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Thread: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    I've written this article quite a long ago in my blog. I got some wonderful comments there. If you like, you can also check those comments in my blog. I think this topic should get enough attention. So I am posting the article in the cafe. Hope that, nobody will mind.


    After eying the title of this post, you must be astonished - why on earth I am saying that Ubuntu needs an ĎeasierĎ and ĎhandyĎ software installation process! Software Installation in Ubuntu is already a breeze. All one have to do is just heading to the Ubuntu Software Center, find/choose what software one needs and then hit the install button. Or one can download the .deb package and double click it to install the program. The installed program is ready for one in no time. Anyone have to admit that it is really pretty easy, even easier than Windows (where you have to click lots of ĎNextí buttons during the installation process).


    This whole procedure is easy if the computer is connected to the internet. What if the computer is in offline? Youíre probably wondering who doesnít have internet now a days! Actually there are a lots of them. Such as in my country Bangladesh, internet is not available to the majority of the computer users. Even though the minority gets the benefit of internet, they donít have blazing fast speed. An average home user gets 10 kbps to 15 kbps download speed. Which is quite a low speed for downloading. And obviously majority users are using Windows. As there is a scarcity of internet and proper download speed, people download necessary software installer from some online computers and then use that downloaded installer to several other offline computers to install the program.


    Now compare the scenario with an Ubuntu installed offline PC. Probably the easiest way to install a software in an offline Ubuntu computer is using the Keryx. It can keep track of the source ppa and dependencies, which is quite awesome. But still not easy enough to handle for a newbie. How? WellÖ firstly, using a third party software to install programs is a bit ĎscaryĎ. Secondly, if any one wants to share the downloaded file with others then it will be a problem. Suppose I have an offline Ubuntu computer and I want to install some program. So I take my flash drive (which have Keryx inside it) and connect it to a computer which has the internet connection. Then I download the desired program with the Keryx, and install it in my offline computer. It is easy. But what if I want to install that same downloaded program to another offline Ubuntu PC? There are sure chances that the dependencies in the second PC will be conflicted. Because it downloads the dependencies according to the first PC, so the second PC will suffer from dependency issues. And that is a nightmare for an average computer user. So as a result, previously mentioned ďdownload with one computer and install in several different computersĒ theory does not work here smoothly.


    To be frankly, the average users donít give a damn about the dependencies. They donít want to search the web to find out which libraries (and which versions) are required to install a specific program. They need the system to be Ďjust workedí. Iíve seen many users who are very much afraid to use Ubuntu as they donít have internet connection in there home. And they donít want to jumble themselves with the dependency hell.


    My point is to find out that whether it is possible to implement a more easier and handy software installation process for the offline computers (like MacOSX may be). All the dependencies will be packed in a single package for a certain program. (Please donít be confused with the projects like portable linux apps. I am talking about a complete software installation.) The user just need to download that file and drag-n-drop that file (like MacOSX) to some places (may be in the Application lens) or double click the file (like the .deb files) for installation. Thus it would be much more handy for the newbie users as well as the offline users.


    I am not sure if I made my point clear. In recent days, Ubuntu emphasis on the looks-n-feels for the users. I think it is also important to simplify the software installation process for the newcomers as well as for all the users. To my view it is one of the important bottle neck. May be it is a dumb idea. Some of you may point your finger to the security issues. But I didnít find any simpler idea than this for helping the offline users. Any thought on this? Any other idea?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    There needs to be at least 2 DVDs of offline software available for download so that someone can A) order them, or B) have someone download them for you. This was common not to long ago, but yea people are forgeting about lack of internet for most the planet.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    There are DVD releases at cdimage.ubuntu.com, though one DVD obviously cannot encompass the entire repository. Here's the one for Lucid: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/10.04.3/release/

    You might consider switching to Debian. Here's the current Debian repository on eight (!) DVDs: http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/.../i386/iso-dvd/

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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    ya know....at what point do groups that supposedly build farms , build schools, educate people, and ultimately communities embrace technology as part of their mission?

    Considering most models of building an infrastructure focus on providing industry their bandwidth first and letting the people benefit from the after effects, I wonder how much benefit there would be to simply setting up a couple of repositories in a place to get the ball rolling...

