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Old 09-24-2005, 11:38 PM   #1
bongski55
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Angry Why Is It So Difficult To Install Software?


I had this frustrating experience just yesterday.I have a dialup connection.
I tried to install the latest available firefox from the debian packages site-1.0.6-5.deb if I am not mistaken.I assumed that everything would be okay because firefox 1.0.4 was already preinstalled.So proceeded using kpackage and was surprised to see dependency problems-some libxxx so and so needed to run.So I tried to download using firefox from debian site but to my great surprise firefox 1.0.4 NO LONGER WORKS! Tried to start it from the console and it shwows an erro that it needed a libxxx.so 6 file not found.
So kpackage actually destroyed the previous firefox version! Then I tried to use konqueror and THE SAME libxxx error came up.
So how am I to use the net now that I cannot download?It is good that I dual boot and am writing this on xp now.
Final questions--Why is Linux in general very complicated in software installation?Why is there no executable that installs or upgrades everything all in one go?And why is there no easy way to uninstall previous versions?
One thing-"apt-get".I tried that before when I tried to install firestarter.It told me to do "apt-get-f install" to resolve the dependencies.That took me almost an hour on my dialup connection.Did that solve my problem?A BIG NO!It told me again to do "apt-get update".Yes I tried that also found found out that I had to update 56 files(packages?) so I just stopped the process.Why do I have to update 56 packages just to install firestarter?
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:04 AM   #2
MasterC
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Dependencies. The beauty and the ugly of shared libraries:
Beauty is that you only have to install them once;
Ugly is that you have to install it once...

The "executable" issue is that it's not always ok to create and distribute binaries of an application, also sometimes a static version will contain binaries of another application that it's not OK to have binaries of, so the chain gets broken somewhere along the line. This makes it difficult to create binary/static versions of all applications. So, some package managers will auto resolve these dependencies for you, how nice! Such was the case with your apt situation. However, as you have found, it's not always nice on the bandwidth. Also the reason some vendors offer "extras" CD's that can be purchased from various websites around the net.

Anyway, long story short, it's a good thing, in the eyes of package maintainer, and depending on how you look at it, also a good thing from a user standpoint (don't have 15 versions of thousands of libraries floating around in their own proprietary directory hogging more space on your hard drive).

Now, your problem.

If you don't use a "deb" package, which as I was discussing earlier, is generally a precompiled binary for a debian or debian-like distro, then you can grab a static binary from Mozilla, makes life easier, but takes away your ability to easily find the packages you have installed and upgrade/downgrade them as your dependencies change. It's a toss up, but for situations like this, it's really not that bad:
http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.o...staller.tar.gz

Give that one a try and see how you fair.

Good Luck!

Cool
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:05 AM   #3
Simon Bridge
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That's what you get for using kanotix (ducks)

Why is Linux in general very complicated in software installation?
Updates in windows take ages on a dialup connection too - and they don't always "take" either. Issues with linux are both easier and harder due to the modular nature of the system. In windows, if you update windows, you can easily break already installed third party software. A bummer if this is your firewall or virus scanner. (In general, windows takes less time than linux for a complete update because windows is smaller and more monolythic.)

In linux, one update breaking is less likely to break the entire installation (which can happen in windows) but the huge variation in installed packages and hardware constellations means that you will sometimes get circular dependancies and long waits for updates.

The simplest way to get ffox running for you will be to get it from mozilla and run the install script.

After that, make sure you stay up to date via apt.

I feel for you because I too have a dialup with no prospect of using broadband. An update for my entire system via yum update will take days.

Why is there no executable that installs or upgrades everything all in one go?
There is. For debian-based distros it is called apt and for RedHat based distros it is called yum. With these, there is a simple gui or a one-line CLI command, and the program does all the rest.

Compare with an update from MSN - you have to go to their website, wait while they probe you, then view the stuff they think you should change. select packages - some of them have to be downloaded individually because you have to reboot or even power down after installation - and then the install happens. Even then, third party software dosn't upgrade - you have to do that separately from the owners web site: sometimes this means you have to buy the latest version. I have not heard of windows having a single executable to update everything installed - even third party software?

And why is there no easy way to uninstall previous versions?
There is. apt-get and yum both have "remove" options which will remove a package and everything that depends on it.

Why do I have to update 56 packages just to install firestarter?
This will be the very latest version of course. Some developers will code support for "legacy" systems and some won't. So "firestarter", from the repo, clearly requires up-to-date versions of all it's dependancies.

MS has had a strong commitment to supporting legacy systems... this policy is causing trouble and is in the process of being revised. At some point, developers will say: "to hell with legacy support". And quite right too. Each will draw the line in a different place.

One alternative is to look for a .deb file for an earlier version of the software you want. This is harder ... rpmfind are good for this, and they will tell you what the dependancies are so you can install those first.

