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.
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by archiesteel on Tue 16th Jan 2007 02:16 UTC
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...a thread where discussion of software installation will be on-topic. :-)

Kudos to the author for the excellent presentation. these are very interesting project, very much in the spirit of FOSS. Still, I don't think that such an approach should replace traditional package management altogether. I think the author indicates this in the last paragraph:

Finally, we saw that it is often possible to convert between these different formats, with varying degrees of success. Even if most users don't start using decentralised packaging right now, but continue with their existing centralised distributions, these techniques are useful to help the process of getting packages into the distributions in the first place.

This is a very good approach, IMO. Package managers fill a need right now, and remain very good for system software. This allows for a smooth transition where it makes sense.

That said, I still think that this is not currently a barrier to Linux adoption. None of the people who have asked me about Linux have ever mentioned ease of installation of applications as a factor, or asked if software versions were up-to-date. So while I think this is a laudable effort to unify and simplify software installation, as well as improve the communication between users, developers and distros, I would place false hopes that such a system would necessarily attract more users.

That said, I hope solutions such as these become more prevalent, especially for "standalone" apps.

Edited 2007-01-16 02:18

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RE: FInally...
by Lambda on Tue 16th Jan 2007 16:45 in reply to "FInally..."
Lambda Member since:

That said, I hope solutions such as these become more prevalent, especially for "standalone" apps.

One of the problems is that the independent developer has to be accepted into some repository universe. That's problematic.

I'll add that "system" software would probably best be served by a centralized mechanism, as it is on Windows and OSX, even though the need on Unix tends to be less because of more decentralized (or modular) components than windows.

Edited 2007-01-16 16:47

Reply Parent Score: 4