Zimmerman: Weve packaged all of the free software
Posted Jul 7, 2010 13:51 UTC (Wed) by vonbrand
In reply to: Zimmerman: Weve packaged all of the free software
Parent article: Zimmerman: Weve packaged all of the free software
Right, the "get the latest version of <foo> out" is the way to go. But for data (just as for code) it is imperative that someone look it over and check it doesn't break (at least not too badly) and keep possible dependencies up to date (What use is the latest clamav database, which needs a new program, if my installation is outdated?). Exactly good plain old packaging work. What distributions did was precisely to take most of that burden from the hapless end user, and we thank them heartily for it. But that can work only if your package management system knows about all stuff you have on your machine, i.e., one packaging system only. (Yes, I remember my days futzing around with open source packages installed from code on our Sun machines. Fond memories, to be sure; but handling that mess was a real pain. And then installing unofficial sources over Slackware or early Red Hat didn't go much better.)
BTW, the benefits of a single, standardized package over "get to the sources and build your own, custom-tailored package" (be it for code or data) is that there are others out there feeling the same pain if something goes awry, thus it will get fixed (even faster if you lend a hand). There are others with the exact same stuff installed which you can ask in case of trouble.
Besides, what is this "client/server where you have to ensure client and server are matched" nonsense? The solution to that one has been to make the client be the web browser, or use standardized interfaces to databases, or whatnot. "Client/server" applications in this sense are so old-fashioned... No "this is the package that the Internet has to install to work with my stuff" type of solution will ever work (thank $DEITY for that).
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