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Linspire's CNR Goes Multi-Distro

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the embrace-and-extend dept.

Linux Business 171

S3Indiana writes with news that Linspire is opening its Click 'N Run installation software to other Linux distributions. After 5 years of development on CNR, the new site cnr.com will be a single source repository for Linux users. Distributions to be supported initially during 2007 are (alphabetically): Debian, Fedora, Freespire, Linspire, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu; other distributions will follow. See the FAQ and the screenshots for more details.

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171 comments

Linux is a failure (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728406)

was, is, and always will be.

It just sucks a whole lot.

Re:Linux is a failure (2, Insightful)

jsheedy (772604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728698)

That is being marked insightful.. How is this so? Where are the facts, how is he proving his claim? "It just sucks a whole lot" that is nothing more than an empty comment.

Re:Linux is a failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728888)

It's insightful, but not informative. Like a one-line proverb that provokes deep thoughts.

Re:Linux is a failure (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728898)

Sure looks to me like you too suck a whole lot.

Now if only they could.. (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728426)

Now if only they could create a similar system for some variants of the BSD operating system, I would be in heaven =)

--
WiFizzle Software Research [wi-fizzle.com]

.Hierarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728558)

Now if only they could create a similar system for some variants of the BSD operating system, I would be in heaven =)

I thought you BSD users were smarter than the Linux users?

Isn't the intelligence hierarchy:

1. BSD

2. Linux

3.OS/2

4.Windows

5.OS/X

????

Re:.Hierarchy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728758)

....
99. WinMe

Re:.Hierarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729510)

0. Blank screen, computer off .....

Re:Now if only they could.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728566)

It is not impossible.

Repositories? (1)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728428)

Don't those distro's already have their own repository systems?

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

Re:Repositories? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728496)

Nothing. And probably nothing I can't do with yum either. But I doubt it is aimed at the demographic of Linux users within which we fall. I'm not against paying for software however.

Re:Repositories? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728550)

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

If only there were some sort of "linked article" that explained that!

Re:Repositories? (1, Informative)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728634)

Linked article? I thought this was slashdot? Who reads articles here?

Besides, if I read the article I would have no chance of attaining that most vaunted /. status symbol, the fristy posty.

Unfortunately I did fail at that, oh well.

Re:Repositories? (2, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730470)

Obligatory...

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

If only there were some sort of "linked article" that explained that!
You must be new here.

Not what it is, what it isn't. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728556)

The advantage of CNR over apt-get is that it's not apt-get.

In all seriousness, that's pretty much the crux of it. From TFA:
One of the biggest complaints I hear from MS Windows and Mac users about Linux, is that there are too many distributions, each with their own installation system. Desktop Linux isn't like MS Windows or Mac, where you can simply go hunting on the Internet (or at your local computer store), find a piece of interesting software, and quickly install it. With desktop Linux, you must first find the program, if it's even supported to begin with, then hope they've provided the right files and installation process for "your" particular Linux distribution. (.deb files, .rpm files, .tar.gz files etc.) It's all far too complicated for the average person, and it's no wonder they shy away from Linux. ... When we started Linspire, we knew that we'd need to overcome this complexity. This led to Linspire's CNR ("Click 'N Run") technology. CNR does dozens of things to make finding, installing and managing software on your desktop computer extremely easy. CNR makes finding the right piece of software easy with user reviews, charts, screenshots, descriptions, friendly names, and so on. Once you've found what you're looking for, with literally one click, the software is installed to your computer and icons added to your desktop and Launch Menu. CNR then notifies you when updates are available, which you can then install with one click."
Basically, their problem with apt-get is that the tools are harder to use, and that it's distro specific. Their aim, if I'm understanding it right, is to offer one tool that would be the same across distributions, offer the same software to each, and be extremely easy to use. In short, rather than each distro having its own package management system, they could all use CNR and appear the same to the casual user.

If you use apt-get, you probably aren't going to be interested in CNR, or really anything that Linspire is doing, frankly. But I think there are a lot of people not using Linux right now, and who are confused by the differences between distributions (not to mention the very concept of distributions in general) who would probably be receptive to the idea of a standard packaging/installation system that was distribution-agnostic.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (5, Insightful)

zurtle (785688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729154)

Hear, hear!

I would consider myself an above-average user, but when I go to install something that's outside the scope of my repositories and get shot down by the dependency failures... that's when I get a little peeved.

If Linux standardised, I'd be sure to recommend it to my friends and family. Even the dumbest "For Dummies" distros aren't simple enough for Joe Bloggers to use.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (4, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729304)

Anything that "deflavorizes" Linux is a good thing for those who want to see a Linux desktop become standard. Right now there are simply too many different ways to install software depending on what flavor of the OS you happen to be using. The big thing that keeps the Windows monopoly chugging merrily along is the fact that when software is "Compatible with Windows 2000/XP", the consumer knows that they are getting a program that will work with their OS. Linux really needs to offer that same functionality if the OS is ever going to be considered by OEMs. An OS is worthless without applications.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (2, Insightful)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729700)

when I go to install something that's outside the scope of my repositories and get shot down by the dependency failures... that's when I get a little peeved.

