Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Mon 11th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews A few weeks ago, we asked for the OSNews community to help with some questions we were going to ask Aaron Griffin from the Arch Linux team, and the response was glorious and somewhat phenomenal. We added those questions to our own and sent them on over, and then we were surprised by receiving not only Aaron Griffin's responses but answers from various individuals from the team.
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Ugh
by nt_jerkface on Tue 12th Jan 2010 06:04 UTC
nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

This is what I don't like about Linux:


What part of the Arch Linux development is the most active?
Thomas Bächler: Definitely the package update monkeys.
Allan McRae: Packaging.

Aaron Griffin: Packaging is by far the most active part, followed closely by Pacman development.


A total waste of man-hours. Windows and OSX are much more efficient in that the developer builds a single package and it's ready for use.

They seem like a competent team but good lord why do all these people want to work on building packages for yet another general purpose distro? My god so boring.

Edited 2010-01-12 06:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugh
by B12 Simon on Tue 12th Jan 2010 12:56 in reply to "Ugh"
B12 Simon Member since:
2006-11-08

A total waste of man-hours.


I don't know what you do with your time but it's likely a lot of people would consider it a total waste of man-hours. Similarly you might consider whatever I do with my time a total waste of man-hours as well.

The important question here is whether Arch provides something other distros don't. IMO unlike a lot of distros it does.

As the devs say in the interview, wheels do get reinvented from time to time. So be it. On the plus side we end up with a huge choice of distros to play with til we finally find one that fits us perfectly.

Unlike the Windows and Mac OS worlds Linux users have choices. This is a good thing.

I'm not an Arch user but I've nothing but admiration for this distro and the people who make it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Ugh
by nt_jerkface on Tue 12th Jan 2010 15:23 in reply to "RE: Ugh"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


I don't know what you do with your time but it's likely a lot of people would consider it a total waste of man-hours. Similarly you might consider whatever I do with my time a total waste of man-hours as well.


It's not a question of one's hobbies, it's a question of whether or not it makes sense to have distro teams spending most of their time preparing packages when there is a common goal of greater improvement.


On the plus side we end up with a huge choice of distros to play with til we finally find one that fits us perfectly.

There's a surplus of general purpose distros that don't do anything to distinguish themselves over the others. Most of them might as well be theme packs. You said you liked arch linux because of quality but that is what everyone says about their favorite general purpose distro.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Ugh
by Laurence on Tue 12th Jan 2010 13:44 in reply to "Ugh"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

This is what I don't like about Linux:


What part of the Arch Linux development is the most active?
Thomas Bächler: Definitely the package update monkeys.
Allan McRae: Packaging.

Aaron Griffin: Packaging is by far the most active part, followed closely by Pacman development.


A total waste of man-hours. Windows and OSX are much more efficient in that the developer builds a single package and it's ready for use.

They seem like a competent team but good lord why do all these people want to work on building packages for yet another general purpose distro? My god so boring.


Actually, for FOSS this methodology makes perfect sense:
* nobody knows the distro better than the developers behind the distro. So it makes sense that nobody is better qualified to build distro targeted packages than the distro maintainers
* You can't expect application developers to build dozens of packages for every single distro out there. They simply don't have the time nor the motivation. So instead they should be concentrating on making the application itself as complete as possible
* If you expect application developers to build the packages, then you'd find some distros would lack basic applications because the application developers happen to dislike some distros thus give said distros lower priority in packaging.
* FOSS software doesn't just run on Linux. There's *BSDs, OpenSolaris and even a few non-*nix OSs out there that also run FOSS software. Are you seriously going to expect application developers to port to every open source platform including ones that they've never even run, let alone have development experience of?


The difference between Windows and Linux is windows does not provide any kind of package downstream - so MS are effectively washing their hands of any responsibility and expecting:
* the developers to build their own deployment packages (thankfully there's numerous tools out there to assist)
* and the users to have enough knowledge to differentiate between safe packages and malware.

Sometimes the Windows model works - sometimes it doesn't. eg:
* the icon mess on the desktop, start menu and quick launch,
* the way how standards (like where application profile settings are stored) change from one application to another)
* the fact that I have to spend as much time googling applications to find download links as I do actually installing the application.

So as much a waste of man-hours as you might perceive it - I'd always prefer the OS maintainers to control the package deployment any day (and just so long as I have the option to override their catalogue should the rare occasion occur that I need to)

Edited 2010-01-12 13:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Ugh
by nt_jerkface on Tue 12th Jan 2010 15:51 in reply to "RE: Ugh"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


* You can't expect application developers to build dozens of packages for every single distro out there. They simply don't have the time nor the motivation. So instead they should be concentrating on making the application itself as complete as possible


Well of course I am not suggesting that application developers build for every distro. There should be a move away from the shared library system or at least a standard library base that distros follow.


* FOSS software doesn't just run on Linux. There's *BSDs, OpenSolaris and even a few non-*nix OSs out there that also run FOSS software.

It also runs on Windows and OSX and yet in those cases only needs to be built once and the binary will work for the life of the OS.


The difference between Windows and Linux is windows does not provide any kind of package downstream - so MS are effectively washing their hands of any responsibility and expecting:

* the developers to build their own deployment packages (thankfully there's numerous tools out there to assist)

This isn't even a legitimate complaint given how easy the deployment wizards have become.


* and the users to have enough knowledge to differentiate between safe packages and malware.

That is a problem that doesn't require the shared library system to solve. You can have a safe repository of any type.


Sometimes the Windows model works - sometimes it doesn't. eg

It's also the model that OSX uses and it has far fewer headaches than ye old shared library system. Applications still break in Linux from library updates which typically requires command line meandering to fix . That's unacceptable for the general public.


So as much a waste of man-hours as you might perceive it - I'd always prefer the OS maintainers to control the package deployment any day (and just so long as I have the option to override their catalogue should the rare occasion occur that I need to)

The benefits from the shared library system such as a safe repository and application index can easily be added to an independent library system along with significant productivity gains.

But don't worry most people in Linux land are like you and defend ye old shared system that was designed to save hard drive space in an era when gigabyte drives didn't exist.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Ugh
by cerbie on Tue 12th Jan 2010 17:55 in reply to "Ugh"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

??? The same thing gets done for those platforms. Have you never used a ports system on OS X, or various native FOSS ports? They get OS-specific packages, just the same.

It's no more efficient. It's just less work due to using more popular platforms.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Ugh
by nt_jerkface on Wed 13th Jan 2010 04:21 in reply to "RE: Ugh"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

??? The same thing gets done for those platforms. Have you never used a ports system on OS X, or various native FOSS ports?


No I haven't used a ports system on OSX because it isn't the main method of software distribution. I've found everything I needed at Softpedia.

Apple wisely ditched the shared library system in favor of application independence. The MacPorts project is a community effort to make compiling open source Unix utilities easier for users.


It's no more efficient. It's just less work due to using more popular platforms.


There *could* be greater compatibility across distros just as there is compatibility across different versions of Windows. Even if the distros followed a very basic common library that would cut down the repackaging time immensely. It's an inefficient system from a software engineering perspective. Even if Windows and OSX didn't exist it would still be inefficient since there is so much redundant work.

Reply Parent Score: 2