definitely *much* easier than under Windows.

RE: Debian vs. Yast
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:31 UTC

> The package management looks like it's designed to satisfy power users / system administrators who need easier ways to deal with conflicts

There should be no conflicts. If there are, these should only happen in very few cases and they should be easily resolved. That would be a good OS design.
I truly not think that this manager serves the power users/admins either. The UI itself is a disaster, no matter if you are a power user or not.
MacOSX and WinNT/2k are also server OSes, and they don't need this kind of package management. Therefore, something else is wrong. Not the package manager itself. But the root of it.

SuSE != Linux
by Xirzon on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:47 UTC

There should be no conflicts. If there are, these should only happen in very few cases and they should be easily resolved. That would be a good OS design.

I agree -- Debian has already managed to reach this point. (Of course if you use unstable, there may be conflicts - duh!) SuSE is getting there slowly. I think it bodes well for free software that a non-commercial project outpaces a for profit company.

Windows has chosen the easy path to use mostly statically linked apps (a huge waste of bandwidth). There were also no problems defining a set of standard libraries -- if you have a monopoly it's easier to set such standards. I think it's unfair to compare the competitive Linux market with the uncompetitive Windows (or Mac OS) market.

I truly not think that this manager serves the power users/admins either. The UI itself is a disaster, no matter if you are a power user or not.

Heh, I think you underestimate power users. Power users do know, for example, what a context menu is, whereas the average user does not. One of your complaints about YaST2 is that it does not explain the package indicators -- it does so in the context menu, which is completely sufficient for power users. (And yes, I know from experience that average users never click context menus ..)

The conflict resolution UI is a bit unusual, but it has positive aspects -- it aims to make the primary choices quickly available by hiding long package lists, for example.
It's a step forward because, if I remember correctly, before this version of YaST SuSE did not have a conflict resolution UI at all ..

MacOSX and WinNT/2k are also server OSes, and they don't need this kind of package management. Therefore, something else is wrong. Not the package manager itself. But the root of it.

Installation of Windows apps is, however, far from being easy. Even though again dominance of a single company (InstallShield) has simplified things for the end user, there are still many different installers, with many different options. And it took MS years to solve the issues with library conflicts -- I've seen more than one system screwed up by a wrong ctl3d.dll or whatever. I would not recommend a switch to statically linked binaries either -- I do like my downloads and my harddisk redundancy free. As I said, Debian has found the right balance, it's only a matter of time until others follow its model, or they will simply die. Linux != SuSE. If and when this happens, Linux packagement will be the best in the world.

BTW, have you taken a look at Red Hat's up2date? I would be very interested in reading a review of that.

Why not..?
by Torrey on Sun 15th Sep 2002 00:58 UTC

I have been using Red Hat's NULL beta for a couple of weeks. I'm a windows convert...
It seems to me what Linux needs is a universal installer VM. Instead of compiling RPMs and such for every single processor, the developer could release a Java like file that would then run and install on any distro that used this service (obviously it would only work of all the distros used it.. or astleast the major ones). What the Install VM would do is configure the file for you system and install it also it would resolve dependancies.
Now, why this is better than APT or RPM is because the developer releases one file and not a file for PPC or i386 and i686 and so on. But it's more than just compiliing the source code your self.. because it's auotmated and resolves dependancies.

I have no idea how possible this is.. but it seems like a good idea and I believe that at some point something like this will happen.

Setup.exe
by Rob on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:00 UTC

1) Download "Setup.exe"

2) Double-click it

3) Click "Next" -> "Next" -> "Next" -> "OK"

4) Click "Start"

5) Point to the newly-created group under "Programs"
*At this point, WindowsXP will even highlight the new program group for you, with a friendly pop-up tooltip saying "New Programs Are Installed" (which can be turned off, of course)

6) Start your newly-installed program.

This is THE CORE REASON Linux can't stand up to Windows on the average home user's desktop. Business desktops don't often get changed / upgraded / experimented with ... when changes do occur, it's in a controlled way. A home user wants to experiment.

Look at Mandrake and SuSE. They contain pretty much every decent (and not-so-decent) free software app in existence. They package EVERYTHING. And when a new version comes out, the project will put some tarballs on an FTP server somewhere. Maybe you'll get lucky and someone will build some packages not just for your distro but for you VERSION of your distro (since what works on 8.1 might break 8.2 horribly -- which is just stupid). Maybe you won't get lucky. In that case, you either wait for the next version of your distro, or you compile it yourself.

Seriously, if Linux packages were made as easy to install and upgrade as Windows packages, what would a distribution BE? The whole point of a distro is to basically provide EVERYTHING ... the minute you step outside the bounds of the software included by the people who made your distro, you're on your own. Imagine, if you could go to some project's site and grab a "Setup.rpm" or "Setup.deb" that worked on ANY distro running the proper version of the kernal and glibc?

In that case, what would you really be paying the distro-maker for? Distro-makers, for the most part, are simply package maintainers. Given a packaging system that didn't require everything you ever expect the user to need be built into the OS, what need of the distro-makers at all? Pretty much every distro that wants to be is now absurdly easy to install. There are plenty of decent GPL'd config tools (from, say, Red Hat and Mandrake). As long as we need the distro-makers to package things for us, they'll be around.

So why would they WANT to fix the problem? They aren't WORKING on a solution -- they are the band-aid, after all. Heal the wound and you no longer need a band-aid at all ...

Nobody should touch the source?
by rezi on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:09 UTC

Wow, looks cool. Similary to windows-explorer, or good cvs-viewers. i would be happy to have it on windows 9x, to track what an installation all changed. to have a clue why windows breaks suddenly.
btw yast2 has documentation window/button everywhere, and good messages there.

I don't expect i really need it with suse,
as long as i stay with the prepacked stuff.
including online-updates: click "install all",
wait a while, system actual.

But yes, suse is also for professional users ;)
we may compile ourself, install non-suse-versions
for some reason, etc.
versioning is required.
and this looks like a good browser for the job.

Ts, ts, Eugenia, you sound as if Joe is only able to use computers since winXP. He was able to use win95 and earlier,
even dos-configuration. So what?

Rezi

I agree with Raynier...
by Jay on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:13 UTC

I've used SuSE 8 from when it first came out. For a user, YaST2 was really a great step forward. And, it seems like the next logical step would be to refine it even further to even more simplicity, but they have gone the other route and added all these tons of features and views, etc. Looking at the screenshots, I know I could deal with this new version, but don't especially want to. I'm a big promoter of Linux on the desktop though and that's where I'm coming from. I know, as someone else said, that SuSE seems to be going toward the server market and I'm sure that's the reason for this new version. But, it's a shame though, I think SuSE has the best distro of the big distros for the user, even edging out Mandrake slightly precisely because of YaST. But now, I don't know.

You ask too much at the moment
by toby on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:13 UTC

I'd rather have a package manager that can deal with the conflicts when they come than one that can't, even if the latter does come with a pat on the head and a promise from the developers that everything will be okay.

Over and over you (wrongly) compare Linux to Windows and OS X. Both of those OS's have the luxury of putting out whatever they like and having the application developers fall in line behind it. Sometimes it may take a year or two and some marketing dollars, but it always happens.

Linux distros, on the other hand, are at the mercy of the nice people who are willing to write applications because it makes them feel good or they think it's fun. People who might decide to use the latest CVS snapshot of a certain library because it makes their job easier rather than the stable version that the distros painstakingly chose because it was the most compatible with everything else they had for that five second or so window when the CD went gold. A version which, no doubt, differs from every other distro on the planet.

Windows Update and whatever mechanism OS X may be using (last I checked it was just downloadable update packages) just update what Microsoft and Apple have tight control over, they don't even TRY to keep up with all the possible third party applications and libraries. Microsoft lately has been nice enough to distribute driver upgrades via Windows Update, but they are submitted to Microsoft's by the hardware manufacturers after THEY'VE ensured compatibility with the system.

Windows Update is a pretty neat thing that works decently, but what it does is miniscule compared to what is needed to maintain an updated Linux system.

This isn't a jab at Linux, either. I'm typing this on a laptop running Gentoo that's pretty much completely up to date, but still only reboots when *I* want to. That said, there are still conflicts I have to work out. I'm OKAY with that.

Maybe someday there will be an effort to make what you're asking for possible, but it'd take a critical mass of people who develop software for Linux agreeing on it at the same time. RedHat doesn't have the power to do it by themselves, so you bet your ass SuSE can't. In the meantime I'll be happy with any system that makes a best effort to handle any problems, but helps me do so when it can't. That sounds like what SuSE is trying to do.

Distro makers
by Xirzon on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:14 UTC

Rob,

install an app under Debian:

1) open installer front-end of your choice
2) choose app
3) app is downloaded and installed
4) run app (app is automatically added to app menu for all desktops / window managers).

I don't think it gets any simpler than that. Mandrake's urpmi should basically work the same way, but I haven't tested it.

I agree that distro makers have constant problems justifying their existence and compete instead of cooperating. The end user will not accept this in the long run, though. Lindows and Xandros are Debian-based for a good reason. But both have flawed business models (subscription pricing is unnecessary if you can get the stuff for free from Debian's servers, proprietary software a la Xandros is what we want to get away from). The trend clearly goes towards apt-style installation systems. As for business models, users are clearly willing to pay for open source software (cf. Blender) if properly motivated.

How will distro makers set each other apart if they can agree on astandard? There are plenty of other "unique selling propositions":

- installation procedure

- hardware detection and true plug & play

- configuration tools and standard software-installer

- desktop theme and setup

- online community and support

- ...

It will still take a while until we have a packaging standard though, and new players like Sun and HP will only further fragment the market.

re: setup.exe
by rezi on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:23 UTC

Hi Rob. Thats exactly the way i do it on suse. well, mostly:

> 1) Download "Setup.exe"

Why? i get all on cd's. Lets say "start yast", ok?

> 2) Double-click it

select and click continue. well similar.

> 3) Click "Next" -> "Next" -> "Next" -> "OK"

Avoid reading in between. Specially the EULA.
Have not counted the clicks, think its fewer.

> 4) Click "Start"

> 5) Point to the newly-created group under "Programs"
> *At this point, WindowsXP will even highlight the new program group for you, with a friendly pop-up tooltip saying "New Programs Are Installed" (which can be turned off, of course)

putting new stuff in menues could be better, yes.

> 6) Start your newly-installed program.

you forgot 5.5), rebooting. but running configuration
on suse 8.0 takes similar time. they wrote they optimized here. hopefully..

> And when a new version comes out, the project will put some tarballs on an FTP server somewhere.

No, they will sell another set of cd's half year later.
price of a good game.

Rezi

re: Setup.exe
by Ol' Fogey on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:23 UTC

Sheesh. How 'bout a comparison of apples to apples...

Go digging through http://www.simtel.net/ sometime. A lot of those installs aren't so pretty. What makes this a fair comparison? Simtel is a repository for >> Shareware, Freeware, and Public Domain << software.

I'm sure that the majority of $300 software packages for Linux install real purdy. Meanwhile, your dealing with an installer of primarily open source software. If you don't like the way it installs, get off yer arse and do it better, or appreciate what you're getting for the price you're paying for it.

Re: Debian vs. Yast
by Cesar Cardoso on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:38 UTC

Yes, apt is a WONDERFUL tool, `apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade' is the easiest way of making a system updated in any OS.

