Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 9th May 2010 12:34 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Dear Ubuntu, for the last couple years life has been good. Every time I've shown you to a friend or family member, they've compared you to what they're familiar with--Windows XP or Vista, mostly--and by comparison you've looked brilliant. Yeah, your ugly brown color scheme was a bit off-putting at first, but once people saw how secure, simple, and reliable you were, the response was almost universally positive. But recently, things have changed ..."
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Today packaging system is not about end users, they have PackageKit and graphical installers. Its all about developers and support.

Software installation is becoming an integrated part of many the desktop environment. E.g. we want to be able to have a standard gnome/KDE/... software installer that work the same way on all distros just like the Gnome/KDE menu works the same on all distros.

It is also not only specialized software install programs that need to install software. As an example printer management software would benefit from being able to automatically download and install printer drivers when we connect a new unknown printer. Other example would be a media player that may need to download and install new codecs, a word processor that need to download and install fonts or dictionaries.

Application developers should not need to do special hacks for each linux distro, to achieve this, and indeed, they don't need to. They can use PackageKit.

So, if application developers develop in a way that is package file format agnostic, and users install packages in a way that is package format agnostic why should developers need to learn how to package their software in at least two ways? It really doesn't make any sense.

It doesn't matter if there are more Debian packages out there. my guess is that Debian people would be smart enough to create some kind of auto translate tool that could generate RPM spec files from corresponding debian package info. By replacing debs with rpms old school, pre packageKit people could still use their apt-get, and Red Hat people can continue to use yum or up2date. Replacing rpms with debs would be a much harder way to get one format.

PackageKit is a kludge to make package installation integrated and manageable in modern Linux desktop environments. The problem is that by demanding that packageKit should be able to handle a large variety of package formats it becomes more complex, and the more complex it is the less flexible to future change it becomes.

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