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Third-party software installation for any Linux distribution

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  • #31
    Oh... but you are right. It would be much better if there was some common, distribution/version-independent GUI way of installing stuff.


    • #32
      Originally posted by curaga View Post
      It's still not uncommon to find software for Windows that doesn't have an installer, but instead comes in a zip file you unpack and then run the exe. This is practically identical to the tarball approach, and novice win users are okay with these apps too. What's your opinion on that?
      I've not encountered many novice win users who are okay with that. In fact, I can't think of many advanced win users who don't bitch about those.

      PS: What do you mean by NVN being hard to install?
      The original DVDs are broken and no longer work. For many users, that's still the preferred or only way to install software. A lot of crappy ISPs put caps or offer slower bandwidth (especially in the rural US).


      • #33
        The advanced Win users I know tend to prefer the zips, because they don't touch the registry or somesuch. Ah the joys of using Windows.


        • #34
          Originally posted by devius View Post
          Like others have pointed out, I also think you're making a big deal out of something not that important. Sure, granny may have a hard time installing third-party software via tarballs, but the average computer user upon stumbling on a problem already knows that typing the problem in google will eventually reveal a solution.
          I have to agree with Elanthis about this, it's not as easy as it should be to install third party software. Sure most people can figure it out eventually but it should be a lot easier. There's no harm in fixing this problem and there's definitely a lot to be gained. Software installation in Linux is the main thing that new users find hard to get used to. If there was just the distro package management system + one easy way of installing third party software this would make things a lot simpler.

          Quick edit: Whoops, missed a whole page of comments, didn't see your one at the top.


          • #35
            Originally posted by curaga View Post
            The advanced Win users I know tend to prefer the zips, because they don't touch the registry or somesuch. Ah the joys of using Windows.
            Yeah, those kinds of people are right up there with the folks who turn cookies off globally in their browser, because cookies are evil. Wired magazine said so once.

            Anyways, I suppose the next step is to actually start doing stuff. Like an actual specification for the XML package descriptions for the application metadata and the component metadata, and start making some choices about the bundle format (cpio, tarball, pkzip, etc.) and then at least get a basic packer and unpacker prototype written. That I'm assuming falls squarely on my shoulders.

            Upside, Christmas break means three weeks of no school, but on the other hand, I have three other projects I'm already committed to over the break. I'll get a Google Code project set up and do what I can.


            • #36
              Originally posted by elanthis View Post
              I doubt you notice it a lot. I doubt most people on this forum notice it. Every single person here is an uber Linux nerd. When you have to do some crazy Linux thing, you don't even notice anymore. It's normal. You've done it for years. It's well-honed habit. Hell, compiling a kernel is _fun_. Shells are easier and more efficient to use than a GUI. GCC and Vim are an incredibly powerful configuration toolset.
              Hahahh, brilliant. And so true. It's hard to realise until you don't actually introduce Linux to some non-geek friends. I know there are a lot of successful stories about grandpas and grandmas, but let's be honest, even in the most user-friendly distributions there's usually some tinkering to be done to get the system up and running for them. And it's so true that we don't complain any more about stuff that would make normal people puke. It's a weird thing, on the one hand we don't care about a bit of retarded hackery required to do something, and on the other we are ready to kill about minutiae such as some stupid cryptic option not being available by default as a sysfs interface (just the first example that came to my mind, I'm sure eveybody can come up with similar funny stuff). This problem is so real that I suspect some lazy people like me sometimes do not report bugs because we find a strange workaround that somehow gets the work done. Suddenly Wicd doesn't connect anymore? No probs, screw it and do the whole lot manually, even if it requires reading the manual pages of ifconfig, wpa_supplicant and dhcp_client because you forgot the syntax since last time. SDLMame doesn't run with gallium? Bah, find the right command line options that do the trick and have that game of Street Fighter II rather than saying anything, surely those guys have better things to fix. Hibernate doesn't resume? Compile another kernel, dude. And so on and so forth.

              Originally posted by elanthis
              The really screwed up part? It was actually easier to install and run Windows games on Linux than to install the Linux native games.
              And that one too. Actually, it's not just games. At work I was given an OpenSuse computer whose root password was well kept by the IT guy. I acknowledge that my OpenSuse-fu is not nearly as strong as my Debian skills (what I use at home), but still I find it funny that I had to resort to installing a couple of applications who had perfectly valid Linux versions...through wine because I got tired of having to chase libraries and whatnot. Then there's also a kind of feed-back loop: since Linux users are generally vastly more resilient to shit like having to modify configuration files, compile crap or live without a GUI, the same Linux developers (who are also Linux users and fall into the same mindset), sometimes "package" some software by simply compressing the source. Often you find a nice Windows installer for some applications accompanied by a hairy tarball for Linux. Or worse, sometimes the Windows version of some program has a nice GUI whereas the Linux one is a nice command-line-only application. Oh, well.