Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 9th May 2010 12:34 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Dear Ubuntu, for the last couple years life has been good. Every time I've shown you to a friend or family member, they've compared you to what they're familiar with--Windows XP or Vista, mostly--and by comparison you've looked brilliant. Yeah, your ugly brown color scheme was a bit off-putting at first, but once people saw how secure, simple, and reliable you were, the response was almost universally positive. But recently, things have changed ..."
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unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

Today packaging system is not about end users, they have PackageKit and graphical installers. Its all about developers and support.

Software installation is becoming an integrated part of many the desktop environment. E.g. we want to be able to have a standard gnome/KDE/... software installer that work the same way on all distros just like the Gnome/KDE menu works the same on all distros.

It is also not only specialized software install programs that need to install software. As an example printer management software would benefit from being able to automatically download and install printer drivers when we connect a new unknown printer. Other example would be a media player that may need to download and install new codecs, a word processor that need to download and install fonts or dictionaries.

Application developers should not need to do special hacks for each linux distro, to achieve this, and indeed, they don't need to. They can use PackageKit.

So, if application developers develop in a way that is package file format agnostic, and users install packages in a way that is package format agnostic why should developers need to learn how to package their software in at least two ways? It really doesn't make any sense.

It doesn't matter if there are more Debian packages out there. my guess is that Debian people would be smart enough to create some kind of auto translate tool that could generate RPM spec files from corresponding debian package info. By replacing debs with rpms old school, pre packageKit people could still use their apt-get, and Red Hat people can continue to use yum or up2date. Replacing rpms with debs would be a much harder way to get one format.

PackageKit is a kludge to make package installation integrated and manageable in modern Linux desktop environments. The problem is that by demanding that packageKit should be able to handle a large variety of package formats it becomes more complex, and the more complex it is the less flexible to future change it becomes.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

As an example printer management software would benefit from being able to automatically download and install printer drivers when we connect a new unknown printer.


The printer drivers are already installed for Ubuntu. For the most part, all you have to do is plug in the printer, and 20 seconds later it will be ready to print.

There are only about a dozen printer drivers for Linux, AFAIK. Myriad different models of printers are handled by different configuration files that delineate the differences in models for one or other of the dozen drivers. This configuartion file is typically a "PPD" file, a plain text file describing the underlying printer driver language and the unique properties of a given model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostScript_Printer_Description

It isn't hard to fit a dozen or so software drivers and many hundreds of plain-text PPD files on a Linux distribution LiveCD install disk.

Reply Parent Score: 2

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

That is beside the point, even if all available printer drivers are preinstalled by default in Ubuntu, software installation is still something an application should be able to request in a standardized distro independent fashion.

Users should never be given messages like "Software X is not installed" if the software is known, the message should read "Software X is not installed,would you like met to install it for you?" To make this kind of functionality easy to develop there need to be a standard way to install software, and PackageKit provide such a standard way.

If there is a standard way to install things, why should developers need to learn two ways to package software. As long as we have two common ways to install software nobody is even going to address the even bigger problem of having a standard naming scheeme for all the packages that make up LSB, and as long as this is the case it will be too expensive to port software to Linux in many cases, as the market share simply is too small.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually it is a lot more complicated than that. Fedora 13 will handle it better.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/AutomaticPrintDriverInstalla...

Since Ubuntu uses system-config-printer from Fedora as well, when they update it, they will get this feature as well.

Reply Parent Score: 1