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Applications and bundled libraries

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 0:11 UTC (Thu) by cmccabe (guest, #60281)
In reply to: Applications and bundled libraries by Frej
Parent article: Applications and bundled libraries

> The big advantage is app developer control. Imagine being able to update
> your customers/users application without being dependent on N different
> distributions somewhat random selection of software, it also avoids "Oh to
> get our next update, you need to update your distro" which is completely
> unacceptible from an administration point of view.

Giving developers more power is almost never what you want to do. You want to give power to the users and system administrators.

Some system administrators are conservative. They just don't want to apply any patches except security updates. They might use RHEL 5 or something like this. They ought to be able to follow this policy without interference from developers.

If developers have to add an #ifdef somewhere in the code to make this happen, it's a small price to pay for stability and security.

> Distro's tend to want monolithic control over everything, even if it
> potentially hurts users and developers. The problem with security updates
> wouldn't be the distro's responsibility if they didn't have control every
> bit of software on your computer.

Users shouldn't have to manually update every piece of software on their computer. If it weren't the distro's responsibility, security would fall on to the users and system administrators-- another burden.

Microsoft would love to have a single update button that you could press to update all the software on your Windows PC. They've made that a reality for all the software they directly control. But they can't do it for third party software.


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Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 8:40 UTC (Thu) by Frej (subscriber, #4165) [Link]

>> The big advantage is app developer control. Imagine being able to update
>> your customers/users application without being dependent on N different
>> distributions somewhat random selection of software, it also avoids "Oh to
>> get our next update, you need to update your distro" which is completely
>> unacceptible from an administration point of view.
>Giving developers more power is almost never what you want to do. You want to give power
>to the users and system administrators.
>Some system administrators are conservative. They just don't want to apply any patches
>except security updates. They might use RHEL 5 or something like this.
>They ought to be able to follow this policy without interference from developers. If
>developers have to add an #ifdef somewhere in the code to make this happen, it's
>a small price to pay for stability and security.

Good point and I agree. The current system is great for sysadmins. But we need a system that
works for both users,devs and sysadmins. Currently it works for companies (they pay), where
there are people dediated to support the system. You don't have that on a personal computer
;).

But the problem isn't just ifdefs. It's a about shipping software to end-users.

>> Distro's tend to want monolithic control over everything, even if it
>> potentially hurts users and developers. The problem with security updates
>> wouldn't be the distro's responsibility if they didn't have control every
>> bit of software on your computer.
>Users shouldn't have to manually update every piece of software on their computer. If it
>weren't the distro's responsibility, security would fall on to the users and system
>administrators-- another burden.

I never said anyone should update manually. Some software can update itself ;). And True, the
N different updaters aren't a good solution either. It doesn't really matter for the home user,
but the sysadmin would hate it.

But it should be possible to to create a system that can solve both, we just need to
seperate mechanism (fetching new code) from policy (per app lib or system lib, where to
check for updates). It's not a simpler system, but it could solve different needs for more than
just sysadmins.

I'm aware that money pour in by keeping sysadmins happy, and thus the system is designed
for them. Changing that, is difficult to from a business point of view, but that is ok!

>Microsoft would love to have a single update button that you could press to update all the
>software on your Windows PC. They've made that a reality for all the software they directly
>control. But they can't do it for third party software.

I can't argue with what what you think MS would love to do.

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 20, 2010 23:10 UTC (Sat) by cmccabe (guest, #60281) [Link]

> Good point and I agree. The current system is great for sysadmins. But we
> need a system that works for both users,devs and sysadmins. Currently it
> works for companies (they pay), where there are people dediated to support
> the system. You don't have that on a personal computer ;).

I use Fedora Core 12 and I turned on automatic updates.

That is "a system that works for me" and I didn't need to pay or hire anyone to support the system.

There's a lot of areas where the Linux desktop is behind Windows. But in the area of automatic updates, Linux is way ahead. This matters not only because you get nice features, but because updating regularly is an important part of securing your system.

Firefox and Chrome rolled their own update system because their main audience is Windows. There is no system-wide update on Windows, except for Microsoft's code. They could nicely strip out all their updater code on Linux, and cooperate with upstream, but it's more work than just doing things the same way on both platforms.

The bundled libraries issue is the same problem. On Windows, you have to bundle all your libraries with your app, because there's no dependency management framework. You can't really trust the DLLs in the Windows folder because someone else might have put a different version there. And you can't put your version there because you might break somebody else who needs to use the earlier version.

Anyway, web browsers are kind of special. They've almost grown into mini operating systems over the last decade. Unfortunately, most of the wheels they've reinvented were rounder the first time around. At least it's an open platform, by and large.


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