Ditto. This is IMO one of the biggest weakness of Linux, and conversely Mac OS X's single-file .app format is one of its biggest advantages. It's odd and annoying that the "open" system only works well if you stick with centralized repositories, while the "closed" system is just fine running lots of third-party apps from multiple sources.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729382)

If you use apt-get, you probably aren't going to be interested in CNR, or really anything that Linspire is doing, frankly. But I think there are a lot of people not using Linux right now, and who are confused by the differences between distributions (not to mention the very concept of distributions in general) who would probably be receptive to the idea of a standard packaging/installation system that was distribution-agnostic


So I guess that wouldn't be compatible with Christbuntu: http://www.whatwouldjesusdownload.com/christianubu ntu/2006/07/about-ubuntu-christian-edition.html [whatwouldj...wnload.com]

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729746)

actually, if you went to the cnr website, and looked through the screenshots, they have a "compatability" section. This is even less about having the same software, and more about having one place where you can download and install free software, as well as buy, download and install non-free software.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (4, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729872)

As you quoted from the article:

Desktop Linux isn't like MS Windows or Mac, where you can simply go hunting on the Internet (or at your local computer store), find a piece of interesting software, and quickly install it. With desktop Linux, you must first find the program, if it's even supported to begin with, then hope they've provided the right files and installation process for "your" particular Linux distribution. (.deb files, .rpm files, .tar.gz files etc.) It's all far too complicated for the average person, and it's no wonder they shy away from Linux.

I hear this argument a lot, and if it's a concern then I guess it makes sense to try and address it, whether it's by trying to improve what's offered, or by trying to educate people about alternative ways to do things. I don't really understand it, though, and to be honest, the huge amount of packages that actually are in a distribution archive (esp. Debian, which I use), is one of the big reasons I prefer to use open source instead of closed source. (I'm sure there's a certain amount of me just being used to it, too.)

I think people often look at things the wrong way when trying to compare Windows with Linux distros, because they work fundamentally differently. The reason there are different installer types is that they're different systems, and the installers and packages are made to match the system. (Granted this doesn't mean it couldn't be improved and made more compatible.) Windows shouldn't be compared with Linux, it should be compared with RedHat, or Ubuntu, or Gentoo, or whatever, because the distributions are what operate at the same level as Windows. The fact that they use similar or identical apps and are often compatible with each other just makes Windows stand out because it doesn't.

I don't see the issues as being as much between Linux and Windows as being between Open Source and Closed Source, because the distribution model is what makes the difference.

Microsoft strongly encourages third parties to release closed source apps, as they do themselves. As a result, Microsoft doesn't have a lot of control over the app or how it interacts with the OS. Microsoft isn't legally allowed to tinker with third party apps and throw them into a big Windows software repository. There are some weak conventions about how applications should interact with the system, but it all comes down to whether the vendor actually implements these and does it correctly. (eg. Install in the Program Files folder, use a particular structure in the registry to store settings, and so on.) Some apps follow the conventions properly, and some don't. It's entirely up to the vendor. If I download and install a typical third party app for Windows, it's not unusual that it might be unstable, fail to take advantage of and integrate nicely with other apps I have on the system, and so on. It's very unlikely that a Windows installer will go and download dependencies for me -- chances are it'll package them inefficiently and often unnecessarily, or it'll tell me to go and find them manually. And if I try to uninstall it, I'm usually relying entirely on the independent vendor's uninstall scripts to properly remove itself. I don't know about other people, but personally I've found that they often leave a lot of residue lying around. (Old folders and files, registry entries, broken links and icons, obsolete dll's, etc.)

OSS distribution maintainers, on the other hand, have every right to tinker with the software before they put it in their repository. I know that if I apt-get install something from Debian, it's likely to work with whatever else I have, because Debian's package maintenance team has made sure that the package strictly adheres to all of Debian's policies. I'm not just getting the app, I'm getting a guarantee that it's been tuned to work nicely on my system. Of course, if I don't want that, I can still download the app independently, compile and install it in whichever way I like. I could even roll my own Debian package for myself or my organisation to do things the way I wanted, and still be constrained within the package management system, if I was so concerned.

I suppose the times when this wouldn't work well are the times when it's necessary to use closed source apps, because those are exactly the apps that are unlikely to be in a distro repository. Perhaps that is where CNR will be useful if it can help with obtaining and installing closed source apps, as long as it doesn't break the other installation managers out there.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730350)

MSIs, which more and more things rely on now that it's in pretty much every system out there, looks after dependencies for you. Take a look here [microsoft.com] for the quick-start guide.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (2, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731088)

Thanks for the link. I've tried to make MSI's from time to time, although only simple ones, and I'm still figuring it out. The main point I was trying to make, though, was that installers for most Windows apps come directly from a third party vendor. There's a lot of depending on third parties to get the installation scripts right, even though there might be conflicting commercial interests, or just general laziness to provide a good (un)installer.

I've had problems using MSI's in the past. I think it's mostly because the vendor's screwed up, maybe intentially on some occasions. That aside, there also doesn't seem to have been anything built into the package manager to protect the system when a vendor screws up. In Windows' case when it's necessary to rely on packages from third parties, I'd love to have a package manager that can reliably roll back broken packages, as well as whatever changes the application in the package might have made when it was in use, without relying on a rollback script that came with the package. If Microsoft's able to make MSI's more reliable in the future, then that's great and it'll make my life at work quite a lot easier.

Re:Not what it is, what it isn't. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730278)

Basically, their problem with apt-get is that the tools are harder to use, and that it's distro specific.

<devil's advocate>So... they're offering a fancier graphical front-end "with user reviews, charts, screenshots, descriptions, friendly names, and so on." and the other reason is no argument for CNR, it's just saying "it would be nice if they all used the same" but that argument works just as well if "same" is apt-get, klik or any other system. Does it solve any of the hard problems well, like conflicting dependencies on libraries, circular dependencies (that is, several packages must be upgraded together or not at all like a transaction), packages from other sources? Or is it just another "let's pack all into one package" installer system like Windows, which tends to work piss-poor on Linux? Besides, they seem to easily ignore that most apps are installed with "apt-get install [name]" or similar one-click in a graphical package manager. I understand that they're out to make money but they're making a mountain out of a molehill. Basicly what you're paying for is the hold-my-hand frontend and the privilidge of paying for commercial apps. Their other promise requires debian to give up apt-get, red hat to give rpms and so on - when hell drops below absolute zero.</devil's advocate>

Re:Repositories? (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728594)

For you, probably nothing. For noobs that like to see a pretty "web-2.0" interface to everything they do with a computer, it's "OMG, just what Linux needs to succeed on the desktop!".

