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.
Thread beginning with comment 202064
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Good article
by butters on Tue 16th Jan 2007 03:51 UTC in reply to "Good article"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

Frankly, I think it's very much time to start settling on a single common installation method / package manager. It's certainly a hurdle that I feel is impacting to a degree adoption of Linux.

My stock argument here is that, like everything in FOSS, standardization will follow consensus. While competing package formats are certainly not a desirable feature, neither is standardizing on a substandard packaging system. Last I checked, still no consensus on the best package manager.

However, one this is for sure: Linux users are being served far better by RPM and APT than Klik, Autopackage, Zero Install, et al. Show me a distro that successfully uses one of these self-contained package formats by default, and I'll certainly reconsider.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Good article
by de_wizze on Tue 16th Jan 2007 04:39 in reply to "RE: Good article"
de_wizze Member since:
2005-10-31

While I agree that the centralized approach is better, I think somehow encouraging original developers to make applications available in one of those packaging systems can help streamline the packaging and delivery of new versions in repositories to users. Which is one of the points I think he was trying to make. I don't know how familiar the author is with Conary/rPath[1] but I seem to recall it functions based around a similar concept.

While I don't think it needs to be the case that distros abandon their current packaging systems, for things like backwards compatibility, wider ISV adoption and maybe even the reclamation of effort packagers, it would be a good thing for them to look into adapting their processes along these lines. Maybe modifying build tools to import those universal formats.

The idea of making cross distro collaboration easier is not new. Various[2] other[3] efforts[4] seem to attempt addressing interoperability amongst distros without having to give up individuality and focus. I think it is critical at this point to help continue to foster growth and development especially in areas such as polish and refinement.

[1] http://wiki.rpath.com/wiki/Conary
[2] https://launchpad.net/distros
[3] http://freedesktop.org/wiki/Home
[4] http://www.pathname.com/fhs/

Edited 2007-01-16 04:53

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Good article
by butters on Tue 16th Jan 2007 05:00 in reply to "RE[2]: Good article"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Definitely a nod for Conary, thanks for bringing that up. Simply put, Conary is like a hybrid revision control system and packaging system. Very promising, because it does what the other distributed packaging systems don't: it actually attempts to make the upstream developer's and packager's jobs easier instead of focusing solely on the end user.

Less so for Launchpad... While it's great that Canonical wants to help OSS projects coordinate and work together, this does not seem like an appropriate opportunity for Canonical to go proprietary. This is not a matter of "proprietary == bad." If Canonical came out with a proprietary remote system administration console, for example, that would be great for the Linux community. But a collaboration tool targeted at free software projects? They had to know this was not going to be acceptable for many projects.

If you want to try and lock-in your corporate customers, go right ahead. If you want to sell premium add-ons to end users, I have no problem with that. But please don't insult the development community by peddling proprietary development tools. That is sooo not in the spirit of free software.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Good article
by Lambda on Tue 16th Jan 2007 16:43 in reply to "RE: Good article"
Lambda Member since:
2006-07-28

However, one this is for sure: Linux users are being served far better by RPM and APT than Klik, Autopackage, Zero Install, et al. Show me a distro that successfully uses one of these self-contained package formats by default, and I'll certainly reconsider.

Nonsense. Linux users aren't being served better just because something just happens to exist in its current form.

Reply Parent Score: 2