In stable and frozen systems, apt works as advertised - and even better. But the reality is only servers and dead people use stable, and testing/frozen seems going the same way, so people are using unstable. And, in unstable, it relies havily on the quality of packages - I wonder I find someone tracking Debian unstable for some time that one day saw his system unusable because of a badly done package/set of packages.

apt is great, but it doesn't substitute the human factor. As any updating system for any OS won't substitute, even if Apple and Microsoft and Eugenia thinks that it could.

Objective journalism
by mowgli on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:39 UTC

I'm certainly no friend of either SuSE in general or YaST in particular, but after reading this article, I am left with the uneasy feeling that this was not just not objective journalism, but in fact outright bashing, and I'm kinda saddened by this. is this really necessary? Debating things, even in a controversial way, is certainly a good thing, but let's try to not get personal - the last thing we need is this kind of mudslinging amongst ourselves.

This is the last straw
by JP on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:46 UTC

This is the last time I will read this web site. Eugenia, you are effectively reviewing this new package manager without even trying it. This is the second time in a week I have seen you express a knee-jerck opinion on something (the first being the call for a user friendly Gentoo) without having thought the matter through. UI disaster? How can you possibly know without seeing it in action? I understand that you are not a native english speaker but you clearly have work to do before you can elegantly express a cautioned opinion about anything without coming off as a total jackass. Most reporters at least do their research before coming up with an opinion or a review on something. Try it out next time. I won't be around to check.

Sincerly, Former Reader

Ever time I use Windows, I ask, "where did my emerge go." Instead of just doing a simple command, I have to go to all the trouble of finding a package, going through a braindead installation procedure (who cares where the package is installed?) and as often as not, I have to manually fix the damage the installer does to my desktop and start menu (I don't use my desktop, and I don't want freaking website links in my startmenu, thank you). In comparison, advanced Linux distros (that would be Debian or Gentoo) make software installation seem dead easy. No matter how "intuitive" you make setup.exe, its still overkill for something dead-simple. I guess if you want to make it complex and put a GUI on it, you could make a simple hierarchy of applications with a simple checkbox next to each, which would be the functional equivilent of emerge <something>. But that's as complex as it needs to get.

Dependency issues...
by Matthew Gardiner on Sun 15th Sep 2002 01:56 UTC

I'm running Redhat 7.3 and recently upgraded to Mozilla 1.1, now, when I rpm -Uvh *.rpm I was told that a package relied on Mozilla .9.9. Now, may people at this forum would chuck a hissie fit over it. Personally, I find it refreshing knowing that when I install foo.rpm, if the package I am replacing will work with other applications that rely on it. Since the only conflict I had was with galeon, which is not Mozilla 1.1 ready, I simply uninstalled galeon, re-did rpm -Uvh *.rpm and everything went through smoothly.

Dependencies are not hell if you actually read the warning and take the advice onboard.

As for the unsability advice. I work in the IT world. People do not read. Heck, you might as well get rid of the help files and titles under the icons because no **** user reads them. Tell a user to double click on Internet Explorer, you get a doppy huh? tell them to double click on the "e" icon, then they get it.

People are stupid by default. Unfortunately, unless they are willing to move from stupidity to semi-literate user, you can tweak, modify, re-jiggy etc with the UI and it won't make a brass-wazoo of difference, because at the end of the day, the person is still the same idiot and will find a way of screwing something up, even though you have done your best to stop it from happening.

Last time
by jc on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:03 UTC


I used to love checking out osnews.com for new tidbits and snippets of what's going on in the OS tech world.

No more. This is a horrible article. You're judging a product based on screenshots. For all you know you're looking at an advanced view. Or maybe an administrator view.

I'm sorry, but this is just a horrible review/troll.

RE: Debian vs. Yast
by Dennis Soper on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:10 UTC

MacOSX and WinNT/2k are also server OSes, and they don't need this kind of package management.

Yeah, right....

I think you have about as much experience administering Windoze boxen on an ongoing, day-to-day basis as you do running SuSE 8.1; i.e., none. I've used and/or administered every flavor of Windoze, many flavors of Linux (my current favorite is Gentoo, which, unlike yesterday's review, seriously rocks), Solaris, OpenVMS, MPE/iX, and several BSDs.

I can say, without *any* hesitation, that the way Windoze manages dependencies has caused me more hassles and frustration-- ".dll hell"-- than all the other OSs combined.

Re - This is the last straw
by ignorant on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:44 UTC

Eugenia is trying to compete with /. and, by the looks of it, is succeeding.

RE: Last time
by \K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:44 UTC

I have to say that I agree completely, I used to like to visit OSNews to find some interesting news
not covered by more mainstream sites...

But OSNews has demonstrated an aptitude really depressing, publishing sensationalist news, bashing
almost anything with little reason, making ridiculous questions in interview(does any one remember
the GCC interview?), speculating about almost anything...

It wasn't bad enough Eugenia not giving credit for the articles (it was really confusing to follow a
link on a news item to find out that Eugenia had just cut/pasted the full news item), then censuring
posts, and now writing a review based on screen-shots... *sigh*

For someone that has never written a row of code(that I have seen) the superiority tone is really
depressing, specially in matter where the ignorance of the author is patently obvious, doesn't
matter if it's kernel architecture, compiler optimization, GUI design, microprocessors, Eugenia
always knows...

Eugenia, I hope you learn a bit of humility, you really need it.

Best wishes and good luck

\K

Re - This is the last straw
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:51 UTC

> Eugenia is trying to compete with /. and, by the looks of it, is succeeding.

Not sure if with /. or TheRegister, any way, by now has surpased everyone, even with /. publishing the same news item
3 times a day, and 1/3 of them are hoax, at least they haven't had any software review based on screenshots...

The current status of the nerd/geek news sites is very depresing, anybody knows of any good news site?

Thanks

\\K

RE: Setup.exe
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:55 UTC

I'm sure it's quite obvious, but I'll point it any way:

> 1) Download "Setup.exe"

> 2) Double-click it

> 3) Click "Next" -> "Next" -> "Next" -> "OK"

> 4) Click "Start"

...
(you forgot steps 36 and 42: ) Reboot your computer)

1) # apt-get install myApp
or
1) # cd /usr/ports/myApp/make install

\K

Review of YaST
by Iconoclast on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:56 UTC

I don't know what nightmare Eugenia is having when looking at this new version of YaST, but I think it looks great. I think it is interesting too that it has a very similar layout to Microsoft's MSDN subscriber download web page, which I also think looks fine, but I don't ever see negative reviews regarding Windows UI or Microsoft on this site.

In all honesty, what good does it do to write an article about a tool you've never used and complain about its features if you don't even understand what they do?

The current YaST has the same categories as the new one, but they are not as cleanly displayed. I think SuSE has done a good job here and I am looking forward to trying 8.1 out when it is released. Also, when writing a review about YaST, it would be nice if you mentioned that it is not only a package management tool; it is a whole lot more and it does all of these things very well. In fact, SuSE is the only distro I will use other than Debian and YaST is the reason I do.

My favorite line from the review was, "Advanced search: Which package provides that library my program needs?" Do you truly think that Joe User needs or should be forced to know or search about this? If your answer is "yes", then, Mr SuSE, you got no clue about desktop system design.

First of all, SuSE takes care of dependencies for you so you don't have to worry about this, but there are times when someone might want this information. It would be pretty stupid if Windows only contained features that Joe User knew how to use wouldn't it? Why are you railing against SuSE for providing a tool that may come in very handy for more advanced users? I mean really, just because a feature is there doesn't mean that Joe User (whoever the hell that is) HAS to use it.

Lastly, this search tool LOOKS (I haven't used it yet) more powerful than the current search capabilities. Personally, I think since SuSE does give you a ton of useful software, even Joe User will appreciate the ability to search for those cool programs he has heard about (yes, the search tool can be used for that as well).

I think this review was based on nescience and only written to get a story out and piss and moan again about Linux. I'm sad to see such things on OSNews.

RE: Setup.exe
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 02:58 UTC

And don't forget to format and reinstall from scratch your windows partition at least once a month!

\K

RE: Setup.exe
by Iconoclast on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:07 UTC

\K: And don't forget to format and reinstall from scratch your windows partition at least once a month!

You have to be fair. Some people only do this once a year. Of course their computer limps along after a month since Windows degrades itself so bad, but they just think it's because they haven't upgraded their computer during the last 6 months so Microsoft doesn't care.

In all seriousness. Setup.exe is the worst setup mechanism I've ever used. I have used Linux, BeOS, *BSD, Solaris, OS X, MacOS, QNX, and some other operating systems and all of their setup mechanisms are better (and less prone to leaving artifacts on the machine) than setup.exe. In my opinion of course.

Eugenia and Linux
by Jay on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:08 UTC

Eugenia has never written code? Ridiculous!

I have not used SuSE 8.1 yet either. But, in her article, Eugenia has said - and has said this many, many times - that she always thinks in terms of the user. There are users of a certain level that would find the features in the new YaST 2 very helpful. But, Joe User...I really thought that new versions of YaST 2 would become even more simple to use, in the Jow User sense. I don't know, if there might be different settings for the new YaST, a "Simple" setting and an "Advanced" setting - that would be a good thing, I think. The screenshots - I was taken aback by them because i wasn't expecting such a big change in that direction. perhaps SuSE, going more toward server, has decided to let outfits like Lycoris, Lindows, ELX and Xandros take care of the low end.

RE: Joe Eugenia User
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:24 UTC

> Joe User...

Sure, I'm going to send an email to Rob Pike complaining that in the Plan9 install is too difficult for poor Joe User to have to edit vgadb using ed...

I couldn't care less about Joe User... the more far you keep any "Joe User" from me, the better...

If OSNews is supposed to mean JoeUserNews, then that explains everything!, I wonder how the hell I ended up in this site? an accident... I better stop reading and close the browser before I get a psychological trauma for the rest of my life...

\k

P.S.: Yea, I also enjoy mindless bashing from time to time XD

replies
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:32 UTC

> Eugenia, you are effectively reviewing this new package manager without even trying it.

This was NOT a review. It is under the EDITORIAL section. It was an "our take" based on these web page of the SuSE employee. It is my personal opinion on how it looks and based on its description too, it doesn't look right. It looks crappy, no matter how I turn it. It just doesn't make me wanna use SuSE. It turns me away. This is re-invention of the wheel, IT IS NOT INNOVATION.

> It wasn't bad enough Eugenia not giving credit for the articles (it was really confusing to follow a
link on a news item to find out that Eugenia had just cut/pasted the full news item)

What the fuck are you talking about? Are you talking about the AMD story a week ago? Read the AMD comments of mine from that post to see what really happened!! HELLO???

> [i]The current status of the nerd/geek news sites is very depresing, anybody knows of any good news site?


OSNews.

You know //K, you can now go and shove it. Enough trolling from your part, go away and leave us alone. Send us a postcard if you want. Further trolling from your part will end you up moderated down. This is a promise.

