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Re: Installers..

#08-Dec-01# Message from *Dennis Payne*:
Hi Dennis,

>>     I am working on a project allowing installation of source tarballs
>> via a gui (similar to kconfigure but different and with more scope).

> Personally I consider this somewhat of a flawed project.  Sources are
> typically larger than binaries. 

I agree completely! A single source tarball is generally larger than
a single binary distribution. The 20-odd binary distributions you need to
make to support a reasonable rangle of distros and processors tend to be
rather larger than a single source tarball that can be compiled on any
of those systems.

The very best most authors can do is provide a small number - typically 4 or 
5 - binary distributions and source tarballs. Yes, this is larger than a
single binary distribution, but it means that the project can work on a vast
range of systems rather than the single system or group of systems the
maintainers can directly support. The logistics involved in creating binary
distributions for every single possible distro and processor on which a 
project can work is simply insurmountable. In many cases it is also likely 
that the binary distributions will trail and source distribution for updates 
(as a lot of projects assign binary distribution creation to team members who 
may not have the time or resources to maintain up-to-date binary
distributions- GKrellM is a perfect example of this).

But I am not even remotely interested in getting embroiled in the relative
strengths and weaknesses of source and binary distributions. The fact is
that source distributions exist and normal users are required to use them. I 
am not going to start trying to overhaul the source distribution
system - if you have a problem with it I suggest you take it up with the
autoconf/automake maintainers and the thousands of authors who use source
tarballs. My single interest is in making the installation of source
tarballs easier for normal, end users - the Harry Homeowners that many of
the people on this list are targetting with their games. While it is fine to
give them the "configure, make" routine when everything is simple, all to
often it isn't and most of them have no idea where to start to fix such
things. They don't care whether a library can be removed, they don't care
whether something appears in the rpm database - they just want to install
and use the software. 

Let me state this clearly: I am writing a GUI frontent to the process of
installing programs from source tarballs. I am not writing a new installer
system, I am not writing a rpm/deb/other binary distribution system, I am
not going to do a great deal that is not already done via the shell (except
for more user friendly depndancy checks and package download support) My
intent in my original post was to ask list members whether they would
object to me posting a large message discussing what I think I need to
implement to make the installation process simpler for normal users and ask
for their comment on how my ideas could be improved. 

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