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The GNOME project at 15

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 15, 2012 13:28 UTC (Wed) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855)
In reply to: The GNOME project at 15 by njwhite
Parent article: The GNOME project at 15

writing and deploying applications on Linux is a pain in the ass, for everyone. look at all the hoops Firefox has to jump through, or the indie studios that started distributing their games through the Humble Indie Bundle.

no, targeting all distributions is not a viable solution — and neither is "let each distro package your app": it does not scale, and makes the Linux platform look amateurish.

any way we can get reduce the pain of application developers (both closed and open source) is a net win in expanding the user base, increasing the adoption of Linux as a viable platform; and with that we get leverage with hardware and software vendors.


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The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 16, 2012 22:58 UTC (Thu) by jmorris42 (guest, #2203) [Link]

> look at all the hoops Firefox has to jump through

Eh? New Firefox appears and in hours to days the update icon lights up.

Anyone else wants to distribute software they can put up a repo.

If you are expecting all 'Linux distributions' to merge into one unitary OS just to support closed apps, dream on. Go count the attempts to remake a Linux distribution into 'the one' that would be friendly to commercial apps. They are all dead and mostly forgotten.

The worst part of commercial apps isn't their closed nature, it is their stupid nature. The stupidity of their installers. The stupidity of their update mechanisms. The stupidity of their non-integration.

Adobe at least got that right with flash player, just install the repo and 'it just works.' They are about the only commercial vendor to figure that out though. Don't know if I want to call Chrome 'commercial' but Google with their chrome repo does the same thing. And guess what? It just works.

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 22, 2012 7:05 UTC (Wed) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

So what format is that repo in? .deb? .rpm? .tar.gz? .ebuild? .apk? There's almost as many package and distribution formats are there are distro's and a lot of them aren't compatible (though yes, the major ones can be converted for the most part).

One of the simplest aspects (the format of the package) isn't even a simple question on Linux. If you want broad public use the distributions need to give up their fiefdoms and standardize on some things the least of which is package managers and library versions (personally I'd prefer RPM go away and DEB be standard but that's my bias). We aren't going to see widespread adoption of Linux until this stuff is sorted out. And that means everyone standardizes and follows each other on things like directories (where things are), packages, libraries, kernel version and certain software (X/Wayland, Audio, init, window manager, etc).

Don't get me wrong, I like the choice (its why I use Linux in the first place), but you aren't going to see someone like Adobe building their software for Linux if they have to target 10 distro's with all different libraries, packages and base software where they can't even predict which glibc will be installed.

I know there is work underway to fix some of these problems (I think wayland will be a game changer, along with systemd and others that have the promise of standardization of key components). But in the meantime you have what Firefox did which is to bundle every library version and piece of underlying software into their package so they ensure they have specific versions they need and that's just not practicable for most software, particularly commercial software. Android is popular because Google did what the community couldn't they created a standard base with a guaranteed foundation to build software on. You are absolutely guaranteed that Android version X on every device has the same libraries and base system and their application store uses version and hardware tables to check comparability and tries very hard to avoid offering software you can't run.

I don't see broad Linux success until the distro's play politics and start compromising and standardizing. Everyone going their own way and doing their own thing only fragments things worse and scares away commercial software. Maybe Google will bring enough of Android into Linux that they basically force standardization but I'm skeptical that the major players would be willing to compromise as they would be giving up some sovereignty in their digital fiefdoms.

Getting back on topic, can Gnome do this? I don't think they can, they're scaring away their own users and shooting for things that don't even appear to be in the scope of the project. But I'll give them props if they succeed, but I'll remain skeptical of their chances.

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 22, 2012 9:00 UTC (Wed) by njwhite (guest, #51848) [Link]

I'm not convinced this is a big issue. So long as you have a simple build system which works, and clearly state dependencies, it should be easily packagable by any distro that the users care about your project on.

Targetting one popular distro's library versions and creating a package for that, with an easily buildable and repackagable source, gets you as far as you need. Nowadays distributions are far more standard and regular in things than you may think.

I get the impression from your post that you're really concerned about the difficulty in getting proprietary software packaged for many distributions. Ultimately that's a problem caused by their own restrictive licensing terms, and I don't think trying to enforce exactly the same versions of key software on all distributions is a sane way to fix it.

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 23, 2012 8:10 UTC (Thu) by HenrikH (subscriber, #31152) [Link]

At work I do a simple "make_distribution <package>" and it will be built for all current Ubuntu/Debian/CentOS and Red Hat versions automatically. RPMs and DEBs are also created and added to our repos.

Yes initial setup of such a build server took some trail and error but not it's very easy to add new distribution/release. What I do think that we miss in the community is prebuilt building solutions like this.

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 23, 2012 8:16 UTC (Thu) by njwhite (guest, #51848) [Link]

Isn't that what OpenSUSE's Open Build Service does?

The GNOME project at 15

Posted Aug 26, 2012 3:23 UTC (Sun) by HenrikH (subscriber, #31152) [Link]

Sort of I think, I looked at it before building our own solution. But I never really figured out the how/what/when when looking at their project web site.


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