(I didn't take the time to read all comments, so I apologize if this has been hit already.) You (Euginia) also gripe about the fact that they can't be exact on the versioning, but I dont think you realize that the package manager is also supposed to be able to install packages that ARE NOT distributed by SuSE, for example, nVidia driver .rpms
Other than that, for SuSE to force a standardized versioning scheme on all included packages would be a waste of time! What happens when I want to check my version of, say wine, is up to date, and my distro says i'm version 4.3, while the site lists files as cvsYYYYMMDD files? Will I be confused? The ---- I will be! Whoa, SuSE just paid HOW MANY people to make WHAT standard version scheme to help me DO WHAT?

Oh, and if you have trouble with any of the points provided here, try to remember that SuSE is trying to provide a useful, powerful OS out of the box for someone who knows what they're doing.

Oy, more.
by M. Howard on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:41 UTC

Hey, about the windows reinstalls, I just want you to know that the windows partition on my Athlon XP 1900+ system now is a Windows installation that started as Windows 3.1 and has progressed over the years up to Windows XP now, and it runs just fine... well, as far as that can be said for windows ;)

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that a major idea in the manual complex dependency resolution is to provide you with more choice... what if you have some older proprietary software that will only run with an older version of glibc (this is just an example, don't get technical here), but some newer SuSE packages need a newer version. When you try to install the packages, it says, "HEY WHOA!" and explains what is going on. Now, you can figure out what you want to do and take care of it.

OR, the package manager could automatically take care of it for you and... uh... how would it do that automatically? Yeah I bet it's wondering too! ;)

RE: Jay
by Iconoclast on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:44 UTC

Eugenia has never written code? Ridiculous!

If Eugenia says she has written code, then I, for one, will believe her. I would be interested in seeing her code though to see what kind of interface she is using. She picks on interface a lot on this site, so just out of curiosity, I would like to see what a good interface should look like. I know she's ported some stuff to BeOS, but I would like to see something that was all her work just to check out the interface.

I have not used SuSE 8.1 yet either...

I'm typing this from a SuSE 8.0 machine. I think YaST is easier to use than Window's Control Panel (it is a similar tool after all, so I think comparing the two is fair). I have looked at all the 8.1 screen shots provided, and I think they have done even a better job in the new version. If you have never used the tool, please try it and see how easy it makes your Linux life before passing a judgement of condemnation.

RE: quotes
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 03:58 UTC

Seems that most of the posts about this have been deleted, but there are still a few left in this history:

http://osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=1688

Even in /., when they quote someone else, they use quotes *gasp*!

And I have already know your official answer:

[...]"we ALWAYS quote or USE AS IS the first paragraph of the article WE LINK TO. This is standard procedure and we have done so a *zillion times* in the past, and we will continue doing it in the future. That's how it works."

"Use as is", very professional... feel free to delete this, but you would be better listening to the people that bother to give you some advice instead of flaming/bashing/censuring them.

Bye

\\k

About Eugenia
by Adam Scheinberg on Sun 15th Sep 2002 04:26 UTC

Eugenia has written plenty of code. Anyone who's ever used the BeOS or downloaded apps from BeBits.com knows that's she's ported something like 80 apps to the BeOS.

OSNews.com should not be considered a standard "news site." It's never been any secret that Eugenia runs this site as a hobby - we're all guests. If you want a community based site, you should visit K5. If you want a straight up news site you should visit zdnet or slashdot. I've always found this site interesting and enjoyed participating, but it's always been under the rules set forth from day 1 - this is Eugenia's site and above all, she runs it in the manner she sees fit. When reading editorials like this, comments should be about the topic itself or your reaction to the author's opinion, not about the site in general.

By the way, as far as competing, at last check, both the Register and Slashdot do over a million hits a day. OSNews does about 70,000 on it's busiest days. So there's no sensationalism for the sake of publicity going on here.

This review...
by Jeremy McAnally on Sun 15th Sep 2002 04:46 UTC

is a little harsh. It's not that confusing. I mean you have to find a medium where the power user can do what he wants (and it not be dumbed down) and where the normal/inexperienced user can use it. If it's confusing, RTFM! ;) Jeez people whatever happened to reading a man page?

RE: This review...
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 04:51 UTC

>Jeez people whatever happened to reading a man page?

Users should never read man and help pages to install an application. Package managers should ALWAYS be *dead simple*. Package managers were created for these "dumb" users, the rest of us can do with the command line. Exactly because they were made for these "dumb" user, the managers should be self-explanatory to use too.

No one ever had to read the help of InstallShield or the .pkg of MacOSX or the .pkg of BeOS or the also great, QNX app manager. YaST2 should be easy to use too.

What the......????
by John on Sun 15th Sep 2002 04:52 UTC

How can you claim to provide an accurate review of a product that you admit you've never even used? Also, why are you complaining about the Advanced Search feature being something your average user would be confused by? Isn't it the *ADVANCED* search feature? From the things that you found confusing I would guess that you've never seen a computer before in your life, or are just confused by the english language (as seems obvious from how well, *not*, that you write).

RFCs not needed
by linux_baby on Sun 15th Sep 2002 04:59 UTC

> No matter if it is not truly SuSE's
> or Red Hat's or Mandrake's fault
> or not. The problem here is deeper
> and more... philosophical but I won't
> get into it this time.

Have you actually tried RedHat's new package manager? If RH's new package manager isn't dumb-easy to use, I don't know what is.

Actually, Joe user is not a cutting-edge software kind of guy. Typically, he isn't into updating software, so the so-called dependency hell is geek-talk more or less.

I have never used SUSE, but all the dists I use are making amazing progress. LSB is progress. UnitedLinux is progress. Things are not perfect, but they get better all the time, and at an amazing speed. Hey, windows came out many moons ago, but it only became stable and mature recently.

I think the Linux companies are really making progress. Let's cheer them on guys, lets show some appreciation for their hard work. Criticism and writing RFCs is actually the easy part. Writing code and doing work that actually helps make linux better is the hard part.

BEOS was a commercial company. No dependency hell. Single-source control. Excellent UI, according to Be zealots. It still failed anyway.

eugenia
by ram on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:09 UTC

i used to have fun reading osnews, it provided lots of useful and interesting articals, but nowadays eugenia sounds like a lady going through personal crisis that needs to bash readers to gain attention.

RE: What the......????
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:15 UTC

>Isn't it the *ADVANCED* search feature

No, it is not. It is the plain search feature. You don't need to click on an "Advanced search" button to get to that result about the dependant libraries.

>eugenia sounds like a lady going through personal crisis that needs to bash readers to gain attention.

I write articles. That's what I do over here.
If people don't agree or they are unhappy for critisizing their favorite distro or OS they write stupid comments like yours to counter my arguments. How unproductive.

RE: Eugenia the Grouch?
by Mick on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:15 UTC

Eugena, your past two articles have been hypocritical and cynical. How much are they paying you for this sh*t ??

You seem to think SuSE are trying to make things as difficult as possible for the user!!! From my experience, SuSE is one of the easier-to-use distributions around. Sure, it's not as easy to use as Windows, but things ARE continually improving (like the package manager). The new package manager from what I have seen is a big improvement on current offerings.

PLEASE stop posting ridiculous articles trying to get a bit of attention. Please DO post some reasoned and rational articles that show just a little bit of thought.

A thumbs up for power users
by Henri Yandell on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:20 UTC

As someone who runs SuSE professional as an internet server [two actually, 7.1 and 8.0] SuSE's YaST has increasingly grown on me. When I first started using SuSE as a workstation machine, Red Hat users gave me all this advice that failed to work. I eventually realised this was because you have to do things the SuSE-way, that is use YaST.

It had failings originally, but the version in 8.0 has yet to surprise or hurt me. Many thanks to SuSE for providing me with a program management tool which happily works without being a GUI. I've no clue how I would do such a thing on OS X, and even less clue how such a thing would be done on a Windows OS.

I know I don't represent a typical 'user' in Eugenia's view, but I'm still waiting for OS X and Windows updaters to get as easy to use as YaST. OS X insists on rebooting the machine [won't let me turn off] and spends a lot of time 'optimising' with no information about what is going on. Users may accept magic, but they don't like it.

Windows on the other hand keeps forcing me to reboot when I install stuff, probably a bit more than OS X, but it's getting more even. It also has this weird thing where it will only allow certain things to be updated at a time, and apparantly updates can tie me into different legal contracts. Lastly, I've always found the Windows updater to be quite obscure about just what is being updated beyond 'Internet Explorer Fix 7.2' or whatever.

RE: Eugenia the Grouch?
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:20 UTC

>How much are they paying you for this sh*t ??

I do not get paid on OSNews by anyone.

>Please DO post some reasoned and rational articles that show just a little bit of thought.

That's what I do.
I believe what I wrote over there 100% and I am not taking back a single word. I truly believe that this package manager is just NOT suitable for the simple user. It just isn't. And I wrote this editorial to back up my claims with REAL arguments.

All you fanboys can do is just cry foul for critisizing your fav distro or OS.

I do not find my article illogical AT ALL. In fact, I have made my case very clear.

Criticism on versioning scheme...
by Christian Loth on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:46 UTC

Just a short remark:
so you think something like 3.1,95,98,ME,2000,XP
is a standard versioning scheme? Versioning is confusing
in both worlds, I think, and I'm not happy with either ;-)

RE: Criticism on versioning scheme...
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:50 UTC

Windows XP and 98 are not OS naming versions. They are marketing names. The real version of my Windows XP is something like 5.1xxx I think (can't check it right now, I am under Linux currently).

Your remark(s) are at best naive.
by anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:53 UTC

You said "As for dependancies, these should be automatically resolved, and if this is not possible, there should not be allowed dependancies of this sort for any of the SuSE packages."

That's a remarkably naive statement to make. What if you don't want package X installed on your system and yet it is required by package Y.

Removing the flexibility of Unix to satify the "less skillful computer users" would be a really dumb stunt.

Get a grip.

RE: Criticism on versioning scheme...
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:57 UTC

Yea, next time I meet a JoeUser(God save me from it), I'll
ask him what version of windows he uses, 5.1.643 or 3.11.291?

BTW, as you know so much, what was the "real" version of windows 98, ME?

Ah, that was just MS-DOS 9.666 XDD

\K

RE: Your remark(s) are at best naive.
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 05:58 UTC

> What if you don't want package X installed on your system and yet it is required by package Y.

Then you don't get package Y and maybe you don't really want it. Fooling the system is not good either. If there is a real reason to not want package X, it means that you don't want it because it is going to screw up something, and if that is the case, then the screw up should be fixed and then install package Y. As I said in the article, by installing the libraries on the <folder of app>/lib/ folder, fixes most of the problems of breaking other things.

>Removing the flexibility of Unix to satify the "less skillful computer users" would be a really dumb stunt

No, it all depends WHERE you want to SELL your product. If your audience are plain users, you might indeed need to lose some of the unix flexibility. If your audience are power users, leave the functionality as is, but make it visible only via an "advanced" view.

RE: Criticism on versioning scheme...
by Eugenia on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:00 UTC

>I'll ask him what version of windows he uses, 5.1.643 or 3.11.291?

You do not get it, do you?
These are version numbers made and ONLY used by Microsoft pretty much. The user does not need to know and he does NOT know about these numbers! That PROVES my point actually. The user does not need to know. All he/she needs to know is that there is a new version available! Nothing else. Your post just proved my point on how well the Microsoft and OSX way works and how screwy the Linux distribution's way is.

