Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 15th Mar 2009 12:46 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes PolishLinux has an editorial on program installation on Linux systems, and even though it's a bit hard to wade through (the author's native language sure isn't English) it does make a number of very good points in favour of the way most Linux systems handle things. Still, as always in the discussion on program installation, it always feels a bit like listening to a discussion between a deaf and a blind man about whose condition is the easiest to live with.
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The pb is deeper
by dexter11 on Mon 16th Mar 2009 17:09 UTC
dexter11
Member since:
2008-01-11

The problem lies deeper in Linux. Until there's no stable API\ABI system wide (kernel, X.org, libc etc) and distros are free to ship any of the components and any version of the components, there will be no standard Linux binary package. And no package manager will solve this problem because the problem is not the package format itself. It's the system under it.
Until somehow there's not a standard base which every distro maker has to use, you can forget about common packages between distros. I think I'm not too sarcastic when I say there won't ever be such a base simply because Linux is used for too many purposes. While Haiku and Syllable has a clear focus on desktop and the developer crew develops all part of the system it's not the case with Linux as we all know, so they are not good examples. They may have the most user friendly package manager ever, but they are not a general purpose OSes. Now that I think about it I think user friendliness could mean different things for a desktop user and for a sysadmin.

One solution could be LSB of course but I don't know if it's mature enough or not, or usable to every software or not.
Somebody wrote an interesting solution above: package manager for system packages and bundles for user apps. I guees this could be a solution if we had a big enough LSB which includes every core package.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The pb is deeper
by spiderman on Mon 16th Mar 2009 18:37 in reply to "The pb is deeper"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Actually the LSB is not mandatory, but the big ones all try to follow it more or less when they can. The rpm package manager is in the LSB and it allows to distribute rpm like the acrebat reader one. If you want a program that installs on 95% of linux desktops, make it LSB compliant and distribute the rpm.
Now there are those distros that choose not to follow it, but they have their reasons. For instance, Gobolinux tryes to do something different and that is a Good Thing (TM). The standard is good to make everybody on the same line, but if it does not evolve, we are stuck. If nobody explore new paths, then the standard won't evolve.
Actually, there are several standards. One could say that Windows msi is the standard because 95% of the machines in the world use it and it is not far from the truth. This is why there are projects like wine that tries to implement this standard on POSIX compliant systems. This is also good as far as I'm concerned. You can call the world a big mess or you can call it a rich and diverse place, it is up to you, but all those who have tried to order it the way they like have failed so far.

Anyway, I'm all with you on this. Distros that can follow the LSB should when it does not affect negatively their goals. This is one of the key features I expect from a big distro.

Edited 2009-03-16 18:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2