Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th May 2008 21:00 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Ever since I started using computers, I've been baffled by the relative clumsiness of installing applications. Whether we are talking the really old days (launching the Rambo game off a tape), the '90s (running Keen or using installers in Windows 95), or the modern days (still those installers, but now also package management and self-contained applications); it's all relatively cumbersome, and they all have their downsides. I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and come up with my idealistic, utopian method of installing, running, updating, and uninstalling applications.
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by Adam S on Tue 6th May 2008 01:10 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

If each program has an "internal" version number, then perhaps the corresponding /Settings/User/X directory be the version number instead of the program name? So if Garden Designer is v846, then the file is /Settings/User1/846. This way, you'd really be able to run parallel versions of apps.

But there's another problem - there might be another program that is internally 846. We need a unique number. Wait, that already exists!; enter the GUID.

My point is, there are some really cool ideas in here, but ultimately, I think it needs a lot of refinement. Storing the settings in a separate space just means you've improperly used the home directory in the first place (see my above comment). Your permissions *will* be screwy when you put settings in one top level directory and user data in another. This is why there are hidden directories. Also, your arbitrary requirement of the settings directory sharing the name of the software package will need some sort of low-level monitor. It also means that when I release a new version of a package and choose to rename it with a version number, I can't reliably find your user settings from any of the last several versions of my software, I have to try every possible combo or not let you migrate your settings from any version but the last one.

Frankly, I think the current OS X way is near perfect, with plenty of room for small improvements. I don't think that, with disk space as it is, the system is "cluttered" by having lots of settings file - stored properly where settings should be stored! The idea is that it's persistent, it's there the next time you install the app. And I think Leopard's Spotlight is plenty fast enough for 99% of users. Live queries are very cool, but very few people would use them in a mainstream OS, and existing technologies provide most of the end result.

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