Slackware vs SUSE
by Richard on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:05 UTC

For those that don't know Slackware is considered newbie hell. I have heard many people say Slackware is hard to use, too hard for newbies, it is a RTFM distro.

Now thinking about users that get confused easily and looking at the screenshots of the YAST installer from this article. I wonder why they don't call SUSE newbie hell.

There is way too much data on the screen to take in. There is no process to follow. You might as well go back to the command line.

They should have little wizard thingys.
Install package
Select source of package
Check dependecies
Install

Remove package
Select package to remove from list of installed ones (by date)
Check dependencies
remove

For example on Slackware I would do something like this
#cd /var/log/packages
#ls
#removepkg jed-B0.99_15-i386-1

See simple two or three steps.

Why doesn't Yast have two big buttons "Install" and "Remove" on the front

Why does it have to be so complicated. Slackware isn't.

Slackware user since 2.2

I agree with some of those things.
by Alex Radu on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:06 UTC

It looks great for power users, but isn't that attractive for a normal user. I think they should have a "Normal" button somewhere on their interface, which would show something like Redhat's or more like Gnome's package manager. Alsow aht ahppened to file menus etc. They would be really useful. I also think they should show a small icon for the programs to make it look less intimidating.

v I agree that Eugenia needs a hobby
by Joe on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:08 UTC
RE: Criticism on versioning scheme...
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:10 UTC

> how well the Microsoft [...] way works

You never had to maintain a windows server, have you?

Keeping track of the order in which you apply hot
fixes/service paks, and being careful that none of them breaks more things than it fixes is *so* fun!

Do you know how many hot fixes are released every month?

Ever tried to recover after the installation of a SP goes wrong?

I still have nightmares from when NT SP3 was released...

Well, in the positive side, if joe user continues using ms products, all Joe Users will die of a cerebral collapse soon XD

\K

>Why does it have to be so complicated?
and
>It looks great for power users, but isn't that attractive for a normal user.

Thank you both, you really "got" what I was trying to express. ;)

YAST ??? !!!
by chicobaud on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:12 UTC

I use SuSE since... there was no YAST 2 !!
Only YAST 1 was available.


It was a nice package and system manager. I tell you !
I don't see a problem with Joe User. All I see is people not familiar with SuSE and YAST 2 (thuis is intendend to sys admin not average userers)...
YAST 2 must be the best manager (software and system admin) I ever saw.

If you tried YAST 1 you would like this new YAST 2 second generation (too bad they will drop YAST 1 for good (as they say).

Anyway it's better than KPackage and RedHat (absent) package manager all toghether !

Confusion ?? that's only if you can't learn from your own experience and trial and error.

SuSE
by Jay on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:13 UTC

I am going to try out SuSE 8.1 as 8.0 is my favorite large distro. I want to see the new YaST in action too. I would think it should reveal who SuSE is trying to attract.

YAST 2 Next ...
by chicobaud on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:15 UTC

We all know SuSE makes you think...

It sure is not as RedHat aiming to average (low education) Americans.

More dumbing down for the masses
by jacob on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:21 UTC

I find it disheartening that more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon of lets make Linux more user friendly. Well I'm all for that but not at the expense of what makes Linux well Linux.

I think package managers are in fact the wrong way to go about things. The whole point about my own Linux distrobution is that I compiled everything exactly the way I wanted it. I don't like static binaries as they are customized to my hardware, even though they are much simpler to install. If I wanted that I'd stick with the win32 equivalent binaries over in windows land. At the same time the people attacking Eugenia for her article have been harsh. She herself stated this was not a review but an impression.

Whilst we may not all agree, we should never personally attack someone in the manner I've seen here. Anyway my two cents worth.

"I likes my distro just fine, I don't need no stinking packages"

RE: Eugenia
by Iconoclast on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:33 UTC

No one ever had to read the help of InstallShield or the .pkg of MacOSX or the .pkg of BeOS or the also great, QNX app manager. YaST2 should be easy to use too.

It is that easy. I have installed a lot of things with YaST and have never had to do anything other than click the program I wanted to have installed. Can it be any easier?

v RE: Eugenia
by \\K on Sun 15th Sep 2002 06:59 UTC
I'm Joe user
by period on Sun 15th Sep 2002 08:13 UTC

>There is way too much data on the screen to take in. There is no
>process to follow. You might as well go back to the command line.

>They should have little wizard thingys.
>Install package
>Select source of package
>Check dependecies
>Install

>Remove package
>Select package to remove from list of installed ones (by date)
>Check dependencies
>remove

If' i'm a Joe User, can you explain to me what is "dependecies" ? :-)
Why can i not just "install the package ?"

Comparing like with like
by Drone on Sun 15th Sep 2002 08:15 UTC

With all due respect, you're not comparing like to like when comparing pretty much any Linux package manager against Windows Update. It's only purpose is maintaining a _tiny_ set of packages, all of which is controlled by MS. Drivers too, given they have to be signed to even make it anywhere near the update.

When Windows Update updates and manages _everything_ I have installed under Windows, I believe you'll have a point. Until it does, you're trying to compare things which have vastly different scope.

In any case, bar the lack of any GUI at all, APT solves all of those problems, and does it platform and package manager independently. And not just for a handfull of core packages, for 7000+ packages making up Debian.

YAST2 sure does look like all kinds of wrong from the screenshots, but comparing it to Windows Update is just plain looney.

APT ...
by Rob on Sun 15th Sep 2002 08:37 UTC

All this crap about APT.

Do this for me from your Debian box, without sacrificing your legendary Debian stability:

apt-get install xfree86-4.2.1
apt-get install gnome2
apt-get install kde-3.0.3

Is APT a good tool? Sure. It's a good tool for dealing with packages sanctioned by and CREATED by Debian's maintainers.

What good is it when you want to use current software? In the Windows world, if you're using SomeApp-1.0 and SomeApp-1.1 comes out, you just download the executable, install it, and off you go. Do you have to reboot? Maybe, but you DO NOT have to compile the stuff yourself, sort out god knows what libraries, break 50% of your system to get this one damned app to run because it was built with some pre-release version of GCC that never should have seen the light of day.

And when was the last time you installed a Windows package that didn't put a link on the Start menu? When was the last time you installed a linux package NOT packaged by/for your distro that DID? If this wasn't a problem, I don't think KAppfinder and "update-menus" would exist, now would they?

I LOVE Linux. I'm _typing_ this from Linux, but for God's sake, just because you like something doesn't mean you put on blinders and lie to yourself and everyone else who'll listen about your favorite pet product! If we all did that, nothing would ever get fixed would it? Repeat after me:

"I can be loyal to Linux without having to pretend it has no flaws whatsoever. I can enjoy Linux while at the same time admitting it is not perfection rendered in machine language."

So, tell me ... what is APT, really? It's crap. URPMI is crap. SuSE's new package manager is crap. So is Red Hat's. They are GOOD tools that do, for the most part, exactly what they are supposed to do. So how are they STILL crap? Simple, because that is precisely what they have to work with: crap.

So when you defend APT, what you're saying is, "APT is a wonderful tool that will install everything I want, even fix the bloody dependencies, AS LONG AS I DON'T STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX." How many of you Debian users are running "unofficial" debs for things like KDE and GNOME? How many of you worry that it's going to break your system at some point? One day "apt-get upgrade" is going to choke, gag, and send you scurrying for a rescue CD.

That is wrong. It's not Debian's fault. For what it does, APT is exceptional. URPMI is also very nice (I'm using it now, in the background, to sync my Mandrake 9.0 installation with Cooker). But they are, as Eugenia said, just pretty tools slapped onto an ugly problem.

You guys totally missed my point. ANYONE can reasonably expect to write a Win32 program, package it, and have it install on Windows98SE, WinME, Win2k, XP Pro/Home ... and unless they have done something really really stupid it will "just work".

I guess none of you Debian users recall the XFree86 4.2.0 flamewars, huh? APT is NOT as simple as a Windows package install. Period. If it was, you could just go grab the source tarballs from ftp.kde.org and throw KOffice-1.2 and KDE-3.0.3 on your Debian box, right? If those were Windows packages, you could reasonably expect to do just that.

If you want an example, pick a distribution that does NOT ship AbiWord 1.02.

Now, sit a series of Windows boxes next to this Linux machine, also not running AbiWord 1.02.

For the Linux machine:

Download the source. Hunt down any dependencies, update whatever libraries you need to (and hope you don't kill 10 other things in the process). Maybe make a few symlinks to KEEP from killing unrelated things. Figure out whether or not you have the build environment AbiWord needs: automake, autoconf, etc. Start the compile. Cross your fingers. Did it fail? Start over. Better luck next time. Maybe if you drop back to GCC 2.95 instead of GCC 3.2 ...


For the Windows machines: Download one copy of the AbiWord Win32 executable. Click a few times to get it installed; while the Linux box is still compiling start typing your new novel or whatever.

And before you flame me, or make well thought out remarks like, "You're a Microsoft shill, everyone knows Windows sucks, how much are they payin you??" ... Bear in mind, I don't use Windows. Period. I've been Linux-only for some time now. But, like I said, coating the problem with sugar and pretending it isn't there at all does NOTHING for Linux. Hell, in the end, it HURTS it.

Linux is fractured. Why do projects like AbiWord put out a single executable for Windows (98/ME/2K/XP) and a source tarball for Linux? Sure, there are RPMs for a couple of the big distros. But there shouldn't HAVE TO BE. THAT is the point.

People always bitch and whine about a lack of hardware vendor support for Linux. Go look at nVidia's website.
You can count the executables for Windows (ALL versions) on one hand. Now look at the Linux page. Just to support recent versions of Red Hat, Mandrake, and SuSE there are ALMOST FIFTY PACKAGES.

To support Windows (over NINETY PERCENT) of its userbase, nVidia has to release 3 packages: NT4, 98/ME, 2K/XP. So to support a TINY fraction of its userbase, nVidia must take the time to maintain almost 50 pacakges. And then we BITCH contstantly because the drivers aren't "free".

So you guys should get off Eugenia's back. Even if SuSE's new package manager is the greatest RPM manager of all time, it'll still suck, since it's nothing more than an attempt to make an ugly problem less visible without addressing the problem itself at all.

Re: I think Eugenia has a good point
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 08:50 UTC

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." ~ H. L. Mencken

> Why not just include any libraries which may cause problems
> if not statically linked?

Because not everything you install is an 'application'. What about extension DSOs such as PHP extension or C-written Perl libraries, etc? How would the linker find the dependancy libs for these, and more importantly, how would the linker resolve conflicts if you have libversion 0.1 in /usr/lib, and two extensions loaded into the same program that require that lib but 'ship with' libversion 0.9 and libversion 1.1 respectively? Symbol clashes can be *such* fun.

The way windows apps solve this is

a) only use libs that have no further dependencies, or
b) install libs with dependencies in the system folder.

b) seems to work sorta-kinda OK, and *could* be used on Linux, but if an application goes ahead and uninstalls a lib as part of its own uninstall , only to find that another app did in fact need that lib... oops! Reinstall!

I think Debian gets it right. Now for LSB to ditch RPM and declare dpkg/apt-get the standard.

Emile

Then go windows
by joerg rossd. on Sun 15th Sep 2002 09:02 UTC

... it should get updates automatically?
... it should not irritate the user with to many informations?
... it just confuses the user you can search for libs?

