Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Oct 2005 11:44 UTC
Linux Adobe, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, RealNetworks and Red Hat are all backing the new Linux standards effort led by the Free Standards Group. The nonprofit organisation plans to marshal their resources to form standards for key components of Linux desktop software, including libraries, application runtime and install time. The group said Monday that it will encourage software developers to use its guidelines when building programs for Linux as part of its Linux Standard Base project.
Thread beginning with comment 46895
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Autopackage
by r_a_trip on Tue 18th Oct 2005 15:35 UTC in reply to "Autopackage"
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

(If you don't see it as a problem, try getting the new Gnumeric release when it comes out, without using some 'unstable' package repository. Not easy, eh?)

Why not wait until the distribution has added it to their repository and have the new stuff tested a little bit, before you yourself clumsilly destroy your setup with the latest and greatest?

Installing Autopackage software is like Russian Roulette. No way on earth that an Autopackage binary blob can play nicely with each and every intricacy of all the GNU/Linux based OSes out there. I trust on the software management by the distribution.

Plus, I really, really, really hate the idea of having to trawl the net and download each and every piece of software I want to use and then afterward have to click each and every piece after I've downloaded them and then having to answer the same stupid questions over and over again. Click -> next -> next -> next times 1,000,000.

Repository-based and (graphic) package-manager accessible software is superior to any installshield solution.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Autopackage
by on Tue 18th Oct 2005 16:00 in reply to "RE: Autopackage"
Member since:

You've just supported my argument even more. Why should users have to "wait for it to appear in the distro"? In many cases, a new major release of a software package fixes bugs and problems in earlier releases. And now you're saying, users shouldn't have easy access to those bugfixed releases?

That they should have to wait for it to get into their "repositories"? Or download the source (and all the dependencies) and build by hand? Or poke around for unstable repositories that bring in their own problems?

All to fix a bug? It's insane.

And if you hate the idea of 'trawling' the net for software, ask your distro to collect together Autopackages of software into one place, so you don't have to go hunting. That also leads to a MASSIVE reduction in duplicated effort.

Right now, when a security issue is discovered in FooApp, hundreds of developers for hundreds of distros scramble to patch, rebuild and distribute the exact same fix over the myriad of distros. If there was an Autopackage for FooApp, distro vendors could simply grab that and push it out to end-users.

If you look around forums on the Net, one of the most common problems Linux newcomers grumble about is software installation. They see FooApp, go to the site, and just want to download and run a program. But instead they have to go through the massive somersaults mentioned above, or wait five months for it to appear in their next distro release.

Do you think that's acceptable? Do you not think we, as a community, should be doing something to get Linux out of its 5~% market share, and going upwards?

Software installation under Linux is fiendishly messy, and projects like Autopackage could solve it -- with you STILL having your repositories if you wanted them.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Mac Package!! was RE[3]: Autopackage
by on Tue 18th Oct 2005 18:14 in reply to "RE[2]: Autopackage"
Member since:

I prefer the Mac approach, first developed on NeXT computers --> everything there is about an application is bundled within its own subdirectory; drag it/copy it to wherever on your system, double-click and it runs. Erase it, it's gone. Have many releases of the same app runnable on your computer? Sure!

For folks interested in writing apps for a wide-spread linux audience, including potential commercial developers, this would be the pipe dream.

Problem? All the desktop/services stuff. The icons, associations with files, launch/start menu, etc. MS led the way in requiring packages to stick things in system directories to make such magic work. Thus, they require install scripts that know where to put these things. It also requires (ugh!) uninstall scripts to remove this junk when you want to ditch or upgrade a package. An we all know how often we need to upgrade apps in linux!

Ditch all this. That's an accomplishment I'd like to see from a Linux Standards Board.

Let package managers handle the underpinning distro toolkit foundation stuff. Software like Open Office, Abiword, Audacity or Unreal Tournament should not have to be squeezed into /usr/bin, /usr/etc, /usr/lib, /opt/kde, etc. That's as bad as MS requiring DLL's to be stuffed into the Windoze directory. Remember DLL hell?