Actually, joking aside, I think they offer some things, like "legal" DVD playing software (for money) that you can't get on the usual repositories. For someone who is familiar with apt-get/synaptic and has no problem with libdcss, or liblame, I don't think CNR has anything to offer.

Re:Repositories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728892)

I think it's time to pimp the debian repositories' web interface!

Re:Repositories? (2, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728612)

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?
Not make your mom's head explode when you show her Linux? At least it sounds like their goal is to make Linux more user-friendly. Also, it means that if a commercial software developer wants to make a program for Linux, they can just dump it to CNR instead of making a .deb, a .rpm, a .tar.gz, etc, and hope Linux users show up to their website.

Re:Repositories? (2, Funny)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728678)

Not make your mom's head explode when you show her Linux? At least it sounds like their goal is to make Linux more user-friendly. Also, it means that if a commercial software developer wants to make a program for Linux, they can just dump it to CNR instead of making a .deb, a .rpm, a .tar.gz, etc, and hope Linux users show up to their website.


Exactly. This could be huge for lowering the barrier for installing programs (both on a technical level, and across flavors). A few more announcements along these lines, and we *might* just have a "year of Linux on the Desktop" yet :)

Re:Repositories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729174)

Some distros have addressed this aspect at least (e.g., the Software Updater (pup), or Yum Extender (yumex) on Fedora).

Re:Repositories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728616)

CNR has legal DVD watching software.

I run Linux, and I think I *should* be able to watch my own DVDs on whatever I want.

However, I try to be a law-abiding citizen. Even though I disagree with the law, I will buy a legal DVD player now that it's available.

If you aren't in a place with lame DMCA laws, then CNR will probably do nothing for you that you couldn't do yourself.

Re:Repositories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729362)

"I will buy a legal DVD player now that it's available."

Sweet. Now you will get to enjoy user prohibition operation flags that won't let you control your hardware. Enjoy the movie trailers!

Re:Repositories? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728672)

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

What does CnR do that YOU can't do with apt-get? Probably nothing, but you are asking the wrong question. The correct question is:

What does CnR do that my grandmother can't do with apt-get?

I used Linspire back when it was called Lindows. CnR was by far the easiest installation system I had used to that point and is still the easiest software management system that I've used to date. Not that apt-get (with synaptics), rpm (with yum), and even emerge (with Kuroo or Porthole) are difficult, but they can hose your system when you really didn't do anything wrong. CnR, while it did not install everything perfectly every time, never broke my system, even when trying to do something major like a system upgrade. Granted, I haven't used it in years, (using Gentoo now) but I can't see that it could have gotten worse or harder to use. Things like this tend to get better over time.

Note: Click-n-Run is based on apt-get.

Proprietary multimedia codecs (5, Informative)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728682)

Here's what ESR has to say about it (http://catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/wo rld-domination-201.html [catb.org]):

Can Linspire save us? In late July 2006, one of us (Raymond) went public on a panel at at OSCON 2006 with the argument of the previous section. Just minutes later, he was contacted by Kevin Carmony, the CEO of Linux distributor Linspire. Mr. Carmony expressed stong support for our conclusions and a direct interest in addressing the problem. Linspire, as it turns out, is in a unique position. They are the only company with the legal right to ship Linux ports of Windows Media Format codecs, including QuickTime capability. They extracted this concession as part of the settlement of their successful trademark lawsuit against Microsoft. In August 2006, as a result of having shown a draft of this paper to Kevin Carmony, we were directly involved in the planning for a Linspire product with all the characteristics we have been describing. Linspire wants to be "Streaming Penguin" in the hopeful scenario we described above. They even adopted our proposed name for the product: the Codex. As a result, Eric Raymond joined the Freespire Advisery Board. Freespire is the community development project associated with the Linspire system; its relationship with Linspire is analogous to that between the Fedora project and Red Hat. Linspire may in fact be able to solve our multimedia problem. They deserve the community's support and encouragement for trying.
That alone would be a huge step forward. And according to the CNR site, they ARE going to provide them.

Re:Repositories? (1)

S3Indiana (642793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728696)

Realistically this will use the same repositories, but with more content about the package (users can add content to the package - a la Wikipedia). When have you searched for a package but the results don't tell the entire story. As posted, with the added benefit of providing access to commercial applications that aren't available via current repositories and providing developers an avenue to publish applications direct to the end-user (publishers decide the terms). What other system has a one-stop shopping for all applications???

Re:Repositories? (2, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728800)

Yes. Each ditro has its own repositories with their own way of doing things. This isn't so bad for a technical user, but once you loose a bit of technical expertise your user base can be confused between distros, and with keeping things straight. For your average Mom and Pop (Jane and Joe Sixpack?) using apt-get, or rpm, can be almost as bad as compiling from source.

This seems to be the equivalent of Perl's CPAN for Linux, combined with Download.com (for ratings and reviews), with a pretty GUI thrown on the ability to also offer Commercial Software through the same interface.

When Jane and Joe set their new computer, and want to get Firefox (they know its good and all, since they're "techie" friends all rave about it), its nice to go to one place to install (presumably with no hassle or fuss. Likewise when they want to play the DVD of their god-childs play on their computer, they can go to the same place, give their Credit Card info (assuming its not on file I would guess), and download a DVD player, again from the same place. All through a GUI that users can drive.