Gaaahh... thats why I dropped windows and try to avoid OS X, because _I_ want to control my OS.

The author of this article better should use windows or Mac OS, where he'll find all this features we don't want.

APT
by Drone on Sun 15th Sep 2002 09:08 UTC

Rob writes: "Do this for me from your Debian box, without sacrificing your legendary Debian stability:".

Which is entirely the point. I _want_ stability, not the latest and greatest ways to BSOD.

Rob goes on to say: "In the Windows world, if you're using SomeApp-1.0 and SomeApp-1.1 comes out, you just download the executable, install it, and off you go."

Dude, that's not package management. And exactly that sort of behaviour and belief by users that it should be that simple is IMO the major reason why Windows degrades over time. Hell, I've got Debian installations I've apt-get dist-upgraded from pre 2.0 some 4 years ago which have less degredation than a 6-month old copy of Windows.

Package Management is about nomalising the dependencies, about ensuring there's a sane path from point A to point B, and about wrapping the entire system in single clean consistent state.

You _can_ get the same functionality from package management as you get from setup.exe, it can be that simple. APT only needs a cutesy GUI and most users would never care. Want to run the latest crashing apps, fine select "unstable" and enjoy. Not only is it entirely workable to install 3rd party .debs, but if the people building them took the same amount of time they put into their setup.exe's it'd be simplier. Ideally, I'd love to be able to just add NVidia's apt source to my conf, and not have to care ever again about having to check for their updates.

A lot of the "problems" with package management in Linux do come down to tools that are 90% there. But to argue a totally non-packaged managed system is the Right Future is bizzare. It's no more advanced than DOS!

I'll repeat my original assertion: When you're comparing like to like, when you can show me _package_management_ for Windows which manages the entire system, you'll have made your point. Until then, Windows has a long way to go to sanity.

When people `discuss'
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 09:16 UTC

I am really shocked (well, not really, I am mid 20 and already don't like humans anymore) to see how many people write intelligent things like what personal problems Eugenia must have or how bad her article is. But those very same people never adress any of her arguments at all. I think they even fail to see her point of view. Isn't it at least a little bit depressing to see how to majority take part in such `discussions'?

YaST _IS_ solving dependencies automatic
by Adrian on Sun 15th Sep 2002 09:44 UTC


If ne1 had read the pages around the screenshots, you have noticed that YaST _IS_ solving dependencies automaticly (okay you can switch this off now).

_BUT_ this yast can handle different sources. And there will be always some conflicting packages (you can not install two MTA's on one system, for example), so you need a way to solve this by hand. No one want to removed his main mailserver automaticaly for example (like some other tools are doing, if you have bad luck).

Re: Eugenia and Linux
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 10:17 UTC

>But, Joe User...

... is not the kind of user Gentoo is targeting, so bashi^H^H^H^H^Hcritisizing Gentoo for not being friendly enough to Joe User isn't very productive.

user freindliness VS loss of control
by daniele on Sun 15th Sep 2002 11:09 UTC

One huge advantage of linux (unices, in general) VS Win-like OSes is the control the user (administrator) has over the system.
I think we shouldn't get confused and misunderstand of user-friendliness is and what is not.

An interface for configuring my network or printer, that saves me from manually editing 5 text files in different directories, and yet gives me the same power and flexibility is a great user-frienldy advance.

For Example, the Web Interface of the CUPS printing system is just marvellous.

On the other hand, if the use of a different interface results in a loss of control over the system, then the interface is no good for that system.

In this case, we have a task that is pretty complex (package installation, dependency resolution and so on) and an interface that gives the user (at least it seems to) the power to do the same things he would do on the command line, plus the advantage of an organized and visually compact interface.

"Linux being ready for the desktop" doesn't mean "being as easy as windows" (assuming that it is as easy). It just means: take it into a dimension where the user knows what is doing and can do it as simply and fast as possible.

I don't see the reason why a person who doesn't know what an IP address should be configuring a LAN. A friendly interface means configure your LAN in a minute rather than half a hour, but knowing what you are doing.

Installing a package means you must know what effect this package may have on the system.

If Y depends on X and I want the first but not the latter, I want to know that I have to install X if I want my software to be installed as well.

In the end, I don't want my OS to pull my legs.
I want it to make my job possibly smoother and faster, but in awareness of what I'm doing.

Daniele

p.s.: sorry for my english, I hope I made my point clear

Different choices, different times
by guest on Sun 15th Sep 2002 11:16 UTC

Hi Eugenia,

I see where you're coming from, and I often wish for the same
things. But wishes is what they are. I'd like to point
some things out.

Linux has a large variety of software, some of which
conflicts with others by NECESSITY. For example, you cannot
use (as far as I'm aware of) the mgetty fax system with other
getty implementations. Neither can you use alsa software
with oss drivers. However, Linux is great because it allows
the user such choices, I believe. I suspect many people in
the Linux Community would leave quickly if they lost such
flexible choices. So the only option is a management system
which is capable of handling that.

Secondly, we are in the era of automatically updated software
over the web. Especially with free Linux dists like Debian,
there is no true concept of a "Release" like windows 95 as
opposed to 98 or 2000. Even if a Software and libraries
will be updated to track current developments without the
need for waiting to upgrade an entire OS. Since libraries
will be updated, and software requiring it will be updated
in stages, this requires the management of conflicts.
Equally, however, this management cannot be guaranteed to be
automatic. If a new program I want requires a new package,
which conflicts with an old one, then that will inevitably
create a conflict with packages using the older library. It
has to -- life just isn't that easy when you want to be a
chooser. Of course, if we want to be beggers, we can go
back to our nicely groomed and distributed windows.

Finally, I agree that things could be simpler. I think that
yast2 is a step forward. It seems to provide the features
that I love from Debian, but in a nicer, more obvious way
I've been waiting for. I've been HOPING for more, though.

What I'd really like to see is a system in which I select
which FEATURES I want in my OS, and have it install the
suitable packages which provide those features. Rather than
selecting exim, ldap, and kde, I'd select a mailmanager with
network centric addressbooks, and a GUI mail reader. This
higher level of abstraction would be much easier for package
management tools to figure out dependancy issues for, and
so would make manual handling much less common.

Even then, though, I'd still DEMAND to be able to force
certain package choices sometimes. I always want my favorite
console editor, for example.

Re: I'm Joe user
by Richard on Sun 15th Sep 2002 11:37 UTC

Dependencies

It is something just about all systems do.

The step I listed was a Automatic step done by the system which should only query the user if needs be. 90% of software does not need dependency checking.

Slackware is living proof.

In slackware it is installpkg packagename

No dependency check.
It is neccesary when people don't know what they are doing though but it should be automatic.

Slackware vs SUSE Redux
by Richard on Sun 15th Sep 2002 12:26 UTC

I took a screenshot of Slackwares pkgtool frontend

http://dogmilk.homelinux.com/pics/pkgtool.png

Does SUSE have a similar interface?

arguing about what?
by bahamot on Sun 15th Sep 2002 13:14 UTC

why people keep arguing here? if anyone doesn't agree with any article here, i think it can't be avoid since every person has different background and taste. So it's best to just give an opinion without trying to insulting the author.

RE:Setup.exe
by Jerry on Sun 15th Sep 2002 13:32 UTC

YOu missed a few steps, Rob.
IF it is MS software then before #1 you should have included "Click OK on disclaimer stating you don't own this software" so what you paid is part of a TRO (Total Rental Cost) not a TCO.

Then, "Click to accept EULA that surrenders your rights to control what is on your own computer, allowing MS to add or remove any programs it wants for the 'sake' of your computer's security".

Then, "Reboot your computer to complete the installation of this program".

The information at http://www.bugtoaster.com/dw15/Reports/OperatingSystems.asp
is evidence that your computer may not reboot properly. It also lays waste to your claim of simplicity. Which version of XP were you installing the app on? There are 11 versions, or didn't you know that? Is that patch you are installing, one of thousands required to repaire security holes, the right one for your version of XP? Will it fix the security hole it claims it is fixing, or is it's real purpose to force you into to a DRM environment not of your own choosing?

Did you see a button that allowed you to accept or reject the fact that MS is storing every website you vist, every email address you have in your address book, and other personal information, in secret hidden files that get up loaded to Redmond? No, you didn't.

Did you see a button that allows you not to pay License 6 fees for the next five for essentially the same apps you've always been running? No, you didn't. But, you do.

Did MS ask if you wanted to 'upgrade' to XP or will MS just cut off support for Win9X, NTX and W2K, forcing users to XP (and later LongHorn) or leave users of those platforms twisting in the wind?


Your "CORE REASON" argument is ludicrous. There have been OVER 50 versions of the Win32 platform since Win95 first came out. Most of the software written for the original Win95 won't run on later versions. Most software that will run on the first version of SuSE or Mandrake will run on the latest version, or didn't you know that libc5 will co-exist with libc6?

Only a Microsurftie slave would complain about having free access to 'too many apps'. And those apps are installed merely by runnning MCC and clicking a few buttons. So are the security patches or the version upgrades. If you had run Mandrake you'd know that.

If you have installed Mandrake 8.2, for example, you will find out that it is as easy or easier to install than XP. But, since MS contiues their illegal monopoly, with the help of the Bush DOJ team, you don't have to go through the agonies of installing XP on your box. It comes preinstalled and you have to pay for it even if you didn't want it. Rest assured, though, XP will crud up enough to eventually force you to reinstall it, Then you can tell me how easy it is to install XP, IF the Registration Wizard doesn't decide you are a pirate and prevents you from doing so!



RE: RE: Setup.exe
by null_pointer_us on Sun 15th Sep 2002 13:53 UTC

IF it is MS software then before #1 you should have included "Click OK on disclaimer stating you don't own this software" so what you paid is part of a TRO (Total Rental Cost) not a TCO.

You mean I can only use Windows XP for a certain number of months? Shoot...


Which version of XP were you installing the app on? There are 11 versions, or didn't you know that? Is that patch you are installing, one of thousands required to repaire security holes, the right one for your version of XP?

I just use Windows Update, like nearly everyone else has since the release of Windows 98.


Did you see a button that allowed you to accept or reject the fact that MS is storing every website you vist, every email address you have in your address book, and other personal information, in secret hidden files that get up loaded to Redmond? No, you didn't.

Cool. Which secret files are they being stored in?


Did you see a button that allows you not to pay License 6 fees for the next five for essentially the same apps you've always been running? No, you didn't. But, you do.

Ordinarily I try to ignore bad grammar in the interest of getting along, but in this case I cannot understand you. What fees are you talking about?


Did MS ask if you wanted to 'upgrade' to XP or will MS just cut off support for Win9X, NTX and W2K, forcing users to XP (and later LongHorn) or leave users of those platforms twisting in the wind?

You trying to tell me that SuSe still supports version 6.0? That Apple supports OS 8? That IBM supports computers you bought seven years ago?


Your "CORE REASON" argument is ludicrous. There have been OVER 50 versions of the Win32 platform since Win95 first came out. Most of the software written for the original Win95 won't run on later versions.

