Linked by Thomas Leonard on Tue 16th Jan 2007 00:32 UTC
General Development In the Free and Open Source communities we are proud of our 'bazaar' model, where anyone can join in by setting up a project and publishing their programs. Users are free to pick and choose whatever software they want... provided they're happy to compile from source, resolve dependencies manually and give up automatic security and feature updates. In this essay, I introduce 'decentralised' installation systems, such as Autopackage and Zero Install, which aim to provide these missing features.
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RE[2]: Great article, but...
by Moochman on Tue 16th Jan 2007 22:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Great article, but..."
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I should have been clearer: the installation system does this on behalf of Alice. It gets the hash from the XML file describing the Gimp; all Alice has to do is find the link to the XML file.

Aha ok. Although I still feel like having some sort of real-name identifier there would help the administrator find the folder in case of a problem. Why can't the directory name be the program name (as opposed to the URL)--i.e. gimp-2.3-- so it can be installed off of CD? I don't understand what about making the folder a hash makes it more secure than, say, storing the hash information in a separate protected file within the program's folder.

Right. Ideally, there should be multiple feeds for this information. Currently, there's only mine, which is "unreliable" because I don't have the resources to check out people's keys or offer any compensation if I'm wrong.

Aha. Cleared up, although as it is now it's clearly not a long-term solution. My only gripe with the model is that in an office setting, users might not be able to install any software they wanted, since they would be probably be locked into a list of software on a predefined whiteboard server. However, I suppose that the problem of "missing software" would probably be much scarcer than in today's repository model, since hosting such a whiteboard server that certifies URLs rather than individual versions of programs is undoubtedly much easier than having to package and test every new iteration of software by hand.

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