I'm not sure if their software fulfills on this promise (I haven't personally tried it), but if they can its a HUGE step toward making Linux accessible to the masses.

Re:Repositories? (1)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728886)

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

Apparently, it markets itself without relying on users or grassroots popularity.

apt-get requires you to know the commands, or use synaptic to manage your packages with a two-or-three click system. CNR guarantees fewer clicks that anyone else!

Ok, this does seem a little superfluous. In the "How is this different?" section, most of their bullet points are either silly or not actual differences. It's not really one click, you've got click it open, right? And you group programs together in 'aisles' to install them all at once. That seems awfully familiar.

There are a couple of features that could be interesting (user polls maybe), but they don't seem worthy of starting a whole new package management protocol. Linspire's goal seems to be to bring Linux to mainstream users. I'm not sure if another package system will help or hinder that cause.

Re:Repositories? (2, Interesting)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729402)

As it said in TFA, it's not an entirely new package management protocol. It relies on distro-specific repositories (Debian/Ubuntu come to mind first with apt-get [and as a small aside, from the screenshots, Ubuntu *might* be the first 3rd party distro to get CNR]) and makes the entire thing seamless for the non-tech-savvy end-user. Comparing Synaptic and what CNR is promising, which scenario is less likely to result in hair-pulling:

Joe Sixpack opens synaptic and wants, say, a word processor. So he searches for "word processor" and several options pop up. Which ones are good? Which ones are going to fit his needs? He picks one, doesn't like it. Picks another, doesn't like it. This takes a couple hours, but he eventually settles on latex (this is a fictional situation, so we'll assume he's writing his doctoral thesis). Or...

He opens CNR.com and does a search for "word processor" and is given a nice little list, with screenshots, reviews, and product information. He is able to make a choice far more quickly and with less hassle, giving him more time to actually get work done.

As I see it, CNR (in combination with easier-to-install distributions) is trying to combat the idea that "Linux is only free if your time is worthless."

Re:Repositories? (1)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730266)

I think you're right about the concept; package and repository management could improve. But I'll have to see Linspire's functionality claims take place before I believe that they can do that improvement. At this point, they're just adding another star to the package management and repository constellation, and I doubt theirs will be the final answer.

I'm wary of Linspire because they were once Lindows, and their concept of 'easy' seems to have grown out of their concept of copying Windows. Their niche is to be the distro that's best at fooling people into thinking they're using Windows, which I think is totally off the mark for what a distro should be, even for a Linux beginner.

All that one-click, everything-is-easy-even-for-you-Grandpa marketing (which seems to have tailed off over the early part of this decade) is what drove me away from Windows, so I'm less enthusiastic when I see Linspire carry that torch in the Linux world.

But if it actually does work better than anything else, I'll use it.

Re:Repositories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728946)

The problem with apt-get is that it is a naive dependency solver. When it encounters a conflict on the first branch it quits instead of traversing other branches. Also, apt-get cannot optimize the solution set based on size or popularity.

Apt-get is fast, but that's because its not doing a whole lot.

Re:Repositories? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728952)

Buy commercial software. I wonder how well Loki would have done had they launched today rather than when they did.


--
Evan

Re:Repositories? (1)

cyberfunkr (591238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729732)

What does cnr do that I cant do with apt-get?

In the simplest term... It can be explained and understood by your mother. No CLI, no cryptic repository names, no messing with dependencies.

For the average Linux geek, it's just a one-step contrivance. For the rest of the world, it's a warehouse of software that is easy to navigate and easier to install.

Thank God for Lundows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729958)

Amazing! Truly amazing! It only took five years and tens of millions in squandered VC money for Lindows (or Linspire or Linschitz or whatever the heck they are calling themselves this week) to come up with a functional installer for Lunix! Now all they have to do is get it accepted by 1000 other distros.

Hmm... maybe it would have been a better use of time/money to make another text editor. Oh well! That's Lunix for ya!

It's like EasyUbuntu, but it's US-legal (1)

Darkforge (28199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730374)

apt-get won't let you purchase, download, and install a US-legal DVD player, legal MP3 player, legal Windows Media Player, and so on. Linspire has paid royalties to the owners of these technologies so you can legally use CNR to install this proprietary software on Linux. You can also use it to purchase/download/install other Crossover/Cedega/Win32 software like World of Warcraft, Quicken, etc.

Sure, you can use EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org] and get a lot of that stuff illegally for free, but because CNR is legal, it's actually feasible to sell a consumer desktop with, say, Ubuntu + CNR pre-installed. You can't sell EasyUbuntu in the United States (or most EU countries) without expecting a serious lawsuit.

A welcome new contender, but... (2, Insightful)

sdaemon (25357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728478)

I welcome a new contender to the realm of *nix package management/software installation systems. If it *works*, I might use it.

But *works* should include the following:

- installs new software correctly, in default and custom locations
- uninstalls old software correctly
- updates old to new software correctly
- is aware of and can work with custom-installed libraries and dependencies (i.e. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be installed using this system, some stuff can be compiled from source or downloaded from third party).
- is scriptable through some command-line interface
- isn't a pain in the neck

As far as I know, none of the software installation systems out there for any platform meet all of the above requirements. InstallShield for MS systems probably comes closest, but is definitely not perfect (nor even "good enough" imho). Until something comes out that I consider "good enough", I'll keep hand-rolling, thanks.

$.02 from an old slackware user.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728592)

$.02 from an old slackware user.

PWhy don't you crawl back into your cave you dirty fucking hippie. It's people like you that give the Terrorists hope of taking over our island of Democracy in this cesspool of a world that you and your brothers built in the 60s. Jesus, take a fucking shower and stop eating your fleas.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728744)

A Slackware user, eh?