For most software there are only 3-6 dependancies this way. Unles your system is well out of date. (Though you realise you are out of date 6-12 months after installing?)

Personally, I keep my kenel, gcc and libs up to date as much as I can and update individual packages as time allows. By the time FC6 comes along, I expect to be having issues and I'll just download the iso and install a completely new system. If I had broadband, tho, I'd run yum as a cron job

Note though: I remember in windows, how I ended up with five or six copies of the same utilities ... this was because the windows applications came bundles with their dependancies so they would be garanteed to run.

In linux - you get only one copy of each. While this is more efficient, it requires this "dance of the dependancies" every time you want to install the latest and greatest.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:13 AM   #4
bongski55
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Quote:
Also the reason some vendors offer "extras" CD's that can be purchased from various websites around the net.
Making things difficult for the user to install a software is NOT a good way to sell products.

Quote:
also a good thing from a user standpoint (don't have 15 versions of thousands of libraries floating around in their own proprietary directory hogging more space on your hard drive).
With the current cost of large hard drives nowadays,space is no longer an issue.I still do not get the reason for not having an al-in-one software package-say a folder holding everything and distribute it as a zip archive.Easy to install and delete.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:19 AM   #5
bongski55
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Quote:
That's what you get for using kanotix (ducks)
Its the only single cd distro that works on my laptop.I don't want to test a multiple cd distro only to learn that it won't work on my laptop.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:26 AM   #6
MasterC
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Quote:
Originally posted by bongski55
Making things difficult for the user to install a software is NOT a good way to sell products.
Make no mistake. The freely available distros CD's that are re-distributed by a vendor are rarely given back money. Sometimes the site will donate more to a distro that many people are buying the free CD's from, but the point is that it's another source for their source (huh huh, 2 meanings of the same word side by side, English a great language).

Quote:
With the current cost of large hard drives nowadays,space is no longer an issue.I still do not get the reason for not having an al-in-one software package-say a folder holding everything and distribute it as a zip archive.Easy to install and delete.
The same idea can be construed to say "With current costs of decent internet access, why bother making CD's, everyone's got high speed, just let them download it all".

Regardless, it's a lot cleaner, a lot easier to maintain and troubleshoot, and a lot easier to write applications for, a shared library system. Plus, it actually makes your downloads smaller (of individual packages), for those of us that haven't decided to pipe a T3 connection to our homes.

Cool
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:53 AM   #7
Simon Bridge
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Me: That's what you get for using kanotix (ducks)

Bongski55: Its the only single cd distro that works on my laptop.I don't want to test a multiple cd distro only to learn that it won't work on my laptop.

Really? Which laptop is this?
I've not known a laptop I couldn't get working. Did you try Ubuntu or Knoppix - both with excellent HW detection and support.

However - most distros have "gotchas" with one or another laptop.

I have found that, sometimes, an internet cafe will let you plug into their network to gain access to their broadband. You have to ask nicely though. (Sometimes they are set for this my offering wireless services.)

I know a load of people who update their systems at work.

If you locate a LUG close to you, you can benifit from the linux community effect. (These groups often have "install-fests" to help newcomers get their nixes installed right.)

However - only linux has a single executable to download and install programs. With a slow connection, it will always take a long time and with an old system it will always be a pain. No matter what you are running.

basically - if you want an emphasis on static binaries, you have the wrong Operating System. The modular nature you fume so about is built-in to the whole ethos of the thing.

You think it is a bad thing - linux developers think it is a good thing. Tough. The only way out is to become a developer yourself

As for selling software...
1. Linux is not short of "buyers", thanks.
2. Most software for other platforms comes on CD, which you pay money for, so why object to linux apps on free CD? In fact - my camera (for one of many examples) comes with a CD to get it to work in windows, but works under fedora out of the box with nothing extra.

I don't really relate to the kinds of things you say are hard.

You are not receiving e-mails.
If you want to keep takling to me, feel free to email me
 
Old 09-25-2005, 02:22 AM   #8
bongski55
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Original Poster
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masterc:
Quote:
"With current costs of decent internet access, why bother making CD's, everyone's got high speed, just let them download it all".
Not in my area of Asia where a simple dialup still would cost me.High speed internet cost is prohibitive!

Simon Bridge:
Quote:
If you locate a LUG close to you, you can benifit from the linux community effect.
There is no LUG in this country.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 10:05 AM   #9
craigevil
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Kanotix works just fine , especially if you choose the "Debian" option when installing. It gives you a Debian unstable/Sid system. I have ran it for almost a year now with no problems.

