alien, packaging, etc. Re: Simplifying package installation.


Some thoughts: 
 - A huge Linux ease-of-use advantage is that you can't really break 
   your system if you use the package management tools (well, unless 
   you use --force-depends or --nodeps, and then you are just silly).
   Many, many Windows users have a giant mess of files they can't safely 
   delete, that don't have the right libraries, etc. That contributes
   to the legendary Windows instability; a clean Windows system or 
   one with just Office is relatively stable.

   Package management - deb or RPM - solves this problem. I think if 
   we break this nice Linux advantage, we will be dumbasses. People 
   should be encouraged to use the package system.

   Sure, unstable software won't be packaged yet; but if users need this
   EZ package tool, they shouldn't be using unstable software.

 - Alien is broken; the problem it tries to solve is computationally 
   intractable and requires human judgment. It should never be used 
   at all. It's only marginally better than installing a tarball into
   package-managed filesystem space.

 - It follows that packaging software in a user-friendly way is a 
   distribution's task, and if we want to fix this we should write
   nice tools for RPM and deb.

 - Nonetheless ISVs can't realistically stick to package management
   because they can't guarantee anything about the target system.
   So if we have a nice setup for them, it would be a good thing; 
   they want to ship a "standalone" product. 

   However, I think some companies (Zenguin?) are working on this.


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