Linked by Kevin Adams on Fri 9th May 2003 23:04 UTC
Linux "Lately, there has been lots of discussion on the current state of Linux as a desktop system, and articles pop up here and there, occasionally with very good ideas. However, none have surprised me more than this one. It was all very hyphothetical, but had pretty radical ideas on how the author thought the Linux directory tree should be reorganized." Read more about GoboLinux, a Linux distro that uses a new style directory tree at Kuro5hin.org.
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Good ideas, bad actions
by Nicolai on Sat 10th May 2003 11:53 UTC

Good ideas, bad actions - that's how I'd sum up my impressions of GoboLinux.

If you have a vision, then by all means, try to justify and implement it. But if you have to start something from scratch to implement your vision, you're almost certainly doing something wrong.

Now as I read the article at kuro5hin, the vision seems to be: Make the installation/upgrades/removal of applications easier by putting them all in separate directories. Use automatically created symlinks (via scripts, etc...) to link executables into a $PATH directory, libraries into the library path, etc...

IMHO, this is a very good idea, and I don't think there are any technical arguments against it. In fact, this method can work even better in networked environments than the way it's done at the moment.

So you've got a vision. I do realize it's too late for that now, but before you do anything, you should have a look around if someone else has already done something like it. The answer is: yes, they have:
http://www.gnu.org/software/stow/stow.html
http://xstow.sourceforge.net/
Those are just two packages I've come across which enable you to do what you want: install applications in their own directory and automatically create symlinks into /usr/local/bin etc.
They may not have all the features you want, but they're open-source, so fix it. NIH doesn't help anyone.

A second "vision" of yours is to get rid of the FHS. The harsh truth is, as other people have pointed out, there is no technical merit to this "vision", only lots of compatibility problems.

So if you really want to push Linux in the right direction with long-term success, it would probably be best to push for the general adoption of something like XStow, while at the same time working to eliminate some of its limitations.