Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life after Home Makeover in Linuxville

Ever wonder how life goes on after Home Makeover has left and the rush from so much newness and people and cameras and hugs have faded. You might have to gather yourself and try to find how your old life can cope with the new environment. You yourself haven't changed, but now there are all these possibilities. After some time you might even get the boldness to change something or add something. While the gift of newness is wonderful, it begins to sink in that the tastes and choices they made on your behave are not truly reflective of yours. Eventually the custom designed themed bedrooms, though exciting, need changing because the kids grow up. Growth and change are fluid yet constant and rarely consistent and always enviable. The out-of-the-box experience, though a great impact statement is still just the beginning. Wait now, I am getting to Mepis! What I am getting at is that each distro seems to have there own ways of doing things. This is partly why some .deb packages compiled on one Debian based distro will not install correctly on other distros also based on Debian. Files are put in different places so when programs run and they ask for a file in a certain location, it is not there. Sometimes it is a matter of dependencies which are not in the repositories or that you have to add the URL of repositories and security code keys to access them. It is not very open if you ask me, but you must protect your assets and your access, these days. Standardization is a nasty word in Linuxville. And Linux mechanics will fight you to keep the freedom to devise different ways of doing things with Linux. But in my humble opinion, just a little standardization might be a welcome tonic for users. A .deb package should be a .deb package and just work on Debian based distros, no matter the flavor. Or a converter program is needed to insure a .deb package will install in that distro. Maybe even something like Alien which converts from one package system to another (.deb to .rpm) could do the job. Oh, we already got this, it is called compiling!! Yeah, we do, but then you have to teach the world to sing and with 95% of us off key too! So, maybe there should be one giant repository for .deb files and every distro have a compliance converter to insure that .deb's install properly in that distro. Maybe Synaptic needs built-in compiling tools and be distro aware. Does the compiling process need to be streamlined then put behind a front-end (a GUI)?? Why is it that some distros have full catalogs of pre-complied software that fit their distro and some do not? Standardization of some sort could combine resources or locations of resources, then common tools to access them, then modules added for specializations, exceptions, uniquenesses, differentiallities, quirks, radical departures, etc, to insure the .deb file installs in the particular distro. Every distro might come equipped with the "Universal Linux Package Distro Compliance Converter" so that you can throw any Linux package at it and it will make that package fit any distro. Standardization need not mean sameness, just better resource management and deployment. You have to ask if the different packaging systems amount to closed systems within the open source arena?! Packaging is a standard and it has to be or Linux is hindered. The Alien software program crosses the package barrier, what will cross the distro barrier? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put compiling on the desktop in a way that is fully accessible. To find code and dependencies, compile it, install it and run it, should be an effortless workflow in Linuxville. To sum it all up, in Linuxville we all wear shirts, different shirts, but shirts. Different styles, colors, materials, shapes, sizes, still shirts (or blouses). Do we continue to endure the sweatshops? (to make shirts or command line compiling) or do we utilize more friendly and accessible tools to do the same job???? There is lots to argue about but that is what Linux communities are all about, throwing minds at problems. Life goes on!!!!
Mepis is just fine and the blurb above is a concern encountered upon installing apps in Mepis that were a breeze in Xubuntu. Ease of use and user friendliness are two different qualities. You need two mints in one if you intend to relieve user frustration. OK, you got the car with all the toys, but it has a standard shift. Multitasking behind the wheel just became complicated. Some will say that this is closer to the real Linux, requiring savvy and skill. Even Slackware had to address dependency hell and make software installs more friendly. If the Debian software catalog is more extensive than the rpm or the tarball ones, why can't some Debian based distros use all those .debs?? Within the open Linux world are closed, distro and cpu architecture dependent systems. I understand cpu architecture differences, but not distro differences. I mean so different that you have to resort to compiling from source code to make it run on your distro. I'm starting to repeat my anguish. We all are searching for the Linux sweet spot. The cries from the Linux choir are worst than a rampage of used car salesmen. There is no one Linux distro that is all things for all people, does all things well or is so able to run on mainframe or laptop, server or desktop, new or old hardware and accommodate skilled and unskilled users. Linux is the ultimate in customization and can be made to fit the hardware, the process and the user. But there is still room for improvements. Even in Linuxville, the streets are paved with orange barrels, at times.

No comments: