Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jan 2010 17:06 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Taking a break from reporting on the latest netbook or phone rumours, Engadget posted an article yesterday about several elements in desktop operating systems writer Paul Miller finds outdated. While there's some interesting stuff in there, there's also a lot to discuss.
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WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Apt, yum, et al all support the behavior you just listed. It takes a couple extra configuration steps


Maybe they can, but what I'm talking about is a scenario where a developer puts a new version of their app online, updates an RSS feed, and then you could have the new version immediately. You wouldn't have to wait for humans to package it up and put it on your distro's repository.

Of course, I am told this would never work on Linux systems because of the different package managers and ways they are set up (something I'm sure could be overcome if distros were committed to working together and solve the problem), but it would definitely work on Windows. Many applications already have the ability to auto-update themselves, so it's not like dependency checking would be a problem that isn't already being addressed by these apps.

What I'm talking about is making this functionality a part of the core OS, so all apps use the same set of APIs and it could be managed centrally.

Reply Parent Score: 2

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Maybe they can, but what I'm talking about is a scenario where a developer puts a new version of their app online, updates an RSS feed, and then you could have the new version immediately. You wouldn't have to wait for humans to package it up and put it on your distro's repository.

Of course, I am told this would never work on Linux systems because of the different package managers and ways they are set up (something I'm sure could be overcome if distros were committed to working together and solve the problem), but it would definitely work on Windows. Many applications already have the ability to auto-update themselves, so it's not like dependency checking would be a problem that isn't already being addressed by these apps.

What I'm talking about is making this functionality a part of the core OS, so all apps use the same set of APIs and it could be managed centrally.


I think I'm missing something here. Some human at some point always has to package software for distribution: that step just can't be removed. Even on Windows, somebody has to take the step of actually building (and verifying) a specific distribution of any given software package.

Not to give a common answer, I suppose, but, if your biggest gripe is that "I'm tired of waiting for my distributor to catch up to the newest version up-stream when I use Linux..." well, there are ways around that now. An obvious one is to get a distro that packages newer software ("new and cutting-edge" and "debian" are antithetical); you might also see if the software's authors have their own, third-party repository (WINE, for instance, maintaints their own repos for a number of distributions, which typically have much newer versions than what's in the distribution's repos, usually).

Actually, note from that example, that, with Apt now (as well as YUM et al, I believe), you can already do what I think you're talking out: you can add repositories for specific projects you'd like to track to the update mechanism, and it will use that information to make newer versions of software available than what are provided by the distribution authors.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I think I'm missing something here. Some human at some point always has to package software for distribution: that step just can't be removed. Even on Windows, somebody has to take the step of actually building (and verifying) a specific distribution of any given software package.


Many developers are already doing that, as a lot of apps I run already have auto-uptdate capabilities. The only thing I'm suggesting is to move these into a central location so that you have one 'update agent' that runs in the background instead of 9 million different apps trying to roll their own.

Not to give a common answer, I suppose, but, if your biggest gripe is that "I'm tired of waiting for my distributor to catch up to the newest version up-stream when I use Linux..."


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Sure, you can jump through hoops to either lessen this problem or make it go away entirely, but the whole point to a package manager I feel is so that you DON'T have to work to keep your apps up to date. At the end of the day, if I have to spend time searching for 3rd party repositories so I don't have to wait for the Distro Gods to make packages for me (or just rolling my own), I'm really no better off than I am on Windows. Of course, both systems have their ups and downs and I can appreciate what apt and its ilk do; it just gets old to hear people talking about package managers like they're the cure for cancer.

In truth, Linux is far more along the path to Package Nirvana than Windows is; it's just too bad that so many people think the Linux way is already perfect and doesn't need any more improvement. For whatever reason, folks like to think that having every single distro re-inventing the wheel is a good thing.

Reply Parent Score: 2