Have you actually ever seriously used any of the full Linux package systems? Apt, Yum, or the Gentoo thing? All three work fine, and meet all the reasonable requirements that a packaging system should meet.

Your two requirements that were obviously inserted to disqualify Apt / Yum (the Gentoo system is another issue) are really unnecessary - there's rarely a reason to install software in weird locations by hand and if you're going to resort to that you should understand the package system enough to work with it. And if you really need to compile your own libpango - go use Gentoo, that's what it's for.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (2, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728746)

If it *works*, I might use it.

But *works* should include the following:

- installs new software correctly, in default and custom locations
- uninstalls old software correctly
- updates old to new software correctly
[...]


Most Linux distros already have package management that does all of the things you mention. This is in fact one of the major benefits of using Linux over Windows. Apt-get (for example) works like a charm, assuming what you want is in the repos (and in Debian, it generally is). I guess you are referring to cutting-edge software, that isn't in the repos yet?

What is interesting about CNR is something completely different than 'software installation that just works'. CNR can provide a standard and easy-to-use way to purchase software, for example, DVD playback, codecs, etc. - things that Linux distros can't legally include by themselves (in some countries at least). While the typical Linux user may not care much about these things, some people do, and in particular some organizations must be 100% legal, no doubts allowed. For them, a convenient way to spend a few dollars for mp3 playback and get it legally may be a big thing.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728956)

and for the less tech savvy, Ubuntu has a nice Add/Remove programs menu item that handles everything in the repository. And if you get a foreign debian package gdebi will do the work that apt-get does when you click on it, resolving dependencies. That seems to handle most of the stuff from both CNR and InstallShield (though a real installshield lookalike is probably autopackage). The difference between CNR and Distro-specific packaging system is that CNR makes available (for a fee) binary-only commercial third party programs that you will most definitely not find in any of the distro's repositories. If you want to mix and match free-software and propriatory software then that would be the way to go.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (4, Insightful)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728902)

CNR works fantastically. Perhaps you don't need to use it.

The biggest points are:
- You can't specify where to put files
- You can't specify the menu structure (The menu structure matches the CNR store exactly, making it easy to find stuff)
- It's trivial to use.

It MUST NOT have options like a CLI or flexibility.

Currently it is extremely easy to use for non-Linux people, in fact it's easier than getting software onto a PC.

With your requirements, I suggest another piece of software.

Isn't it acceptable that different programs handle different needs for different groups of people? Must you really break something for me so that it works like you want?

Please, just accept it the way it is and say, it my be great for you but not me!

If you see CNR as just another entry into the package management/software instillation, you don't get it--please keep quiet and don't ask them to change software that is perfectly suited for others.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729444)

Interestingly I think Autopackage [autopackage.org] meets most of your requirements pretty well.

installs new software correctly, in default and custom locations

Autopackage certainly installs stuff correctly and uses default locations. Moreover it support use of --prefix=/path to specify custom locations. Of course if the maker of the software hardcodes paths and such like then there's not much you can do for relocatability - that's not something packaging is ever going to be able to fix though. Custom locations are fully supported by the packaging system - enough said.

uninstalls old software correctly

Autopackage will do uninstalls perfectly happily, and provides a simple GUI (under a "Manage Third Party Software" desktop menu entry) to handle all your Autopackage installed software.

updates old to new software correctly

To update an already installed autopackage just download the new package and run it. Updating software installed via other systems is trickier in that it creates rollback issues: for instance if you're upgrading a package you installed via rpm, you either need to install to a custom location, say /usr/local, uninstall the rpm when prompted by the installer, or have it trample the rpm on install; the end result being that a rollback will involve reinstalling the rpm from whateer source you acquired it. This is, of course, hardly surprising.

is aware of and can work with custom-installed libraries and dependencies (i.e. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be installed using this system, some stuff can be compiled from source or downloaded from third party).

On this point Autopackage does well, checking for actual files that pass tests rather than the existence of particular packages. That means it deals with custom/handrolled libraries and dependencies just fine. Indeed, Autopackage is designed not to have everything installed by it: it is expected that base material will be installed via a standard packaging scheme, be it rpm, deb, tgz, or whatever; autopackages are meant to be for extra third party applications.

is scriptable through some command-line interface

Autopackage certainly support both command line and GUI interfaces and is quite easily scriptable.

isn't a pain in the neck

This is, of course, subjective. I've not had any problem dealing with autopackages I've downloaded: everything just runs smoothly. That is just my experience. Who knows, maybe you'll find it a pain in the neck for some reason.

As far as I know, none of the software installation systems out there for any platform meet all of the above requirements.

To be honest I find that a combination of either rpm or deb (to be honest it doesn't matter that much anymore) with either apt (or apt-rpm as the case may be) and suitable frontend (be it synaptic, or whatever) or smart [labix.org] (which is still coming along, but should be ready soon) for the base distribution and general maintenance and updates thereto, and Autopackage for any extra third party software you want to add works great and meets the requirements you've outlined - at least as far as I am aware.

Re:A welcome new contender, but... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729866)

As far as I know, none of the software installation systems out there for any platform meet all of the above requirements.

Which requirements does APT fail on?

- installs new software correctly, in default and custom locations

Works there, check the --instdir flag to dpkg for installing in custom locations.

- uninstalls old software correctly
- updates old to new software correctly


Both of those work great.

- is aware of and can work with custom-installed libraries and dependencies (i.e. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be installed using this system, some stuff can be compiled from source or downloaded from third party).

Read up on equivs [debian.org].

- is scriptable through some command-line interface

That one's a "duh".

