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.
Permalink for comment 202582
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[4]: the problem is...
by Obscurus on Wed 17th Jan 2007 05:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the problem is..."
Member since:

I am actually not suggesting that there be only one distro (though I think a bit of pruning is in order), rather, I am suggesting that if distros standardise the way they interface with apps, and have standards for core libraries, it will enable software manufacturers to not have to worry about distros, as they will all work with their binaries straight out of the box. It will also mean that if standardised libraries are used, there will be no need for apps to be installed with extra dependencies - all of the standard libs would be part of the OS, and there would be little or no duplication of libraries amongst apps. Anything that uses some boutique library can just incorporate it into the app without cluttering up the system with extra crap. And given the current size of hard drives, I think monolithic binary blobs are perfectly fine for apps these days - no installation method is simpler than dragging a single executable file onto your desktop or a folder of your choice, and if for some reason, you have an unusually large number of applications, it is pretty easy to create a utility to manage them, without resorting to a full blown package manager.

The fact is that Windows is still more user friendly than the vast majority of Linux distros (and given the shit Microsoft is prone to producing, that is saying something). Linux may be technically superior in many ways, but in the one way that matters most (ease of use for people who don't like computers but have to use them anyway), it(they) simply fails to hit the target. Not that it couldn't, it is just the issue of focus and integration that is the problem. And maybe this is OK - after all the things that make Linux great for what it is (freedom, flexibility, community) also work against the things that make for a great desktop OS: (limited freedom, well defined standards & APIs, commercial viability and support.

Far from suggesting that Linux becomes more like windows, I am suggesting that it adopts some of the features of Mac OS and Windows.

I'm not asking for every Linux distro to disappear - they all have their place (up to a point), but rather for at least one distro to break from the mould and do the things that are needed to give Microsoft and Apple some desperately needed competition.

"Yes, and PC's will never be as successful as Macs, Ataris, and Amigas as long as you can get them from just about any manufacturer you like. It's fragmented and unfocussed chaos."

And for that reason you will never have the tight, integrated, focussed experience you will get from Amiga or Macs. It is also the reason most people get computers from vendors like Dell etc., where the hardware has been well matched and configured in advance. It is somewhat misleading to say that PCs are successful because of their customisability, since the vast majority of computers sold are Dells and the like that have very much restricted customisation. PCs became popular because they run windows, which through an accident of history (certainly not merit) became the defacto standard for OSs, like it or not.

It's good to see we agree on keeping the system separate form the apps, though we obviously can't agree on the best method for doing that.

Edited 2007-01-17 05:47

Reply Parent Score: 1