GNU Guix launches
Posted Nov 26, 2012 13:03 UTC (Mon) by pboddie
In reply to: GNU Guix launches
Parent article: GNU Guix launches
When I put myself in their shoes and think about it I'm not sure that if I would choose to use a distro that made it easy for users to install packages without root or some administrative proxy permission.
Unless you take away the compilers and, given the availability of binary installers for certain applications, unless you take away the right to download and run software - you can get pretty far by playing with the mount options, at least for the latter - then you have to accept that people will be able to run non-system software.
For some kinds of users, imposing such restrictions is probably feasible and acceptable for all the usual reasons and according to the rules of the workplace, but when you have people who develop software unable to conveniently acquire and run software - setting noexec on the partition where they build their software isn't going to be very productive - then everybody has to ask themselves how much time is being wasted because of "policy".
The perverse outcome of the conflict between policy and productivity is the proliferation of the technological sledgehammer that is the virtual machine, resulting in even more environments that need to be configured and managed properly, when the technological nut was just the installation of a handful of packages, potentially under a non-root user's privileges, that could have been done in a few seconds had the package manager permitted such a thing.
I agree with you about not letting people install anything and everything - I worked in an environment once where people thought it was fun to click through on the "funny game/video/picture" attachment in Microsoft Outlook, and it was obvious that such activities weren't exactly going to end well - and I also agree that where an employer doesn't trust its employees sufficiently, that employer shouldn't expect things to get done in a timely or effective manner, but I also think that distributions should entertain the use-case of non-root package management for places with more enlightened administration policies where such features, if enabled, would be a clearly superior alternative to handing out administrative privileges.
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