- isn't a pain in the neck

And that's just a matter of opinion. Personally I think the minor pains one has to go through on the rare times one has to do something silly like pin a package to a certain version vastly (VASTLY!!!) outweigh the constant pains of building every single fucking package by hand.

Linux4Retards (0, Flamebait)

1010110010 (1002553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728574)

CNR uses standard .deb and .rpm files, but shields the user from the complexity of these packaging systems.

heh, wicked.

Re:Linux4Retards (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730178)

I'd hardly call someone who can't figure out a packaging system retarded. The vast majority of computer users get software by putting a disk in their CD drive and following instructions. They might be able to download and run an executable to install software. But I don't want to begin explaining apt-get or aptitude to someone like my father, who is really quite computer literate. I would appreciate a package manager that worked better than apt-get or Synaptic, and it would make things so much easier for more average users who want to try using Linux.

Re:Linux4Retards (2, Funny)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730734)

"The vast majority of computer users get software by putting a disk in their CD drive and following instructions."

I think you are over estimating about 90% of the computing populace :)

Could be a good thing (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728598)

Especially if they set up a system where individuals can build CnR packages and support them so that the repository can quickly and easily be built up. There is nothing wrong with making things easier for Joe Blow.

Re:Could be a good thing (1)

jkiol (1050424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728836)

I think it's a great thing. I'm trying to make the switch over to linux completely, but always stumble across finding solutions that don't require me to compile something.

Re:Could be a good thing (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729132)

Compiling certainly isn't bad and it doesn't have to be hard, but not everyone has the time for it. In my first year of using linux I've certainly compiled my fair share of things. I think what this has the potential to do is create a marketplace which will hopefully springboard commercial software vendors (I know evil) into seeing the advantages of supporting linux. Its one thing for us to do it all ourself, but there are just certain applications (and games) people just don't want to do without. This will increase linux's usability and increase the desktop share. This will make it a more attractive platform.

Whither is the geek? We have killed him, you and I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729712)

...There is nothing wrong with making things easier for Joe Blow.

Nothing wrong with it?! This is an attack against computer geeks, pure and simple.

What will I use to prop up my fragile ego now? My knowledge of an intentionally obscure process was all I had going for me. If any idiot can now install packages themselves, what reason is there for me to go on?

Enough CNR like things... (2, Interesting)

aarku (151823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728602)

All I want is to be able to install applications on my GNU/Linux in a similar way as I do on Mac OS X. I want a self contained .app bundle type system. I don't want installer programs in the form of CNR, apt-get, portage, or "./configure && make && sudo make install". Is there a distro out there that can do that?

Re:Enough CNR like things... (3, Informative)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728798)

Klik [atekon.de] is more-or-less what you're asking for. I also suspect that it is one of the reasons why CNR is going multi-distro...

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728810)

So you want Java .jar 's..

Well, the kernel does support them as a native data type, and a java interpreter isnt that bad on performance. What you'd lose is the multiuser aspect that is kept true with Linux.

Now, if you disjoin the configs properly to ~ directories, you'd have a good chance... but then it's still java. Do you want library reuse, or simple "big packs of complete software"? If you were to go this route, you might as well just use fat binaries.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730744)

So you want Java .jar 's..

No, OS X .apps. The concept is similar, but there's no need to limit it to a particular language or platform.

Do you want library reuse, or simple "big packs of complete software"?

As an end user, absolutely the latter. If I have an app on one computer, I should be able to copy a single file (or in the case of OS X, what appears as a single file) to another machine and be able to run it. I shouldn't have to worry that a third-party app I downloaded will break the dependencies of existing apps when I install it. With today's hard drives, the wasted space from multiple copies of libraries is insignificant.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (3, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728850)

All I want is to be able to install applications on my GNU/Linux in a similar way as I do on Mac OS X. I want a self contained .app bundle type system. I don't want installer programs in the form of CNR, apt-get, portage, or "./configure && make && sudo make install". Is there a distro out there that can do that?
The plus about apt-get, CNR, etc, is that they get the application for you. If you want to install some wierd program for Mac you hear of, you have to track down their website and download the installer, making sure its the right version. If I want to install some wierd program for Ubuntu, I just type "sudo apt-get install wierd_program" and a couple minutes later, with no further action from me, it's in my applications menu. In fact, if I need to install a number of programs (let's say I just reinstalled the OS, or something) I just need to type out all their names, and no more interaction from me. No hunting down a dozen websites and downloading a dozen programs, just type the names. Also, if I don't know the name of a program, I just need, say, a good html editor, then I just open Synaptic (or now CNR), click "search" and type "html editor" and I get a list of all the html editors I can install. With Mac, I guess you'd have to hunt around google for that list, and then hunt around for the websites. I guess that doesn't really answer your question, but I guess my question is why don't you like apt-get and other package managers?

Re:Enough CNR like things... (4, Insightful)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729234)

The plus about apt-get, CNR, etc, is that they get the application for you.
The minus about these programs is, they want to get the application for you. You're in some forum or something, somebody talks about a useful piece of software, links the site. It's cross-platform, all your Windows and Mac OS X compatriots click the link and have it downloading in 10 seconds. You on the other hand have to fire up $DISTRO_APP to install it.

Only it's one of those unlucky pieces of software that isn't in the repository because of some dumbass nerd licensing pissing contest. So you google around some and find out that some guy is running an unofficial repository that contains it, and you only have to alter a couple of files to include the repository address. And then you can install it! Easy!

Only, half the time some guy's repository's latest version is three months out of date because some guy has a life, so now you're downloading the source and compiling it yourself. But hey, it's all so easy!!

