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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Re: Troels
by Nicolai on Sat 10th May 2003 16:53 UTC

Nope. But why would you want to know where it is installed?

You're thinking too much inside the box. There are certain tasks that a user must be able to accomplish. Among these tasks are: Finding out which programs are installed; Installing new programs; Updating installed programs; and Removing installed programs.

In order to find out which programs are installed, or to remove installed ones, the user must look _somehwere_, and they have to know _where_. So in effect, they have to know _where_ the programs are installed. This doesn't mean that this "where" is inside the filesystem.

In fact, with the current FHS, this "where" is a package management database that is added because the filesystem itself cannot possibly provide the necessary information. This is a kludge at best.

AFAICT, what Adam suggests is that the filesystem itself replaces that database, so the user can just look at the filesystem to find out what is going on (one package - one directory). This makes package management unnecessary (some form of dependency tracking is still necessary, but that can be treated separately), thus making the system itself more robust. *)

Just think about it: No more troubles with broken/inconsistent databases. No more troubles mixing distribution-supplied packages with manually compiled ones (ever tried to compile a library yourself, and then install a program that depends on that library using a distro-supplied package?). No more troubles with inofficial packages. Yes, this _will_ make life easier.

*) Note that while beginners might still want some front-ends that would have more or less the interface of current package managers, users aren't _forced_ to use them. Intermediary to advanced users can just go directly to the filesystem. This improved system is thus simpler, more flexible and more robust than everything we have today.