Unsucking Linux app installation
In Software installation on Linux: Today, it sucks (part 1), Ian Murdoch (whose first name is the second half of Debian) writes, Unless an application is included with your Linux distribution of choice, installing that application on Linux is a nightmare compared to Windows., and proceeds to say exactly how.
However, far too few applications take advantage of the LSB today (though that’s changing), and Project Portland isn’t in any of the distros yet (though we’re looking at bundling its primary deliverable, xdg-utils, with the LSB 3.2 SDK to work around that). Finally, even though the LSB provides ISVs with a consistent way to create an LSB compliant executable, there’s no consistent way to deliver an LSB compliant application that’s easy to install and that integrates well with the distribution’s package system. Yes, the LSB includes RPM today, but for a variety of reasons, ISVs don’t want to use RPM, and as already mentioned, not all distributions support RPM natively.
Fortunately, once again, this isn’t just a rant. The LSB tackled these very issues at the LSB face to face and Packaging Summit last week in Berlin, Germany, and we think we have a way forward that’s acceptable to all involved: Linux distribution vendors who already have well established package systems and systems management tools built around them; ISVs who need to support multiple platforms and so don’t want to support the Linux specific RPM format or who otherwise want more control over the installation experience; and end users who want to use the software management facilities their distributions provide, whether that’s RPM or something higher level like APT and yum. More in part 2…
So I thought it would be helpful to put this in front of Linux Journal readers while Ian works on Part II.