The problem with all these programs is that all they do is introduce middle-men. They intermediate and abstract. They get in the way. John just released Foobar 2.1, which fixes a nasty bug you are dealing with. Only that doesn't help you, because you need it in your Distro repository, where Mike maintains it. Only he's too busy arguing arguing with Jack, Sally, and Javier in the Distro dev mailing list about life, liberty and who's more hardcore about the meaning of Free Software. I'll get the new version in 6 weeks, if I'm lucky and Mike doesn't resign in a hissy fit.

I've been through all this shit as a Linux user, and I got sick of it. Fuck Mike, I like dealing directly with John.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (3, Interesting)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729924)

I can see your point of view--for you these download/install apps may not be right.

Can you not accept that for others, the ability to browse a list of apps, view screen shots, click one and have it installed without knowing anything beyond the GUI is a good thing?

I don't think you'll find what you want for Linux, and I think that what you are asking for is a little inflexible, I think you'll find that if you start to use apt-get it will solve 95% of your problems, and for the remaining 5% you'll still have to download, uncompress and probably compile to get it to work.

You'll find your Linux experience much more pleasant if you just accept this rather than expecting Linux to act like a system that has one GUI, runs on only one CPU and only supports a couple version of a single OS at a time (rather than a few versions of 30+++ flavors of OS)

Or you can do like I do and only use apps that are in the CNR repository--limited but absolutely useful. After a while it hardly even hurts any more.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730458)

I can see your point of view--for you these download/install apps may not be right. Can you not accept that for others, the ability to browse a list of apps, view screen shots, click one and have it installed without knowing anything beyond the GUI is a good thing?

I don't see any reason why this an either/or proposition. Why can't Linux or OS X or any OS adopt OpenStep style packages with all the benefits thereof and add in a good package manager with all the benefits that entails? Is their any reason why Openstep packages can't be distributed by the package manager and extended to contain repository information so that if you get them elsewhere you can still update them, etc? Maybe I'm slow, but why not have packages you can discover from a central repository and which you can IM to a friend if that repository stops distributing it?

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730464)

Can you not accept that for others, the ability to browse a list of apps, view screen shots, click one and have it installed without knowing anything beyond the GUI is a good thing?
So, the Grandparent asks why anyone wouldn't love apt-get et al, I explain my reasons for loathing package managers based on my experiences, and you somehow construe it as a universal condemnation and declaration that no one could ever love it for their own reasons?

Reading is fundamental, chief. Try it sometime.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729992)

I think I love you.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730654)

Apt-get is perfect as long as the app is in the repository. Truecrypt is not. VMware is not. Those are my biggest "gripes," if you can call them that. I can't really fault the makers of free software for not giving me exactly what I want (maybe I could ask for my money back?) but I do wish that the two programs I find most intriguing were available in the otherwise perfect (to me) apt-get system. I've installed Truecrypt a few times from source from directions on the internets, and it works, but it miffs me that more things aren't automatic. I guess I'm wanting apt-get or some other front end to recognize that I"m trying to install from source, and go get the kernel headers and other files/programs I need to do that, just as it would if I was installing from the repositories.

That being said, I can't get Truecrypt installed at all on smaller distros like DSL, Feather, or Puppy. I haven't tried VMWare. Has anyone gotten this combination to work on one of the small distros?

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730478)

I guess that doesn't really answer your question, but I guess my question is why don't you like apt-get and other package managers?

I like apt-get and package managers and more importantly the benefits they bring. I also like OpenStep style packages and the benefits they bring. Despite the fact that no OS now integrates both, they are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729368)

Do you have a good reason for wanting that, or are you just a fan of drag and drop? With app-folders, the .app file needs to contain all of the non-standard libraries (or worse: have you resolve dependencies manually). It's grossly uneconomical, requires manual upgrading of every separate app, and doesn't work in a free software environment.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730726)

Do you have a good reason for wanting that, or are you just a fan of drag and drop?

Drag and drop installation from CDs or whatever is a usability win. Drag and drop un-installation (or the delete key for power users) from anywhere is a usability win. .app packages are portable without an installer. I once saved my company a lot of money by IM'ing an application from my hard drive to a worker in another state. The app was closed, commercial, and no longer distributed, thus would not be in any repositories. If we had been running Linux, we would have been screwed since who archives installer packages on their desktop? .app bundles can easily be copied onto portable media like CDs, thumb drives, network drives, and iPods and plugging them into different computers with different processors still works and saves preferences for each machine. This matters a lot for commercial software, but most Linux distros think in terms of open source software only. This is a deficiency. With .app bundles I always know where the resources inside the package are and they are easily accessible. Better yet, if I'm using ACLs of any sort, it is simple to restrict the application to its own package and the preference file(s). If I upgrade to a new machine all the application bundles can move with me, even to different platforms, without having to reinstall, change preferences or re-register. If Linux had more commercial packages from companies that distribute the software themselves, this would be a big pain point.

With app-folders, the .app file needs to contain all of the non-standard libraries (or worse: have you resolve dependencies manually). It's grossly uneconomical...

Disk space is cheap. If I'm running something with limited space or that needs to be stripped down the OS should be able to strip unneeded packages and consolidate and already there are tools to do that.

...requires manual upgrading of every separate app...

You're confusing a disadvantage of not having a package manager with a disadvantage of OpenStep bundles. I, personally, favor having both... a package manager that manages bundles.

...and doesn't work in a free software environment.

Whaaa? Why not? Bundles work for both open and closed source, which is what is needed if an OS wants to be flexible. I'd even advocate extending OpenStep packages with repository info and source, licenses, and build instructions.

I want it all. When will an OS give me all the benefits of package management and all the benefits of OpenStep style packages?