You need to stop lying before you get slammed. If developers properly targeted Win16 and wrote their programs according to the API, such programs will still run on Windows XP. Ditto that for Win32 apps. Heck, Windows XP still runs some of my DOS games. Do you know how many and how often Linux programs break? Without a large company and hundreds of dedicated programmers, it is hard to create a large collection of Linux apps that don't break each other.


Only a Microsurftie slave would complain about having free access to 'too many apps'.

We can do without the name calling, thank you. Who is arguing against having free access to "too many apps"? I thought that the argument was about how to present those applications in a way that Joe User can understand, not whether to prevent the thousands of Linux software packages from being installed.


If you have installed Mandrake 8.2, for example, you will find out that it is as easy or easier to install than XP.

I did, and it wasn't.


But, since MS contiues their illegal monopoly, with the help of the Bush DOJ team,

It is not illegal to *be* a monopoly; it is illegal to use one's monopoly power to prevent competition from entering the market. Even that is pretty vague, and there are a lot of arguments about whether Microsoft was exercising its power legitimately or not.


you don't have to go through the agonies of installing XP on your box. It comes preinstalled and you have to pay for it even if you didn't want it.

How, exactly? I followed the licensing fiasco for a little bit, but I decided that it was too complicated to make a convincing case either way.


Rest assured, though, XP will crud up enough to eventually force you to reinstall it,

*thinks of all the times I've reinstalled Linux distros because they messed up system files and package databases*


Then you can tell me how easy it is to install XP, IF the Registration Wizard doesn't decide you are a pirate and prevents you from doing so!

Registration is not activation; registration is optional. It cannot decide that you are a pirate, and neither can the activation wizard. The activation wizard can, however, identify whether you are using a pirated copy of Windows XP. I have never heard of a bug with this process - it's far too simple to louse up. And frankly, if you have pirated the software, I would not mind if you were arrested and thrown in jail.

Windows XP
by rajan r on Sun 15th Sep 2002 13:55 UTC

you forgot 5.5), rebooting. but running configuration
on suse 8.0 takes similar time. they wrote they optimized here. hopefully..


if you are running an app made for Windows XP/NT, you would notice it doesn't require a reboot. Only drivers and legacy software require them.

Joe Users Package Manager on suse :)
by rezi on Sun 15th Sep 2002 13:56 UTC

There is a menue-item with all uninstalled software.
Open Menu, search what you want and click.
Rest goes automatic.
No need to see one of yast2 - screenshots ;)
Rezi

Versions, Names & Colors :)
by rezi on Sun 15th Sep 2002 14:17 UTC

"Color-coded package versions":

<<
>I'll ask him what version of windows he uses, 5.1.643 or 3.11.291?

You do not get it, do you?
These are version numbers made and ONLY used by Microsoft pretty much. The user does not need to know and he does NOT know about these numbers! That PROVES my point actually. The user does not need to know. All he/she needs to know is that there is a new version available! Nothing else. Your post just proved my point on how well the Microsoft and OSX way works and how screwy the Linux distribution's way is.
>>

If versions are different, they are red, if same black,
if not installed blue ..
Cool ;)
Linux drawback is, it has so much software filling the screen..

The diversity of car's models
by D.Ph on Sun 15th Sep 2002 14:32 UTC

When I ve come home from office day after day, ther are so much of car models infront of me, traffic jam ;) . Think about it as a diversity of IT, OS(es). What will you should do as you buy a car's spare part: tell car workshop about your car brand, model... what am i saying here is that please pick up a purpose-able car for your according aim. So is Operating system. Like Darwin's theory, the diversity of biological development, let them develop as the way they ve been targetted.
I am using RH7.3 and every new rh from 5.x to 7.x, I ve just bought handwritten cds. and also suseBox professional 7.3,debian, slackware or winXP/98/NT/2000, I tried. Think nothing to argue about them. And rememberable that IT is for commerce as well, mean let choose which OS gives you the best solution in a particular business or gain your career a lot.
have fun
D.Ph

re: Windows XP (??)
by rezi on Sun 15th Sep 2002 14:56 UTC

Rajan, <<
you forgot 5.5), rebooting. but running configuration
on suse 8.0 takes similar time. they wrote they optimized here. hopefully..

if you are running an app made for Windows XP/NT, you would notice it doesn't require a reboot. Only drivers and legacy software require them.
>>

We are talking about Joe User, Joe User uses win9X,
so i talk about that.
I know in theory she is not able to use it, but..

Rezi

Linux has .DLL Hell too....
by Mopar on Sun 15th Sep 2002 15:08 UTC

Linux just has it a little differently: lib*.so hell. The only thing better about Linux is, you can have seperate libs in the same dir, and different programs can use their own libs, but now there is twice the disk space taken up. I thought one of shared libraries' advantages was the fact that program code does not have to be duplicated by statically compiling it into several different programs... Doing it this way is about like static compliling in terms of disk usage... and who cares about a couple of hundred Kb when most ppl have 10GB or more of space at their disposal?
GG DOS
GG OS/2

Yast2 - User and admin - has not the same needs.
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 15:26 UTC

1) Yast from user point - it sucks. Seems too complicated.
2) Yast from power user, or system administrator, point - not needed. Im happy with make, .rpm or .dep from command line. But yes, it tells me everything I need to know.

Why 1: "Joe user" needs a dead simple way to update his/her computer, dead simple is "click here to update/install". No more info is needed or welcome. All the rest should have been taken care of by the one who took my money (SUSE in this case, MS in many other cases). MS does that well. Sure MS fails sometimes but 99% of the time their updates works.

Why 2: Many times a power-user has a modified system, and he/she knows what he/she is doing. Sure all help is welcome, even a GUI, but its not _needed_.

Before claiming that I do not know what Im writing: This is written on Mozilla (built from CVS) on a heavilly modified SuSe 7.1 running OpenBox as "GUI". My laptop is running debian woody. Woody installed over network. Has working suspend, sound, X and so on (had to tweak it to get sound). My play thing is running Win98 (no reinstall done for several years). Ive been administrating NT4, Win2k, Linux RedHat/SuSe (both clean distros and modified version) servers.

So yes, I have tested some OS package managers. And yes Ive had my part of "dll hell" (MS), "dependency hell" (.rpm, .dep) and broken installations (both Win and Linux). And it does not really matter on which OS your on, it always suck.

GUI Design
by Scorched Earth on Sun 15th Sep 2002 15:47 UTC

An interface that is done properly will allow a a common user and an expert to finish their work with great efficiency. As long as the information on the screen is clear and concise, the common user should be able to understand what the program is doing. Adding more buttons or different modes for different levels of users only complicates the design as well as the programming. GUI design is usually the second thing on the to-do list. How many professional GUI designers are working on open source projects? Several Linux programs have basically copied the design layouts from Microsoft. How many people think Microsoft is the expert on GUI design? There are several books that discuss GUI design that open source programmers ought to read. One author in particular is Jef Raskin.

YAST is another copy of Microsoft design. If you have used OutLook Express you will find the layout are the same. On the left side, YAST has categories of packages while Outlook has email boxes. The right side contains the packages on top and description on the bottom. Outlook has the email headers on top and the content of the email on the bottom. Without using YAST one could assume that it should be just as easy to use as OutLook Express. In fact, OutLook Express has the same amount of information content as YAST. If a common user didn't know how email worked, OutLook Express would look just as busy with information as YAST.

Comparing YAST with Windows Update is wrong. Windows Update is an install program. How many people have used Windows Update to uninstall a program? Windows Update does waste a lot of a users time. The logging online, download files, and reboot scenario gets old fast. A better version would be if you logged online, downloaded files on to your hard drive, logged off then have the Update program install all the files without the need to reboot. Another design flaw of Windows Update is that you have to download all the updates again after your hard drive dies. I have a dial-up connection and downloading 30 Megabytes is very slow for me. In this respect I am the common user since the majority of people connect to the Internet through dial-up.

How is Eugenia a common user? I am advanced user in some programs but not others. What are Eugenia's credentials for GUI Design? GUI design is more than just fonts, colors, and how ugly something looks. It is about how a user can get their work done with little interruptions from the software.

Does Eugenia's opinion represent that of OSNews?

Clarity and efficiency are great qualities in user interfaces.

There is no such thing as the average user.
by ako on Sun 15th Sep 2002 15:55 UTC

There are reasons why operating systems aren't the same, there are reasons why cars aren't the same. Not all users want the same thing.
I for one like the way linux packages work, and i like debian the best. Yes, it takes more work to understand it, but it gives me also the feeling that i have full control over my system. Running setup.exe is easier, but do you really know what is going on when you run it?
I think the extra effort is worth it, and for people who disagree, you can run osx or windows.
People are different, cars are different (i've never understood why all american need such a big suv, like they all have to move all their furniture every weekend), and operating systems are different. Choice is good. Don't try to turn everything into windows.

... so there is no reason to revert. Package managers are not designed to solve the problem of a "user needs a simple means to install software": they are designed to help a competent administrator solve the problem of "installing and upgrading uncoordinated software releases".

Uniform version naming would be a mistake: each development effort picks the naming scheme most expedient in development, often depending on the tools in use, which are not the same because not all projects are the same. Users would benefit from uniform naming, but they do not contribute to development and as such their needs carry little weight; customers paying for a distribution might get uniform naming orchestrated by the distributor, of course, who might even find convenient to pay the upstream package developers and get the naming scheme changed, instead of fixing it every time. So the inefficiency of per-project-suboptimal version naming would be paid for by those who benefit from it.

Having a good view of multiple available versions may sound strange to people coming from the "latest version" syndrome, but Unix has a healthy tradition of "all versions work, you
need not the latest unless ..." and there are a number of
performance, security and usage tradeoff the competent administrator might want to explore when installing components.

With uncoordinated releases, conflicts happen (they also happen with InstallShield, by the way: it just happily ignores them and lets code malfunction when used - often in the guise of an obvious crash but I have seen my share of silently wrong results also). You cannot statically link a common component because there is a good chance it will not work: Unix has been providing for years the necessary library versioning infrastructure to have multiple versions of common components installed for exactly this reason.

The above does not mean current attempts at package management are perfect: it just means that reverting to Windows-like solutions would be a mistake. If the current solution is not satisfactory, the answer is not to provide a technologically inferior solution; users will have to wait until a solution which is easy to use and technically adequate appears.

Joe User?
by rob on Sun 15th Sep 2002 16:16 UTC

You seem to be focusing on "UI" and "Joe User". At one time, I would have agreed that software installation needed to be as simple to use as possible. However, after becoming more experienced and educated, I believe that software installation should not be so easy. Here is why: MS has made it 'easy' to install Win2000 - so easy in fact that it installed and enabled IIS for the user. That lead to code red and it's offspring which continue to plague the internet because of Joe User running an unpatched version of IIS. Joe User's need for things to be 'easy' leads to these security problems.

Company "X" hires Joe User to be their sysadmin thinking that he 'must know what he is doing - he's got his MCSE'. Meanwhile, Company X gets hacked because Joe User set up VPN and didn't know anything about encryption. VPN was so easy to install that Joe User never took the time to RTFM.

Yes, dependancies are probably a Joe User's worst nightmare. But maybe it should be his worst nightmare. Maybe Joe User has no business installing software until he has read a little bit more and knows how to install and HOW TO CONFIGURE CORRECTLY.

Linux gives the user the most important thing - freedom of choice. The cost of that freedom is complexity...a price I will pay any day.

