Tuesday, 19 July 2011

"Package Managers...Why"

Right, a quote form Mike Saunders about package managers, and it applies to most of the Linux desktop in general. The problem, is the ongoing choice vs cohesion battle. We want competition for apps, and choice is always good; it means we end up with better quality software (well, sometimes, *ahem LIBREOFFICE-SLOW-STARTUP-TIMES*) and if not, we can change to another program. But, it ends up rather silly with Linux, because even though most of us accept multiple web browsers, email clients, word processors, even calculators and text editors, there has to be a line.

Sometimes this line is over-stepped, and we have multiple desktop environments, and shells within these environment (looking at you, Unity). This has got to the point where there is too much choice, and even distros which use the same package format use different package managers. Now, standardizing on these would be impossible (especially as the LSB have picked the wrong package format for a standard) so I propose a solution.

Have all the desktops, window managers, text editors, shells, compositors you want, but for packages have some single unified program to install them, so maybe the Ubuntu Software Center, or PackageKit, but it uses either Deb or RPM underneath. (Actually, maybe discount Ubuntu as it seems to be trying to become an open source Apple). Then, make a standard toolkit and theme format for dekstops (CSS and either QT or GTK). Now, all you need to do is to make an official Linux 2011, Linux 2012, where all the distros pool their resources into to create some super-uber desktop OS. All the normal Fedoras, *buntus, Debians, Gentoos and Crunchbangs happen underneath, but for newbies there is a proper 'official' standard to go to.

Have Gnome-shell, KWin with KDE4, Unity and Compiz, but make something that has a simple mode, an Advanced mode and can be used by anyone from Windows, through to OSX, through to Solaris or even FreeBSD

Then Linux might be taken more seriously by manufacturers. And, give the user a default, but let them change it, let them choose Thunderbird or Postler over Evolution if they want, but make sure there is a default.

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