[lsb-discuss] Packaging

Jiri Dluhos jdluhos at suse.cz
Mon Oct 23 06:54:30 PDT 2006


On Monday 23 October 2006 15:01, you wrote:
> First of all, as should be obvious, the details of internal package
> dependencies for packages provided by the distribution go away.

Well, I'm afraid it is too nice to be true :-)

> An LSB-compliant application is only allowed to assume that facilities
> guaranteed by the LSB will exist.

Yes, but only in theory. In practice, strict imposing of this rule is both 
infeasible and dangerous.

If we strictly mandate that LSB-compliant applications must use only LSB 
libraries, it would paralyze the whole system development. We will then get a 
classical bureaucratic deadlock (you cannot put a library into LSB until it 
becomes known practice, and it will never become good practice if it is not 
used, and it cannot be used before it is in the LSB).

Apart from this, the current LSB building environment is simply not powerful 
enough for building even some very basic Linux packages - coreutils is the 
most notable example.

What would happen with more complex packages is left as an exercise for the 
reader. ;-)

> The problem is that a many of the larger ISV's have already a huge amount of
> investment using either their own package installation system, or some
> commercial/third-party provided package installer (i.e.,
> InstallShield), and they want the "install experience" for the
> customer to be the same across all platforms --- Windows, Solaris,
> AIX, and Linux.  And they can do that today using some of these
> commercially written package management systems that use Java, for
> example.

Yes, but alas, I consider this also a bad thing :-(

We have about five well-tested, working package systems. Why, for the heaven's 
sake, should every application vendor write their own installer?

Custom installers, as used on Windows, are *bad*. They are slow, they tend to 
break the system when anything unexpected happens, and their interfaces 
differ from application to application.

And on Linux, these installers are even worse. They look much worse and work 
much worse than on Windows, and the reason is simple: their creators consider 
Linux a marginal platform so they don't care about doing things right.

I would advise just saying NO to custom installers. Let's teach the ISVs to 
respect the guidelines of good software development on Linux - exactly as 
they have to do on Windows. And this means using a common, well-defined 
package installation interface.

Umph. Sorry for being so aggressive today...

Best regards,

    Jiri Dluhos

Jiri Dluhos, LSB development           jdluhos at suse.cz
SUSE LINUX, s.r.o.                     http://www.suse.cz
Lihovarska 1060/12                     +420 296 542 384
190 00 Praha 9
Czech Republic

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