Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Jun 2010 19:17 UTC
Linux Linux Magazine has a profile of Daniel Fore and the Elementary project. Elementary is a Linux distro that's committed to a clean and simple user experience, but it's more than a distro - it's actually a multi-pronged effort to make improvements to the user experience for a whole ecosystem of components, including icons, a GTK theme, Midori improvements, Nautilus, and even Firefox. The work that elementary is doing isn't limited to their own distro, and some of their work is available in current, and perhaps future, Ubuntu releases. The results are really striking, and I think it's probably the handsomest Linux UI I've ever seen.
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jtfolden
Member since:
2005-08-12

Option 1: "Rolling-release" distros *are* essentially upgrading portions of the OS as you upgrade apps, etc... it just comes pouring down the wire and stability suffers, as a result.

Option 2: "Testing" repositories are not a solution at all, because a) not every app has one, and b) you generally have to manually set up the repository for each one (that might, possibly, maybe, happen to be available).

So, Option 1 is the equivalent of having to continually install beta releases of Windows or OS X just to get the newer apps available. Option 2 is not particularly user friendly and it's incredibly spotty at best.

Neither of these options provide the previously mentioned easy of use in comparison to Windows or OS X. Heck, I think just about all the apps I currently use on OS X even check for their own updates and install them for you, upon approval, without me ever having to do a thing - and I never have to worry about the stability of the OS or that the core might be tampered with...

Remember, I never said that there weren't ways to possibly upgrade apps, but these kludges are simply not suitable in a modern desktop operating system. The OS and the applications should not be so tightly bound to one another and I think the main failing here is the way libraries and resources are handled by the OS.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

What about option 3 ? Not every application provides binary packages, but most of the big ones (the ones you probably want to upgrade) actually do so, just like on Win/OSX...

Reply Parent Score: 3

jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

This may have changed since I last tried using binary packages but doesn't that bring into play the issue of dependencies - both in having to possibly install something secondary that effects the core of the OS (and potentially breaks another app) and having said dependencies available for your particular distro?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Remember, I never said that there weren't ways to possibly upgrade apps, but these kludges are simply not suitable in a modern desktop operating system. The OS and the applications should not be so tightly bound to one another and I think the main failing here is the way libraries and resources are handled by the OS.


Hit the nail on the head. With disk space as abundant as it is today, app encapsulation is the way to go.

Actually, the overall layers of userland libraries need to first be better defined. When it comes to e.g. graphics and multimedia libraries there is no standard base. So it's an all-or-nothing approach--every library depends on every other library all the way down to the core of the system. So it makes app encapsulation quite a bit more difficult.

Reply Parent Score: 4

jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

Exactly! ...and if a group are going to chase after OS X for anything, it should be the way it handles applications/libraries and not simply cosmetics.

There's no reason that a Linux distro can't do this and the fact that there have been all these attempts at landing on the desktop without anyone satisfactorily solving this issue, at this late date, is kind of mind boggling.

Reply Parent Score: 1

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


Hit the nail on the head. With disk space as abundant as it is today, app encapsulation is the way to go.


The deal is that with desktop becoming a less and less interesting target, reusing the already loaded libries is interesting again. It's not as much about disk space than it is about memory usage. Having multiple versions of the same library loaded at the same time eats all your RAM.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Hit the nail on the head. With disk space as abundant as it is today, app encapsulation is the way to go.

Actually, the overall layers of userland libraries need to first be better defined. When it comes to e.g. graphics and multimedia libraries there is no standard base. So it's an all-or-nothing approach--every library depends on every other library all the way down to the core of the system. So it makes app encapsulation quite a bit more difficult.

You mean like the all-in-one bundles you see on OSX ? I *heavily* disagree with that. I offered a pen tablet to my girlfriend for Christmas, which came in a bundle with a photoshop elements licence. I discovered that there was no DVD in the box, it was available for download only. I then said "well, no issue". That's what I thought. But downloading 2 GB of data over a crappy Wi-fi network is a pure nightmare. After the third time the download stopped without a warning one hour after the beginning and refused to restart except by re-downloading from byte 0, I just gave up and teached her how to use GIMP, even though the OSX version belongs to the hall of shame of most crappy software ports in my opinion. Software packages are *much* easier to download when they're small.

Edited 2010-06-19 09:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I've gone over this a 1000 times here so don't waste too much energy with the status quo defenders.

Program management in Linux is an insult to software engineering. I'm glad that I'm not the only person that can see this.

Have a nice day sir.

Reply Parent Score: 3

jtfolden Member since:
2005-08-12

Yes, I'm seeing what you mean! lol

Reply Parent Score: 1

cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

Oh please ...

repeating it over and over does not make it true. Everything in a single package is a huge waste of resources:

Disk resources because you have libraries several times on your disk (and this is actually relevant if you use an SSD for example).

RAM, I'd rather use my RAM for useful things instead of keeping multiple copies of the same library in it.
Bandwidth, if a library that is part of a lot of packages needs a security upgrade, you suddenly have to download all these packages. Now let these packages be things like Photoshop and suddenly you look at multiple GB downloads. I'm not even talking about the fact that you have to wait for a new version of every one of the packages.

CPU, every app needs to check for updates, great use of resources!

Time, looking for software at places all over the internet is definitely not a better use of my time than looking in one central location.

I can't believe you actually touting all-inclusive packages as the better engineering solution.

Reply Parent Score: 2