It was handling DLL hell which encouraged the creation of Installers in the first place - a kludge to handle a kludgey OS that required tens and hundreds of files to be put just so or else the program wouldn't run.

Heck with that. All these problems came from a time when memory and storage were scarce and there was 16-bit windoze to remain compatible with. Linux need not follow in such footsteps. I hope the LSB establishes a standard where Apps may be drag-n-drop install, like the Mac. Simple and clean for the expert, easy to comprehend for the newbie.

It will take work for something like this to come to pass, but what's the LSB there for, anyway?

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: Autopackage
by jziegler on Tue 18th Oct 2005 22:51 in reply to "RE[2]: Autopackage"
jziegler Member since:
2005-07-14

Do you think that's acceptable? Do you not think we, as a community, should be doing something to get Linux out of its 5~% market share, and going upwards?

I did not choose Linux for its market share. I chose it, because I like how it works, how it is created, etc.

You believe that technically-worse solutions are worth it for a project like Linux just to increase a market share? Keep in mind, that there is not one entity called "Linux", just a number of coders and distributions and companies, each with a different motivation and goals. I, personally, prefer technical correctness to appealing to Joe Sixpacks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Autopackage
by archiesteel on Wed 19th Oct 2005 01:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Autopackage"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

In many cases, a new major release of a software package fixes bugs and problems in earlier releases. And now you're saying, users shouldn't have easy access to those bugfixed releases?

In many cases, a new release is buggy and unstable. Waiting for the distro to include it in the repository is the reasonable thing to do for 95% of users. The 5% of users who must compulsively use the latest and greatest version can always install it from tarballs. It's not hard, and with utilities such as checkinstall it's pretty safe as well.

The idea that you must absolutely install the latest version of an app comes from the Windows world. Things don't exactly work the same way with open source...

If you look around forums on the Net, one of the most common problems Linux newcomers grumble about is software installation.

Not really. The most common thing Linux newcomers grumble about is lack of native drivers for their hardware, or the fact that they are proprietary drivers that require special procedures to install. In other words, they indirectly complain about the fact that such drivers are not available as packages, since that means that they could be installed automatically during system installation. Autopackage (while a good idea) would not solve this.

Programs like Autopackage and other similar installers are useful for commercial software, because that provides cross-platform packages for ISVs. For most system and open-source software, however, the repository system works just fine. I use it every day and I don't feel slighted by it at all. I really do think you're exaggerating the problem here.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Autopackage
by null_pointer_us on Tue 18th Oct 2005 16:15 in reply to "RE: Autopackage"
null_pointer_us Member since:
2005-08-19

Installing Autopackage software is like Russian Roulette. No way on earth that an Autopackage binary blob can play nicely with each and every intricacy of all the GNU/Linux based OSes out there.

It would work if distributors collaborated with the Autopackage developers. What would not work is having the Autopackage developers trying to guess at the intricacies of many distributions.

I trust on the software management by the distribution.

That promotes duplicated effort and stifles creativity. It's harder to create a new distribution when you have to set up your own repository. Even if you counter this point by saying that a new distribution could be based off an existing one, that existing one is still duplicating effort; therefore, the derived distributions' package selections are constrained. Distributors ought to be specifying distribution-specific details, not repeating the entire packaging process.

Plus, I really, really, really hate the idea of having to trawl the net and download each and every piece of software I want to use and then afterward have to click each and every piece after I've downloaded them and then having to answer the same stupid questions over and over again. Click -> next -> next -> next times 1,000,000.

Repository-based and (graphic) package-manager accessible software is superior to any installshield solution.


I agree wholeheartedly. Remember that this is a separate issue from Autopackage; there is no reason why we couldn't have one distribution-neutral Autopackage repository. This would also make it easier for new software to be published, particularly so if the developer is new to Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Autopackage
by anda_skoa on Tue 18th Oct 2005 16:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Autopackage"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

It would work if distributors collaborated with the Autopackage developers.

What kind of collaboration would you like to see?

Auopackage didn't make themselves a lot of friends when they decided to treat all distributions as "broken" and to deliberately risk breaking the system.

Bad first impressions take a long time to overcome

Reply Parent Score: 1