Linspire announced today that the software management service Click’N Run will be available for Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian and Opensuse soon. The idea is to unify the software installation cross all Linux distributions and also to make other services of CNR available to other users: rate applications, search by category or function, and so on. And, of course: make the apps available with just one click. A new website is already set up and will be future CNR center.
This comes quite in time with thoughts by the FSG to improve the software installation situation around Linux. The question is now if CNR can be the solution.
First of all the basics seem to be quite ok: there is a driving force behind the project (Linspire), there is active development, the major distributions are all supported (ok, except Gentoo) and there will be no totally new package system which could brake the old one.
But to me it sounds like CNR will do not do much more than just prepackaging the applications for the known distributions. Sure, that is quite a lot of work, but if you have some decent package developers and even get some money out of it (by selling the proprietary stuff), you can build up a business model in such a way.
Nevertheless, such a model would not fit the needs Ian has summarized so well: I do not see how external ISVs could provide “CNR”-ready packages or such a thing. It is nice to have one central marketplace for most of the applications, but there must be a way to have software packages provided outside of CNR – and if in such case all developers have yet again to build there packages by their own we have a problem. Also, we need an API which takes standard commands for package/software management. This API could then be implemented into every distribution available – every, as long as their is enough manpower (also, that would be a nice sign about the state of any distribution). CNR seems to still be distribution specific. That wouldn’t work.
Well, let’s see how it turns out – if it does not fit the needs mentioned above it still can be a huge advancement at last for normal users in the desktop world. The rest could be sorted out by improving CNR under the hood towards an API like the one described here.