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Generic concept: Unite and Conquer

Posted 12-18-2008 at 03:26 AM by KianTern

Disclaimer:
1. I'm not very good with words. Sometimes I can see something very clearly in my head,
but it's hard for me to express it in words. I hope that I'll be clear enough to make it understandable.
2. All of the bellow is my own opinion and shouldn't be considered anything else.

There is a lot of functionality duplication in Linux Distributions.
I don't mean that there are too many applications that do the same tasks, this is actually good (choice and all).
It's easier explained by using an example. I'll take scheduling.

When you say scheduling in Linux one of the first things that you think of is cron and at.
But there is a lot of additional application that need to schedule a task or a notification or time based
configuration changes.

Evolution needs scheduling for it's calendar to notify the user of an event.
A P2P application may require scheduling to lower it's bandwidth usage at a certain time.
A Media Library application that needs to rescan a music directory every N minutes.

Cron and At provide the basic facilities to schedule a task.
But some applications that require scheduling, won't use neither and will relay on their own mechanisms. This forces the user to run the application constantly (in case of Evolution) so the scheduled events will be processed.

Another example is contact lists.
Many applications create their own contact lists so if you want to view a contact's details you are
limited to the application that stores them. So if you have a phone number of someone in one application it might not be available in another which has the same contact.

Yet another example is auto starting applications.
There is at least 2 places to auto start applications in a Linux system (with GUI installed).
There is /etc/init.d or /etc/rc.conf that start the system services and there is a DE specific way to autostart (Sessions dialog in GNOME for example).

It is very difficult to find all the “wheel inventions” but I think there is a great many of them.
The examples above are concepts, there are a lot of security problems with implementing such features.
But still it my believe that by creating generic enough APIs will make it easier to write and maintain software. It also should make easier to implement complex relations between applications.
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