Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2008 23:33 UTC, submitted by Charles Wilson
Editorial GoboLinux is a distribution which sports a different file system structure than 'ordinary' Linux distributions. In order to remain compatible with the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, symbolic links are used to map the GoboLinux tree to standard UNIX directories. A post in the GoboLinux forums suggested that it might be better to turn the concept around: retain the FHS, and then use symbolic links to map the GoboLinux tree on top of it. This sparked some interesting discussion. Read on for more details.
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RE: Do we care? Really?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th Aug 2008 05:08 UTC in reply to "Do we care? Really?"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

If developers feel something needs to be improved about the filesystem hierarchy, if its hindering forward progress, then by all means, improve it. But saying that it needs to be changed because its confusing to "regular" users is silly, IMO.


It IS hindering forward progress. I'm an advanced user, and I want the ability to run multiple version of the same program side-by-side. I WANT to test out if that new version of Evolution really does fix more bugs than it introduces. I WANT to see if that new version of Gaim fixes a certain pet bug without breaking ten other things. In Linux, I can't do this.

I'm an advanced user, and when I look at the FSH, I still think "what the f--k is that about?". The argument that advanced users "should just learn how the FSH works" is completely nonsensical. It would be better if the standards put forth by the FSH were actually adhered to, but seeing every distribution just does whatever the hell pleases them anyway doesn't make it any easier. So, just because I'm an advanced user, I have to learn all the distribution-specific exceptions, and invest my extremely precious time in doing so?

Just because I'm an advanced user does not mean I do not want logic, structure, and cleanliness. The FSH doesn't give me any of those.

Edited 2008-08-19 05:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by Kroc on Tue 19th Aug 2008 06:02 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I would have to question a software environment where it's essentially difficult to trust updates because of breakage - and thus having to actually design according to that.

That's like building cars so badly that they break often but instead of making them more reliable, just make them cheaper and disposable so that you can walk across the street and jump in a new car if your one breaks down.

I prefer an OS where installing an update is a non-issue, automatic even, because the OS is designed and built in a way that lets developers ship reliable updates.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by hobgoblin on Tue 19th Aug 2008 06:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

well in a way, software install is closer to installing a new engine part at times then installing a new stereo component...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by DeadFishMan on Tue 19th Aug 2008 12:37 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

I prefer an OS where installing an update is a non-issue, automatic even, because the OS is designed and built in a way that lets developers ship reliable updates.


Try Debian. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by JMcCarthy on Tue 19th Aug 2008 08:53 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
JMcCarthy Member since:
2005-08-12


It IS hindering forward progress. I'm an advanced user, and I want the ability to run multiple version of the same program side-by-side. I WANT to test out if that new version of Evolution really does fix more bugs than it introduces. I WANT to see if that new version of Gaim fixes a certain pet bug without breaking ten other things. In Linux, I can't do this.

This has nothing to do with the existing file system standard, and everything to do with the distributitions package management system. If you were an advanced users you'd know this.

Many distributions already offer such functionality, especially in the form of libraries. all that needs to be done is to append a trailing version number and perhaps a utility which creates a symlink to the desired version.

You could just go /usr/local/ if your distro doesn't provide just functionality.

I thank God everday I use an operating system where I'm largely unaffected by the ideas of weiners. ;)

Edited 2008-08-19 08:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th Aug 2008 09:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This has nothing to do with the existing file system standard, and everything to do with the distributitions package management system. If you were an advanced users you'd know this.


FHS doesn't facilitate it either. That's the whole point: sure, it's possible to achieve many things with the FHS, but it wasn't built for it, and it shows. Applications have their files all over the place, and managing multiple instances of such a program is extremely difficult.

Sure, I can cook my dinner on a camp fire in my backyard, but I prefer doing it in my kitchen with all the appliances waiting for me. FHS is the camp fire - we need to create a kitchen with the appliances. Mac OS X has taken a few steps in the right direction, but its still a bloody mess.

Many distributions already offer such functionality, especially in the form of libraries. all that needs to be done is to append a trailing version number and perhaps a utility which creates a symlink to the desired version.


Thank you for proving my point. You call this elegant? This is yet another piece of band-aid applied to fix an inherently outdated system. Compare your band-aid solution to my much more elegant proposals:

http://www.osnews.com/story/19711/The_Utopia_of_Program_Management

The reason my solution is much more elegant is because I designed it with all those advanced features in mind, instead of trying to bolt them on afterwards in a shoddy fashion. As someone else already painfully noted, Linux/UNIX fanatics are eager to point out that Windows is stuck with old and outdated ways, but in fact, the UNIX world is much worse off.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by ichi on Tue 19th Aug 2008 10:24 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I'm an advanced user, and I want the ability to run multiple version of the same program side-by-side. I WANT to test out if that new version of Evolution really does fix more bugs than it introduces. I WANT to see if that new version of Gaim fixes a certain pet bug without breaking ten other things. In Linux, I can't do this.


I can, either using slots or installing programs on my home directory. I've been running firefox2.x and 3 side by side for some time now on my laptop, and I have different versions of several programs and libraries installed together on my pc at home.

For stuff like gaim I'd rather quickpkg the installed version and upgrade. Reverting to the previous one is a matter of seconds.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th Aug 2008 11:06 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I can, either using slots or installing programs on my home directory. I've been running firefox2.x and 3 side by side for some time now on my laptop, and I have different versions of several programs and libraries installed together on my pc at home.


Don't you realise how much you're proving my point here?

Do you get automatic entries in your desktop environment's menu for those two Firefoxes? Or do you have to manually create .desktop files and add them to the menu yourself? Does your package manager know you have two versions of Firefox installed, and does it keep both of them up-to-date? Or do you have to do that manually? Does it work for other programs too?

For stuff like gaim I'd rather quickpkg the installed version and upgrade. Reverting to the previous one is a matter of seconds.


So, for one application you install it manually in your home directory, and for another package you have to resort to specifically creating binary packages manually, install them, and then remove them once you're done? Can you run several binary Gentoo packages created with quickpkg side-by-side? Can your package manager keep track of both of them? Or is it another manual job, just like the Firefox stuff above?

Yeah, real elegant. Another case of massive band-aids and patchwork instead of an elegant design that took all of these features into account from day one. Anything but easy.

Edited 2008-08-19 11:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2