Because if she did, she'd realize that her claim (There should be no conflicts. If there are, these should only happen in very few cases and they should be easily resolved. That would be a good OS design.) is pretty ridiculous. (And no, Xirzon, Debian has not reached that point.) On any system, even Windows-based systems, there are alternatives for any particular role. Especially when you're dealing with IP-based services, where only one service implementation can listen on a particular port at a particular time.

For example, postfix, exim, sendmail, etc. must all conflict with each other, if for no other reason than they can't all bind to port 25 at once. Conflicts are a natural result of having choices. And alternatives are one of the cornerstones of free and open source software. I, for one, pray that never changes.

And before you jump in and claim that Windows doesn't have any such problems, allow me to save you the embarassment. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've installed Windows software and been prompted with multiple dialog boxes notifying me of DLL conflicts. You see, Windows avoids the dependency problem by throwing up its hands and saying, "Not our problem!" As a result, Windows software must supply all its own dependencies, often resulting in conflicts. And in many circumstances, the only resolution to the conflict is to choose, as the user, which program you want to have working.

Lest you accuse me of being yet another person who is bitter and angry over you dissing my favorite distro, I should point out that I despise SuSE. As in hate it with a passion. Can't stand it. Will never use it under any circumstances. So you're more than welcome to rag on SuSE all you'd like.

In future, though, you should try to be correct while doing so. Judging (as you did) solely from the screenshots, that looks like one of the best GUI package managers I've seen. The "average user" you claim to write so much about should simply install everything on the install CD and leave their system alone. This is the approach Windows uses if you think about it. (Of course, if you recall, the Windows installer allows you to turn on/off various capabilities, and does handle dependencies...but only at install time.)

Most Windows users install their OS and their office suite (or buy them pre-installed on their PC) and never touch it again until they have to upgrade/re-install. Linux users who do likewise will have similar experiences (except they won't have to reinstall nearly as soon). SuSE's tool is trying to solve a very different problem...thus invalidating your review. Oh, wait, sorry...editorial.

Normal users don't need such a program, and for power users who don't like the command line or need a broader view, this program looks excellent.

Rants and more rants
by Cesar Cardoso on Sun 15th Sep 2002 16:37 UTC

Quoting a lot of people and their remarks...

Rob:

> Is APT a good tool? Sure. It's a good tool for dealing with packages sanctioned by
> and CREATED by Debian's maintainers.

True. And everybody who sees the anger of Debian developers when some user complains about some problems created by the Ximian packages knows that.

Drone:

> With all due respect, you're not comparing like to like when comparing pretty much
> any Linux package manager against Windows Update. It's only purpose is maintaining
> a _tiny_ set of packages, all of which is controlled by MS. Drivers too, given they have
> to be signed to even make it anywhere near the update.

If you REALLY want to make something useful with Windows, you need to go to third-party apps, and there starts all the DLL hell.
.rant
Since Adobe Photoshop thrown away the MacOS UI guidelines, ISVs on proprietary systems tend to think they can do whatever they want. It isn't happening on MacOS X now because people are still porting things, but it'll happen. Hey, Photoshop runs now on X, so it'll start :-)
.endrant

jacob:

> I think package managers are in fact the wrong way to go about things.

Package management is not an easy thing to do. It wasn't then, it isn't now.
Why?
Because package management remembers that YOU are in control of YOUR machine, not Microsoft, Apple, Eugenia, RedHat or even Debian Project. And it's WAY easier to be a brain-dead and hand over your machine to somebody.

Emile/Anonymous:

> I think Debian gets it right. Now for LSB to ditch RPM and declare dpkg/apt-get the
> standard.

Nobody reads those LSB docs, oh my! The LSB standard is called LSB. It's a *SUBSET* of RPM 3 - pretty ancient nowadays. Not RPM 4, or even full-blown RPM 3.

guest:

> I suspect many people in the Linux Community would leave quickly if they lost such
> flexible choices.

People would run in droves to run the Hurd.

.rant
I wonder why Eugenia still posts stories like this, given that she showed her dislike and her disbelief on Linux UIs in general.
Eugenia, refrain from trolling, please. If I want trolling, I'd better go /.
.endrant

rant (setup.exe, apt, cruft, etc.)
by yenar on Sun 15th Sep 2002 16:41 UTC

Ever tried to uninstall windoze app *cleanly*? I run NT 4.0 atm, with opened regedit... Looking at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE

What the hell is softwrap? Where it came from? MicroQuill SmartHeap? Never heard of that one. Guess, what is in C:/WINNT/SYSTEM? And why it is 230MB large? Mostly dll, ocx and don't know what files are there. Winnt dir is 443MB.

Taking a look at Win2000 machine 2 meters behind me. Oh, system32 is 580MB large, in task manager there is process called wSYOfQmF. What the hell it is and where it is coming from? No idea. But i suspect it is responsible for that IE windows popping up occsasionally with some casino ads. I'd bet that the software it came with packed as free bonus is long gone. Winnt dir is 1250MB.

The systray is full of sh*t... The Win2000 is czech version, but there is "accessories" folder in start menu containing one entry: "Address Book". Same on NT4 machine.

One more thing: The start menu is almost unusable. Which idiot came with idea to sort by supplier? I'd like to have all html editors in one folder. "What? You must be crazy... that is very hard to use and could confuse Joe User seriously".

Could anyone having mostly clean NT4 or 2000 install with some standard software provide corresponding directory sizes, please? I'd like to compare these ;) .

In contrast: my Debian box (running KDE 3.1 cvs by the way) has nice uncluttered menus. No cruft all over the place. I like experimenting: i have XINE from xine.sf.net w/o problems (it even registered within menu *in the right place*). Know valgrind? I debianized it in ~5 minutes (had only source tarball). Still, there is no cruft on my box. There are old configs laying, but i could easily purge them if i wanted to. No problem. And they are registered as such, at least. I don't speak about apt-get install/upgrade/dist-upgrade, others did. But i'd like to point out nice tool: aptitude. It is about 10 times easier to use than average setup.exe ;) .

-- Setup.exe install procedure:
google for app type (better to skip download.com type sites imho)
try to filter out something usable
after half hour download two or three utilities that seem appropriate for your task
install some of it
don't like it? pray that it has uninstall
has it? cool, run it; or better reinstall windoze ;)
ok you found something usable... but its shareware!
pay 30USD
wait few days
now you can use your software (and actually save/print/whatever your work)

They don't support your WinXY? Try to ask... There is some (not large though) chance are that developer will add suport for your os. It complains about missing dll? Try another software.

-- apt-get install procedure:
apt-cache search kind_of_app
apt-get install <package name>
Found nothing? add unstable to sources.list, apt-get update and try again. Still unlucky? Try freshmeat.net. They will probably provide debs. No? Don't panic! Try to kindly ask them if they could provide debs. Or file RFP bug on wnpp.
Tried something and didn't like it?
apt-get remove <bad ugly software> --purge
Try with other software.

I must admit, setting up hardware in Debian is bit too much for a Joe User but that will improve substantialy with rise of debian-installer. And there are still distros that actually ARE targeted at simple-minded users (unlike Debian).

yenar (happy debian user)

PS: My sister never used computer seriously (she's a sort of joe user), but she is happy with KDE and KWord 1.2 when she needs to write something. She claims that she likes it more than Windows ;) . I run unstable KWord (from CVS head), but she tells me (i don't trust her) that it never crashed on her... Strange.

[/rant]

Re: bahamot
by Anonymous on Sun 15th Sep 2002 18:23 UTC

--quoted by bahamot--
why people keep arguing here? if anyone doesn't agree with any article here, i think it can't be avoid since every person has different background and taste. So it's best to just give an opinion without trying to insulting the author.
--/quoted by bahamot--

Indeed, because they don't have anything better to say. I don't see how hard to give the nice feedback and discussion back without insulting to the author. This author isn't forcing the thing to change, which this author is just giving the self thoughts/opinions/feedbacks/reviews into (mixture) one for people to think of this.

However, do you, people, have any idea what Mandrake, RedHat and SuSE main goal? Their main goal is to give the easy friendly Linux distro for the people. Therefore, if this author still think it's not friendly enough yet, then those companies will have to work harder to get our newbie grandparents to have the ability of to use Linux.

Oh btw: This author's name is Eugenia. I am new to OSNews. Nice articles, Eugenia, that you have written so far but some of them are much different to me. Because, I think Gentoo Linux, *BSD and etc are easier than Windows. ;)

RE: Debian vs. Yast
by KPauls on Sun 15th Sep 2002 18:24 UTC

> There should be no conflicts. If there are, these should only
> happen in very few cases and they should be easily resolved.
> That would be a good OS design.

You should review Debian. ;->

ALL BINARY BASED DISTROS WILL HAVE DEPENDANCY PROBLEMS FOR ONE SIMPLE FACT:
There is (almost) NO amount of quality control or procedures that will allow 3rd parties to blindly submit packages (esp library packages).

This is complicated by the fact that binary-only commercial products often ship as RPM, but without enough release & quality control because Linux is a second-class citizen in the developer's world.

Debian avoids these problems by: 1) accepting packages to be maintained in the proper format by their developers, who can compile and link against the correct libraries and avoid dependency problems... and 2) by including many many more libraries in the standard distribution than any RPM based distro.

Never the less, Debian testing & unstable experience dependancy problems. Unless you run unstable and don't update for a few months you won't (to my experience) have an unresolvable dependancy.

Mac OS X's framework structure makes it much easier to maintain and link against multiple libraries. Their application configuration phillosophy (no registry, no dll's.. hmm NetInfoManager might be breaking that) and new tools (xml/dtd based configuration) prevent many other installation & maintinance problems.

Windows has only begun to avoid the old "DLL hell" (i.e. dependancy problems) that have existed for ages. When you uninstall a Windows program have you uninstalled all of the DLL's that came with it, or did you risk a missing dependancy? When you install a new application have you ever found that an old one doesn't work? Was it a DLL or a registry or an application extension problem? All of these are dependency conflicts.

Windows XP's rollback features promise to solve some of the DLL hell at the cost of disk space & complexity. Other standardizations (MSFT's ODBC api's, DirectX, Driver Certification) have avoided many dependancy conflicts, but some problems (file extension mapping, registry brokenness, broken links, uninstall leftovers) have existed for so long that developers simply work their way around them instead of developing new standards as gnu/linux tends to do (for example, package managers themselves, the menu and alternatives systems).

Grouchier Commentators!
by Bill Sheehan on Sun 15th Sep 2002 20:53 UTC

Can we tone down the rhetoric, please? The new YAST2 interface is an improvement over the last YAST2, that much is clear. YAST2 is one of the reasons I find SuSE to be a superior distribution. It blows the socks off other Unices like Solaris's AdminTool.

But let's not be blinded to one simple fact: Elegant, it's not. I don't agree that it's a "hole in the water," but Eugenia makes a good point. A lot of Linux tools are created with the power user (or maybe just the designer him or herself) in mind. There's a lot of cruft. Maybe this is part of the price you pay for having an open-source distribution with contributions coming in from thousands of developers, but there's nothing wrong in wishing for a little attention to useability, design, and for lack of a better term, elegance.

It's user-friendly; it's just particular about its friends.

