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Old 08-18-2009, 03:09 PM   #1
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Various Methods of Installing Software.

Just a general question here but what are the benefits of there being so many different ways to install software in Linux.

It's actually kinda confusing to me. Sorry if I'm asking a "noob" type question but... I'm a noob.

The easiest way for me to install software is using Synaptic. But if it's not in Synaptic or the version in the repository is old then I'm on the hunt for it either on the makers website or on the web.

The next easiest way would be to hopefully find a .deb package. If no .deb package exist then...

...I'm looking for some way to find repositories to add to Synaptic so that I can download the software. But I'm also suppose to get a "key" for the new repositories for some reason - security I guess... wouldn't MD5 checksum do the same thing?
And then there's different types of repositories (e.g subversive).

The next way I install software... that is if I'm unlucky enough to find only this type of package available for download is something called "tar.bz2." I finally figured out how to "unzip" this kind of file but when I do... what do I do with it next?!

And I'm not going to even go into source code, compiling or something I recently came across that talked about how to turn rpm's into something that Deb can run.

It seems like it would easier if everything was streamlined for download in either a repository or in a .deb (or .rpm or whatever).

In comparison, everything for the typical Windows user is usually in an .exe or with mac a .dmg

I'm just wonder what the benefits are with these various methods. I'm sure some of it has to do with the history of Linux or that it's based on Unix.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Old 08-18-2009, 03:28 PM   #2
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thats exactly the opposite to what i usually do. i usually look for the source code, because:

1. i want to use free software (GPL &c.)
2. i can compile the software myself resulting in far better performance.
3. independence from packet formats/desktop environments/distribution
3. i hate packet managers (dependency frenzy)

compiling from source is really easy, fast and generally gives good results. you don't have to be a l33t haX0r (a.k.a. power user or loser or whatever) to compile source code.

in essence:
Q: what's the benefit of compiling from source?

Old 08-18-2009, 03:49 PM   #3
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In comparison, everything for the typical Windows user is usually in an .exe or with mac a .dmg

I'm just wonder what the benefits are with these various methods. I'm sure some of it has to do with the history of Linux or that it's based on Unix.
Exactly, it's evolutionary. Traditionally, *nix systems have their software built/installed from source. The source can be archived in a tar and compressed, ie. bz2, gz. Package managers for different distros are ways in which those distros have tried to make that job less necessary or easier. rpms and debs are not executable programs like "exes" in Windows, they're closer to "msi" installer programs.

Both Windows and MacOS are the products of single companies, hence the apparently more unitary approach. But it isn't all exes with Windows. There are the installer msi and dll's one has to download manually occasionally.

Benefits? As the previous poster mentioned, it gives you more freedom.

Hope that clears things up without actually being informative.
Old 08-18-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
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Thanks ::: and mostlyharmless. I never looked at this issue from a "freedom" point of view before now. I just saw it from an ease-of-use perspective.

I knew there had to be some benefits of compiling a program. But it is involved and takes time & know how.


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