Debian Package Management Quick-Start Guide

Debian Tutorial - Removing and installing software

APT HOWTO

Using Debian Linux Software Packages and APT dselect and dpkg Package Utilities

HOWTO - Install Software [README]

Using APT/Synaptic is the simple way of installing apps in Debian. The latest version of Firefox 1.0.6-5 is tied to a bunch of libraries (libpango) that have bugs. If you really want they latest install the version from Mozilla or just wait a few days.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 12:27 PM   #10
jon_k
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Quote:
Originally posted by bongski55
Making things difficult for the user to install a software is NOT a good way to sell products.
I've been there man, every 6 months Windows would crash, or the TCP/IP stack would mess up and ipconfig/release would say "Hardware error" -- yeah... it got me to stop buying their products alright.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 01:25 PM   #11
dudeman41465
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The reason that Linux is so much more difficult to install software on than Windows is in my opinion security. Think about it, you have to know what you're doing with Linux to install most software on Linux. But on Windows you can download anything and run it with no questions asked, regardless of whether or not it has a virus or not. If you want to install something on Linux though you have to use the konsole and logon using root permissions, then give the file you want to execute read/write permissions. (chmod a+x filename here) and then you can execute the file. Because of this you actually have time to think about what you are doing. In Windows you can execute a malicious program without realizing it. In Linux you have to "try" to give yourself a virus or execute a malicious program.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 02:16 PM   #12
time112852
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It's more difficult because you're compiling raw source code..windows you're just installing binary files with an installer that tells the files where to go. Linux is more for the computer programmer who can edit the software and update it dynamically and then install the software. It may not be user friendly, but it's great for computer experts who know what they are doing. Linux offers more possiblities than windows by far.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 06:23 PM   #13
ironwalker
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Kanotix has firefox installed by default.
One thing you need to remember is depending on what version of kanotix you installed,will determine how big your initial upgrades will be.
Kanotix is based on unstable and has testing uncommented in apt-source.list file to have fallback apps if one in unstable doesnt work.Also the good thing about kanotix is Kano is quick on updates especially for security bugs like firefox has gotten in the past.Kano will push an updated version of FF before debian does...when debian does update FF it takes over.

Make sure you check apt/source.list file and comment out what your dont want.If you want debian testing(etch) than comment out all unstable entries and uncomment all testing(etch) entries.I use unstable and no testing whatso ever.

Run an apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade
The latest version 2005-3-kanotix will have a bit of upgrades initially and that includes the transition of kde and xorg.
The newest version 2005-4 should be out after the gcc4.0 kde transition is finished...estimated 6 days.

You should have no problem running unstable and dist-upgrade if you know what your doing.Never answer anything other than[N] when it asks which version of config files you would like to keep during an upgrade unless you know for sure whats going to happen.I always answer [N] and never had problems doing dist-upgrades with all unstable sources.As for dependancy issues,there usually sorted out in a day or two.I do daily dist-upgrades with no problems.Kano is usually good with what pakages to set on hold and does so automatically.

I would use aptitude and set it up correctly and always use it...it just handles dependancies and issues related better than apt-get.Once you u7se aptitude you must stick with it or it will reinstall any apps you removed with apt-get or synaptic.It also logs better.Just make sure you set it up in options to not remove unused programs and not to auto install reccommended pakages but to list them.Also set up dependancy properly.

There are 2 great discussions in the Debian forum on aptitude.

Kanotix is basically a true debian system,only kano adds lots of scripts for the newb to better handle installing,probeing,finding,hardware.His scripts for alsa and samba and apacvhe are great as well as video card install scripts for nvidia and ati.Theres too much to list.He upgrades kernel quite a bit with proper patches and what not and it uses basic debian-vanilla sources.

Dont let anyone tell you kanotix sucks....or it isnt pure debian.Theres only one source entry not debian and its for kanotix tweaked apps and his scripts.

Also you should have no problem installing software as debian repositories has just about everything you need includeing dev versions.Unless its not in debian repositories you would need the .debs off a site where the app is or if no .deb version buil;d from source.Usually the failed install tells you which lib files or dependancy files are needed and there most likely included in the debian repositories thus a simple aptitude install is all you need before installing the app.


Good luck and #kanotix on irc freenode servers is great active and helpful as well as kanotix forums and the debian forum here at LQ.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 10:51 PM   #14
Electro
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Gentoo handles all the headaches that packaged based distributions have. Also the time consuming and confusing installing documentation that comes with the source code is done in the background by Gentoo's utility named emerge. Gentoo does all the hard work for you. It downloads the source, decompresses the source, runs configure, compiles it, and installs it. I highly recommend using Gentoo if you do not want to ever install Linux again and mess around with program dependency hail. Gentoo is a one disc installer instead of other distributions that needs three or more discs.
 
Old 09-25-2005, 11:08 PM   #15
aysiu
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Quote:
Originally posted by Electro
Gentoo is a one disc installer instead of other distributions that needs three or more discs.
Emerge is probably a wonderful thing for people who don't want dependency issues, but many of the popular distros out there are one CD distros (Ubuntu, Mepis, Xandros, Linspire, PCLinuxOS--to name a few).
 
  


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