-- Bill

...
by null_pointer_us on Sun 15th Sep 2002 21:26 UTC

We are talking about Joe User, Joe User uses win9X, so i talk about that.

You want to compare an outdated Windows OS to a new Linux OS?


Linux just has it a little differently: lib*.so hell. The only thing better about Linux is, you can have seperate libs in the same dir, and different programs can use their own libs, but now there is twice the disk space taken up.

In all versions of Windows since (3.1?) each application can have its own copy of a particular DLL. Windows XP allows multiple versions of the same DLL to be stored in the system folder.


And before you jump in and claim that Windows doesn't have any such problems, allow me to save you the embarassment. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've installed Windows software and been prompted with multiple dialog boxes notifying me of DLL conflicts.

That actually happens to you? I find it hard to believe that anyone would be so stupid as to write software that requires an *exact* version of a *system-wide* DLL. Luckily Windows XP handles these programmer errors automatically.


You see, Windows avoids the dependency problem by throwing up its hands and saying, "Not our problem!"

Yes, older versions of Windows complain when programmers are so dense that they try to force the entire system to use one specific version of a DLL. Intelligent developers know how to place such DLL's in the application's folder.


And in many circumstances, the only resolution to the conflict is to choose, as the user, which program you want to have working.

Yes, that is unfortunate. :-(


This is the approach Windows uses if you think about it. (Of course, if you recall, the Windows installer allows you to turn on/off various capabilities, and does handle dependencies...but only at install time.)

The Windows Installer software is quite flexible, but not enough people use it. It allows users to add and remove features while the application is running. Office 2000/XP can do this - try opening an office file type that is not installed, and the Office app's will bring up a dialog asking for the install media. :-)

For the next major version of Windows (Longhorn?), Microsoft should make the old software installation API's completely incompatible and force everyone to use the Windows Installer - but make it freely available. The problem is that there are just too many third party setup programs out there, and they do not all behave very well. End users should not suffer because of this; installing/removing/configuring software ought to be an integrated component in the operating system.


Package management is not an easy thing to do. It wasn't then, it isn't now. Why? Because package management remembers that YOU are in control of YOUR machine, not Microsoft, Apple, Eugenia, RedHat or even Debian Project. And it's WAY easier to be a brain-dead and hand over your machine to somebody.

Just because Linux *allows* you that level of complexity does not necessarily mean that Linux distributions that are trying to be user-friendly should *dump* all that complexity in the user's lap. YAST2's new package manager looks like it would be nice for hackers and the SuSe team, but there needs to be a simpler package manager for SuSe users. I believe that is Eugenia's point.


Taking a look at Win2000 machine 2 meters behind me. Oh, system32 is 580MB large, in task manager there is process called wSYOfQmF. What the hell it is and where it is coming from? No idea. But i suspect it is responsible for that IE windows popping up occsasionally with some casino ads. I'd bet that the software it came with packed as free bonus is long gone. Winnt dir is 1250MB.

That depends on what third-party software you install.


One more thing: The start menu is almost unusable. Which idiot came with idea to sort by supplier? I'd like to have all html editors in one folder. "What? You must be crazy... that is very hard to use and could confuse Joe User seriously".

I agree. And there are a lot more improvements to be made with the Start Menu...but this is getting off topic.


Still, there is no cruft on my box. There are old configs laying, but i could easily purge them if i wanted to. No problem. And they are registered as such, at least. I don't speak about apt-get install/upgrade/dist- upgrade, others did.

Why would the average user care about this?


But i'd like to point out nice tool: aptitude. It is about 10 times easier to use than average setup.exe ;) .

I have not used aptitude, but it would be pretty hard to improve on the average Windows setup program. Click next a few times and then finish, and presto! The app is installed. It even makes its own menu entries. ;-)


-- Setup.exe install procedure:

That has nothing to do with setup.exe or the Windows operating system. If finding software is a problem, then that is the fault of the third party manufacturer and the web sites you are using to find software.

Re: ...
by KainX on Sun 15th Sep 2002 22:17 UTC

That actually happens to you? I find it hard to believe that anyone would be so stupid as to write software that requires an *exact* version of a *system-wide* DLL. Luckily Windows XP handles these programmer errors automatically.

No, you've entirely missed the point. Often the software itself comes with a different version of the DLL with an older date. Whether or not the newer one will work is a toss-up thanks to Microsoft's development practices.

Yes, older versions of Windows complain when programmers are so dense that they try to force the entire system to use one specific version of a DLL. Intelligent developers know how to place such DLL's in the application's folder.

Not the case. See above.

For the next major version of Windows (Longhorn?), Microsoft should make the old software installation API's completely incompatible and force everyone to use the Windows Installer - but make it freely available. The problem is that there are just too many third party setup programs out there, and they do not all behave very well.

You obviously have a very different philosophy on operating systems than I have. I believe in freedom and in the fact that there's more than one way to accomplish any task. You seem to believe in forcing people to do things your way or not at all.

This is also Microsoft's philosophy. So please, by all means, continue using Windows. I, for one, would prefer that such philosophies never infect the Linux community.

Use before review...
by simon on Sun 15th Sep 2002 22:28 UTC

Whether or not the review was not a review but a commentry does not excuse the fact that you did not even use the software. Any software can look like crap when all you have are some screenshots and a few lines of commentation by the developers. SuSE is one of the best distro's that I have used and I have used virtually all of them and I use Windows and MacOS at work but even I wouldn't comment on a program unless I had seen it in action. It's like buying a computer game purely on the graphics on the front of the box (which generally are "enhanced"). It's foolish to do so.

To compare Windows and MacOS with Linux (and any of it's GUI servers) can be misleading. The reason Windows etc are easy to use from a "user" point of view is because it hides all the technical workings of the computer system from the user. Most of the people I know who use linux wish to do so because they want to understand the computer. But I also know people who don't want to know this yet they still talk about how good it is to feel like they understand the computer instead of just using it. If you can stand an analogy, look at people who drive cars. Your car breaks down and you have no idea how to fix it. Isn't it better to have knowledge of the workings of the car so that if something goes wrong you are able to fix it or atleast understand where the problem is and can then take steps to repairing it. The same goes with computers and their O/S. Educating users is what Linux does (even if not intentionally) and it's better to have understanding than to be oblivious.

Ignorance is bliss ...
by Rob on Mon 16th Sep 2002 02:12 UTC


Unfortunately, most people don't want to be educated. It breaks the routine. I live in the US, so I can't speak for the rest of the world, but it seems that, as a culture, we try more and more to think less and less. We want a risk-free society where all the "little" decisions are made for us. This does not free us, it merely breeds that dull grey social fungus known as mediocrity.

how can you...
by george best on Mon 16th Sep 2002 09:58 UTC

...judge without using it. that is not fair.

If it's that easy, you should be scared . . . .
by Tom W on Mon 16th Sep 2002 15:22 UTC


QUOTE by "Rob"
----------
1) Download "Setup.exe"

2) Double-click it

3) Click "Next" -> "Next" -> "Next" -> "OK"

4) Click "Start"

5) Point to the newly-created group under "Programs"
*At this point, WindowsXP will even highlight the new program group for you, with a friendly pop-up tooltip saying "New Programs Are Installed" (which can be turned off, of course)

6) Start your newly-installed program.


--------

More like Download setup.exe, double-click it (setup scans for netscape and breaks it), click next (setup sets all audio files to use WMP) click next (windows checks for evil Novell Office software and modifies api to run slow) click next (don't monkeys do this when they click a button for a dose of crack in a lab) Click finish and you're DONE!

YaST is for people who want control of thier computer, that means it needs to be "robust" and "rich" in it's features so that power users and developer can use it as an actual tool and not a "let me do everything for you". I don't want a Homer Simpson in a MooMoo scenario when using my computer.

Levels of abstraction (YaST = Good !)
by danny backx on Mon 16th Sep 2002 16:18 UTC

The screenshots on the SuSE web site only highlight
improvements.

Ideally you should work with or look into all of YaST,
not only the changed areas.

YaST allows an inexperienced user to select a set of
packages which is defined in a very simple way
(such as graphical install with office - not the
exact description as this is from memory).

YaST is a useful and powerful installation and
administration tool. The only downsides I know are :
1. slowish
2. won't run on my 8-year old PC in single user
installation mode (not enough memory)

...
by null_pointer_us on Mon 16th Sep 2002 18:15 UTC

No, you've entirely missed the point. Whether or not the newer one will work is a toss-up thanks to Microsoft's development practices.

No, I think you missed my point. The third party developers are to blame for their own problems because they did not bother to write programs in accordance with the API's they were given. Whether or not the newer one will work is a toss-up thanks to third party development practices.

Windows XP solves the DLL version related problems introduced by third party installation programs because it allows multiple versions of a DLL with the same filename to coexist within the system directory and then provides each program with its own version of that DLL.


You obviously have a very different philosophy on operating systems than I have.

I certainly hope so. My philosophy on operating systems is that it is the system's job to prevent third party programs from interfering with each other and the system itself. I believe that allowing third party applications to mess up each other and the system while doing a simple thing like installing software is stupid. You can call that freedom if you like, but it remains stupid.

I suppose that we should fault MS for use the x86's memory protection features, too, for that would prevent third party programs from mucking about in system memory?


I believe in freedom and in the fact that there's more than one way to accomplish any task.

So why allow third parties to *force* the user to use a buggy installer that can't even properly remove the program it installed? I would rather force the third parties to behave so that the users can be assured that the software packages the user has installed can be properly removed when the user so chooses.


You seem to believe in forcing people to do things your way or not at all.

Yeah, and I even run a firewall and some anti-virus software to prevent Joe Virus Writer from overwriting my boot sector. Poor Joe!

"Never the less, Debian testing & unstable experience dependancy problems. Unless you run unstable and don't update for a few months you won't (to my experience) have an unresolvable dependancy."

Yeah this is my experience with Debian pretty much. I've been running unstable both on my server and desktop for sometime now and I haven't any problems with it. apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade is all you need. To tell you the truth I've only seen a dependecy problem once when I upgraded from potato to woody ages ago. I can't remember exactly what it was (that was how trivial it was) and the fix could be found in all the standard places like Debian Planet etc. very simple. The updates are fairly quick on most packages (the large ones like X and KDE being the exception) so you'll have to supplement your sources.list with unofficial archives to keep semi up-to-date on the large ones.

What I would like to see is a bastardization/merging of the portage and apt-get systems. That way you could install debian style packages for stuff you don't really care about or use ebuilds to set up for the debian system for the bleeding edge stuff you want optimize. Yes Debian does have deb-src and it does a good job of compiling packages at that. However, think some of the Debian binaries are out of date, holy monkey deb-srcs are worse (perhaps I just chose the wrong packages to compile *L*).


Troll Begins Here:

As for Redhat and Mandrake (the AOL of Linux) I won't touch with a 10ft pole (both are a pain in the ass to upgrade compared to Debian although I hear Redhat has a version of apt-get for RPMs now). They are plagued with really strange filesystem setups (almost seems like they move stuff around just to piss people off) as opposed to the Debian Filesystem Hierarchy Standard,non standard packages, fairly lax security, and in some cases just plain unstable even when compared to Debian Unstable (Mandrake big time on this one).

As for the Windows champions on here..... two words:
Code Red :-p