    I know that probably doesn't directly solve anything.. but I guess at some point, you make the statement..burn your own disk

  5. #5
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    There are DVD releases at cdimage.ubuntu.com, though one DVD obviously cannot encompass the entire repository.
    DVD images only hold the contents of the CD, plus extra language packs. They don't hold extra programs.

    It would be perfectly possible to make self-contained programs that are installable by dragging them to your home directory or /usr/applications folder. It's perfectly possible to make Windows-style installers. It's perfectly possible to do these on Linux for most programs.

    Nobody wants to do them, and almost nobody would want to install from them.

    They are too big. They introduce security flaws by using old libraries. They are unsigned, so they can be modified at any point in their journey by a malicious party to contain malware. They create more work for developers and packagers. They don't allow for centralized updates, so each and every program has to have its own logic and system for handling its own update, which is frankly a nightmare for users. Or they force the user to do the updates themselves, which is another brand of hell.

    Keryx is a stop-gap solution until everybody has internet access wherever they have their Ubuntu computer.

    You're certainly not the first person to have suggested copying Mac OS and Windows-style installation methods, but the reason why these haven't been adopted on Linux is simply because our method is better suited for Linux and Linux users, and I'd go so far as to say it's better overall. Note that Windows and OS X are moving toward the Linux repository model (which annoyingly gets called "App Store model", even though the repositories predate the iOS App Store).
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  6. #6
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdalbum View Post
    DVD images only hold the contents of the CD, plus extra language packs. They don't hold extra programs.

    It would be perfectly possible to make self-contained programs that are installable by dragging them to your home directory or /usr/applications folder. It's perfectly possible to make Windows-style installers. It's perfectly possible to do these on Linux for most programs.

    Nobody wants to do them, and almost nobody would want to install from them.

    They are too big. They introduce security flaws by using old libraries. They are unsigned, so they can be modified at any point in their journey by a malicious party to contain malware. They create more work for developers and packagers. They don't allow for centralized updates, so each and every program has to have its own logic and system for handling its own update, which is frankly a nightmare for users. Or they force the user to do the updates themselves, which is another brand of hell.

    Keryx is a stop-gap solution until everybody has internet access wherever they have their Ubuntu computer.

    You're certainly not the first person to have suggested copying Mac OS and Windows-style installation methods, but the reason why these haven't been adopted on Linux is simply because our method is better suited for Linux and Linux users, and I'd go so far as to say it's better overall. Note that Windows and OS X are moving toward the Linux repository model (which annoyingly gets called "App Store model", even though the repositories predate the iOS App Store).
    +1. You can compile program with static libraries and produce a .deb file that is self contained. It can even be version independent, one deb for all versions of Ubuntu, however, this is very impractical. Static programs are big and maintaining them is a clumsy process. All the tools are in place to facilitate such form of distribution, but people are not doing this because too few people are interested enough to do the heavy work.

  7. #7
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    No offense, but I don't think this is necessary. For offline machines, you don't want to run Ubuntu anyway. The need for updates being even more important the lack of software.

    If you are running linux on an offline computer, you realy should be using Debian.
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    Quote Originally Posted by Warpnow View Post
    If you are running linux on an offline computer, you realy should be using Debian.
    This.

    The problem with programs that bring their dependencies with them is that the author of the software must now take it upon themselves to maintain their dependencies versioning, if they don't do this, you as a user are screwed.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    I've brought up this topic lots of times and I've reached a reasoning that it's pointless to ask people from well-off countries about it, most don't seem to get it. For example, the DVD repository image point shouldn't even be mentioned, if bug #1 can be fixed, an easier way to install software like the others needs to be found, we can't just ignore this. Yes they're moving to app stores, but they still have offline installs, wasn't more choice better in the linux world?
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  10. #10
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    Smile Re: Canít we get an easier & handy software installation process in Ubuntu?

    This site will prepare and sell you the entire repository http://www.linuxcd.org/view_distro.php?id_distro=452. You and a number of friends can pool your resources and purchase the entire up to date repository 9 dvd's that looks like the best option in your position.
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