After Ian now unveiled the FSG plans to make software installation easier several people commented on these plans – and as usual there were thousands of other ideas. This is a community, after tall. Nevertheless I hope that there is now the foundation for a solution to the current problems, and I hope at least the most important people will help to deliver this as a real solution.
But there were some interesting comments I would like to mention here. First of all there was a link posted to Bitrock. The Bitrock guys provide a GUI tool to create installer packages for Linux and other platforms which can also be integrated with the rpm database. It is, however, a proprietary solution, but that doesn’t matter so much for an ISV. I’m not entirely sure how it works and where the disadvantages are, but it sounds pretty interesting and, that’s probably most interesting, very easy to use for developers.
The attempt reminds a bit of Autopackage (although autopackage cannot talk to the rpm database).
Also klik was mentioned several times, mostly due to the strong sense of mission of its developers. It is a technically very interesting solution, but you get maybe a bit irritated by the religion like way of how the developers advertise it 😉 The main disadvantages are the fact that klik is also not able to talk to the package system and that it is designed to not really intereact with the base system – this does not make sense for software like server apps, daemons, services, or everything which needs specific configuration or simple file type association. Also I do not think that it is a realistic way to have – again – a central repository for pacakges, this time
*.cmg. It also does not address the problem of software on a CD or distributed only to people who pay thousands of euros. Still, the attempt of one file per application is tempting and could be a nice way for providing easy and small apps. Also, klik is still in heavy development, and there is enough room for improvements yet.
But there was another thought mentioned in the comments which got me: we all compare Linux to Windows or Macs, and see: Windows and Mac have an easy way to deliver software, Linux does not. At least Windows is spread pretty much, and Mac does not suffer from that problem, too.
But well, there is another point of view: there are several other platforms which have a pretty clear way of installing software. They do not suffer this problem – but they are not as spread as Windows. This thought got me because it shows that not everything depends on this problem, and that even the best imaginable solution (installing software by just thinking of it) would not make Linux magically the better platform – there are many other fields were Linux is having problems, but other were Linux is pretty good.
I just have to remind my self of that point of view because at the moment I tend to think that the software installation part is the one and only problem left and that without this problem Linux would start off. I wonder if there are other things were other platforms have solved specific problems Linux still have…