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Old 05-10-2004, 12:26 PM   #1
ZephyrXero
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Unhappy Installers?


Ok, here's a stupid question:
How come hardly any linux software uses installers??? I'm of course a newb with linux, and I guess I have the whole winblows mindset stuck in me, but it just makes everything so much easier and faster. I haven't had much luck getting binaries to work right, and I have no idea how to install from source (although it sounds like a really good idea). I've heard redhat has rpms and such, but i'm using slackware.
All of my linux friends tend to act like I'm stupid for wanting to use installers and that "a true linux user" wouldn't need one, blah blah blah... So I guess I'm just asking, what makes installers so inferior? ...and also, why couldn't an installer be designed that would use source instead of binaries even?

thanks for your time...
 
Old 05-10-2004, 12:34 PM   #2
marghorp
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Just install from source. It's as easy as cake Just untar bunzip (or some other comppression method) the file you download. cd to the directory it created. Read file README (emacs README) or INSTALL (emacs INSTALL) and that should give you all the info you need. Usually installing from source is made in three easy commands. ./configure ; make; make install; (make clean = optional).

This way you get files installed and all works great. (Almost all the times. If not ask a question on LQ forums.)

Making an installer for Linux is like Making a cookie everyone will like. It can't (it is hard) be done. With so many distributions, it is hard to cover all the distros with installers, because you should make rpm for RH, some other for Debian, some other for MDK, and something else for Slack...... it just keeps going on and on. Giving you the source is the best thing. Install everywhere in a couple of easy steps. Gets you to be friend with command line and terminal.

Peace!
 
Old 05-10-2004, 12:37 PM   #3
franzfranz
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Installers like suse's yast in my experience only slow you down. They take forever to get started and in the end they don't do anything that you couldn't have done yourself, especially when using something like slackware. Why would you ever need or want an installer when all you have to do is get a package you want installed, and type installpkg <name>. It's way faster and it only does what you tell it to. Upgrading things like kde has never been easier. Just save all the packages in one directory and type upgradepkg directory/*.tgz and bam! you're done. If you want dependencies checked, just use something like swaret to do it for you.
As for source, well it's just so much fun and not a difficult thing to do at all. It takes abou 20 seconds at most on a fast computer to install from source, why pay the overhead of starting an installer?

**edit**
typos

Last edited by franzfranz; 05-10-2004 at 12:39 PM.
 
Old 05-10-2004, 12:40 PM   #4
darkRoom
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Slackware uses .tgz packages in place of rpms. It's as near an installer as you will get except that you can't click on them to execute, if you want to do that then switch to red hat.

Use pkgtool to see a list of all your packages. When you download a .tgz package install it with:

installpkg myPackage.tgz

check the man pages for other things you can do with packages. Using the .tgz packages is as near as you get to a installer. A windows installer offers nothing additional, in fact check the many options you have when using installpkg. Most people like the versatality of this approach.

With time you will see that installing from source is no big deal either.

Happy learning with slack
 
Old 05-10-2004, 04:55 PM   #5
btmiller
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The GNU autoconf and automake utilities essentially are source installers (they autogenerate the Makefile appropriate for your system for you, although you still have to run make yourself). Also, VMWare has an install script that builds things from source if necessary.

As darkRoom mentioned, Slackware does distribute binaries in the form of .tgz files, and there's a tool called Swaret that will help you manage dependencies and the like.

I think that one of the reasons though that there are few binariy installers a la the wizards for Windows is that the Linux world is not anywhere near as monolithic as the Windows world. People are running many different versions of the kernel, the C library, and various other pieces of systems software. With Windows, you only have a few versions that you have to worry about, while with Linux there are many combinations. That's why distros package binaries that they know work with their distro, but there are very few grand unified installers. It may also be that Linux just hasn't quite reached the maturity level on the desktop yet where demand for such things has risen enough to inspire developers to actually write an installer (though that may be changing, several packages from Sun like OO.o and the j2sdk have Windows-ish installers).
 
Old 05-11-2004, 11:39 AM   #6
ZephyrXero
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Well, first off, I think a source installer would be good, doesn't even have to be GUI but would be a plus. I have not had much luck at all installing things in Linux so far. I'm trying to install aMule right now, and when I "make" it, it gives me an error that it does not know where wxWindows is or something..... I consider myself an intermediate level computer guy, and I still have no idea what to do here..... if linux is ever going to be a desktop os, they're going to have to make some improvements to its user-friendliness.

Last edited by ZephyrXero; 05-11-2004 at 11:40 AM.
 
