Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Jun 2009 12:24 UTC, submitted by ralsina
OSNews, Generic OSes There are a lot of people who believe that program and application management is currently as good as it gets. Because the three major platforms - Windows, Linux, Mac OS X - all have quite differing methods of application management, advocates of these platforms are generally unwilling to admit that their methods might be flawed, leading to this weird situation where over the past, say, 20 years, we've barely seen any progress in this area. And here we are, with yet another article submitted to our backend about how, supposedly, Linux' repository method sucks or rules.
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RE[3]: Stupid
by giddie on Fri 26th Jun 2009 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Stupid"
giddie
Member since:
2008-04-29

You're not addressing the issue. A universal installer just isn't possible. Some distributions are more cutting edge and require newer (or even different) libraries while some focus more on stability and require older libraries.

Yes; I'm not suggesting we completely replace every distribution's package manager. I'm suggesting a complementary system mainly for user-facing GUI applications in a Desktop Environment. If you read up on 0install, you'll see that they already have a decent model for dealing with pre-existing system libraries and different versions of libraries.

The solution always put forward is to static link every library but that defeats the purpose of shared libraries and their benefits.

I agree completely. In fact, I said exactly the same in another thread. It's silly to link everything statically.

There are many compile time options available for open source software that can depend on everything from the installed kernel to options enabled in other applications. It seems the only solution is to kill diversity on the Linux Desktop to achieve enough compatibility to make a universal installer even feasible. Filesystem layouts and DEs have nothing to do with it.

The kind of software you're talking about is what I'd call "system" software -- mainly CLI applications. Package managers already do a good job of dealing with those. I agree that they're often not very portable. I'm talking about GUI applications, that usually use relatively high-level toolkits and are pretty self-contained. Basically, anything that would be an App Bundle on MacOS X. There can be little doubt that downloading & testing a small app from a friend's blog is easier on the Mac than in Linux. Casual users should not need to compile something to try it out. It's about making simple tasks easy.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Stupid
by abraxas on Fri 26th Jun 2009 15:37 in reply to "RE[3]: Stupid"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

The kind of software you're talking about is what I'd call "system" software -- mainly CLI applications. Package managers already do a good job of dealing with those. I agree that they're often not very portable. I'm talking about GUI applications, that usually use relatively high-level toolkits and are pretty self-contained. Basically, anything that would be an App Bundle on MacOS X. There can be little doubt that downloading & testing a small app from a friend's blog is easier on the Mac than in Linux. Casual users should not need to compile something to try it out. It's about making simple tasks easy.


You missed my point. Who determines what compile time options are enabled when packages are created? Even gui applications have compile time options, in fact they generally have a lot more options than CLI programs. There is bound to be a conflict. I don't see how a system can handle this gracefully. There are lots of hacky solutions floating about but nothing that doesn't introduce a lot of complexity unnecessarily.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Stupid
by giddie on Sat 27th Jun 2009 13:07 in reply to "RE[4]: Stupid"
giddie Member since:
2008-04-29

You missed my point. Who determines what compile time options are enabled when packages are created?


Oh come on -- I accept that there are plenty of technical difficulties to overcome before a really nice system can emerge, but this really isn't one of them.

There's a reason all the large cross-platform toolkits like Qt and GTK+ ensure binary compatibility. These large libraries really won't give you any difficulty across distributions. If you're talking about the sort of utility libraries that give you the option to exclude certain features at compile-time, that's a different story. For those libraries, you'd obviously be looking to bundle a copy of the library with the application.

Reply Parent Score: 1