Old 05-11-2004, 12:00 PM   #7
franzfranz
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wxWindows is a widget for Qt i think. What version of qt are you running? Maybe you should try reinstalling it
 
Old 05-11-2004, 12:25 PM   #8
qwijibow
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Installers are all very well and good.... but what happens when you are missing a library the installer needs.....

or what happens if you dont have a GUI.. what happens if you want to install somthing in a command line only server.. and the installer wouldt run because.. "error, there's no grpahical user interface to show u pretty pictures with"

Ahaaaa i hear you say.... then why not use a text based command line installer ???
an installer that installs binary's and is purely text based, with minimal dependency's.. ohh wait... it already exists, and its called 'RPM'.... or 'tar -xjf' or './configure && make && make install'
 
Old 05-11-2004, 01:13 PM   #9
Mega Man X
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For a good understanding of how to install programs in Linux, be it source or rpm, take a look here:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...threadid=45094

Some distributions, as Mandrake, are as easy as Windows to install applications. Just download the Mandrake rpm, double click on it and there you go. If a dependency problem is found, you will be asked for your Mandrake CD's or it will download the packages for you through urpmi.

A generic install will never happen though, for the reasons cited above regarding the huge amount of different Linux distributions around. One thing that I see very positive for Linux in the future is Sun's Java. Java has proved very portable and should run on any Linux distribution as well. If you download an applications such as Limewire which was writen in Java, you will see that both installer and execution are pretty similar to any Windows application. There's a clear lost of speed with Java applications, but I think it may become one of the most important tool for Linux in the future through his journey to the "user-friendly" ages....
 
Old 05-11-2004, 01:24 PM   #10
sterrenkijker
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Debian has something like an installer: you can install a package, debian will find the dependencies. You can use it with a nice gui interface or from the command line. All installations with .deb packages are standardized. I love it
 
Old 05-11-2004, 02:09 PM   #11
cowboy45
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Re: Installers?

Quote:
Originally posted by ZephyrXero
Ok, here's a stupid question:
How come hardly any linux software uses installers??? I'm of course a newb with linux, and I guess I have the whole winblows mindset stuck in me, but it just makes everything so much easier and faster. I haven't had much luck getting binaries to work right, and I have no idea how to install from source (although it sounds like a really good idea). I've heard redhat has rpms and such, but i'm using slackware.
All of my linux friends tend to act like I'm stupid for wanting to use installers and that "a true linux user" wouldn't need one, blah blah blah... So I guess I'm just asking, what makes installers so inferior? ...and also, why couldn't an installer be designed that would use source instead of binaries even?

thanks for your time...
Its not really a stupid question...

The RPM system is ok to, I prefer to install from source though. Most of the time that is done through a quick console command, nothing fancy or overly cryptic. Installing anything on any distro of Linux at first is intimidating, and then having it not work is even worse.

Slackware isnt exactly the most newbie friendly distrobution either. If you would like to have a bit of that Windows Xp user friendliness, try Mandrake. Most popular bits of software can be obtained in RPM for Mandrake or Red Hat.
 
Old 05-11-2004, 03:25 PM   #12
adflynn
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SUSEs YAST is a great installer that can really help users who are new and itimidated by installing from source
 
Old 05-14-2004, 07:04 PM   #13
ZephyrXero
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
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I don't even know what QT is so, I can't really tell you what version, if any I have....

And as far as the installer question is still going. I just figured that since Linux is a superior o/s it would have superior installations (effective and easy). To refine my question thought, I'm not saying to replace the standard command line stuff, just give a second option for gui. And along with that why couldn't you have a qui installer that makes from source? Also, I would think that the installation would come with any libraries and whatnot it needs in case you don't have them. That would make the most sense to me....
 
Old 05-14-2004, 10:13 PM   #14
Mega Man X
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It cannot not be done. First, it would make the download of small applications too big. Just take nvidia drivers example. To install nvidia drivers you need to have kernel source (it's over 100 mega I think) and gcc (not that small either). And sure, to do not say that Mandrake uses one custom kernel, Redhat another one... and there are over 100 different distributions out there with custom kernels.

Another thing, some libraries, free and in free beer, are only free when dinamicaly linked. Some libraries cannot be distributed with applications, so packing them would not be possible.

As I said before, some distributions as Mandrake makes life easier enough for you never (or almost) need to use the command line. If you use, say, Gnome/Nautilus, simply download the Mandrake rpm, double click on it and install it... just like that.

A last thought as well. It's pointless to have a gui for source. When installing from source you have to, sometimes, edit the Makefile or pass special arguments to "./configure" as in the case of mplayer, to enable gui or joystick. You may also need to specify the PATH for some libraries during ./configure. Doing an installer for each and every application in source format available out there is very time consuming for the developer. Also, some distributions uses different paths, so it should be one installer for Redhat, one for Mandy, etc... So this could not be done either...

Some Linux distributions are already easy enough to use as Redhat and Mandrake. It cannot be changed the way it is because Linux is an OS composed of a lot, and I mean it, a LOT of small parts (libraries, whatever) being updated but different peoples from different parts of the world.

It's either learn and love it or leave it and hate it...

Last edited by Mega Man X; 05-14-2004 at 10:17 PM.
 
Old 05-15-2004, 12:01 AM   #15
ZephyrXero
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 21

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Well, looks like I've got a lot of learning to do
I'm tired of windows, and I'm really starting to get into all the open source stuff
 
  


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