Re:Enough CNR like things... (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730930)

It's grossly uneconomical

Not really. Library size << HD space.

requires manual upgrading of every separate app

Nothing prevents automatic updaters from working with app bundles. If anything, it's easier: just compare the version in the app's meta-information to the version in the repository. No worries about a centralized database being out of sync due to manual installs.

and doesn't work in a free software environment

I don't see why not.

Re:Enough CNR like things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729982)

You do realize nearly every distro has a system for this, right? Gentoo's emerge, Red Hat's RPM, Debian's apt, Slack's tens of alternative managers, etc.

Welcome to post 1995 buddy. None of those systems make me type even make.

Not aimed at us (3, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728624)

However look at the application list before you dismiss this from the other Linux users you support (parents etc). It includes a lot of name brand software which Ubuntu doesnt.

I'm happiest supporting people on Ubuntu/Kubuntu because that's what I run. If I can now also give them *easy* access to the software they know by name, without me having to intervene to do the messing around with wine or whatever, this can only be a good thing.

For gamers also... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729064)

Personally I see a few propriatory games that I'd like to play, but I never realy bothered because I didn't have time to track down the publishers or whatnot.

Now I can ba fat slob and just download and install quake3 or X2 or whatever off the internet using this service. Totally kicks-ass.

Also I noticed the 'tip jar' thing.

If that is what I think it is, were I can just send a buck or two as thanks to a favorite program or whatever that is open source and it gets to the developer (and not linspire) then that will be a GREAT way to show my appreciation.

Like when I setup Linux and I realise that I need a cd burning program, I go on CNR download K3b and send them a 2 bucks as thanks right then and there. No messing around with paypall or whatever. That sounds nice.

Finally (4, Insightful)

poofyhairguy82 (635386) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728638)

I glad this finally happened. I never got why Linspire (the company) - which partially relies on Click and Run money to keep the lights on - didn't allow as many distros to use it as possible a long time ago!

What is consistently one of the biggest gripes about the Linux desktop? I know one I hear and see often is the difficulty of of installing Linux applications when the disto does not provide them. Autopackage has tried its best to cross the gaps, but even its main programmers concede its hard to do all the cross distro work (that is often cleaning up messes) when there is no financial reward to inspire you. Its not exactly exciting and low hanging fruit like a new 3D snow pluggin for Beryl.

If Linspire does this right then here is the solution for one of the last few big complaints on the Linux desktop- new programs will be easy to install on any distro soon after release. If soon the user does not have to care that they have Ubuntu or Suse when a new Gimp or Crossover Office comes out then the Linux desktop might be ready for a big run. One main problem of course as this is a closed solution to the problem- removing both kinds of free in order to make it happen. Yet users pay for software now on both of the other primary desktop platforms, so I don't think many will care. If this is done through "partnerships" then Linspire might make a large amount of money in this new gatekeeper role while boosting marketshare of the Linux desktop in the hard to get at home market.

Glad this finally happened. Now the last big problem- the lack of drivers- will be fixed the only way it can be: increased marketshare. We hope...

Re:Finally (1)

downwa (1083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730020)

Actually, the good news is Linspire doesn't remove "both kinds of free in order to make it happen" for software that is Open Source. Their new CnR is now free to use, as well as having an Open Source client which is free to modify and improve. The only thing you have to pay for is proprietary software, but now you can at least get much of it in one place (and hopefully they can increase that as well).

Good news all around.

Re:Finally (1)

Ambidisastrous (964023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730432)

Agreed. Former Windows users tend to crash and burn on Linux the first time they try to install new programs -- go to a website, download the .deb or .tar.gz, double-click it, see unhelpful things happen, Google for what the hell to do next, and the nightmare continues. I had to apply numerous beatings to my sister before she would learn to always try Synaptic first.

But I see the closed-source capability as a Good Thing. I like writing and using open-source software, but I want the software industry to keep breathing even after the revolution comes. There's a place in the world for a company that organizes smart developers and creates a great product for a reasonable price -- and with CNR, it's much easier for those products to coexist with Free software on a Linux system. I, for one, don't want software companies (especially game makers) to feel unwelcome on Linux.

Well, I think this is cool. (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728662)

This isn't meant to replace APT or RPM. It runs over them, like Pup or Synaptic. The difference is that CNR is designed for user-friendliness and clarity. If I need, say, an audio sequencer, but I don't know about Audacity, I can search through my repo now and find out about Audacity, read some reviews, look at some screencaps... If the article is accurate about its capabilities, then I see this as good news.

Re:Well, I think this is cool. (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17728878)

I think the best comparison could be saying that CNR is to Linux what Tucows is to windows, only it is supposed to handle the actual install also. If this works, it will be a boon to geeks who have been trying to get their family migrated. Theoretically, this will get rid of the "How do I install an Instant Messenger?" and like questions which result in get this thing off my computer and let me run viruses, err, windows.

Looks teriffic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17728872)

This looks wonderful.
As a longtime Linux lurker I have *ALWAYS* been turned off by the difficulty of installing software. Yes, I have a CS degree, and I know how to compile code, but in many instances, jumping through all the hoops was just not worth the hassle.
I now use OS X, but with Parallels and VMWare allowing me to run Ubuntu parallel to OS X just for testing, a system such as CNR will allow me to adopt Linux much easier than before.
Good job Linspire!

There we go.... (3, Insightful)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729236)

While this sounds like aimless Linux zealotry, this will probably be another flurry of people who complain needlessly about Linux package management without having bothered to use it or understanding it superiority to any other sort of package management.

  • Every significant distro has an easy-to-use frontend to its package manager. I wonder who actually considers its use to be more difficult than hunting the internet for shareware and crapware until you find the right one.
  • Dependency resolution is not an issue and it hasn't been one for a regular user for looong time. If you're using stuff outside of the package manager repositories then you know what you're doing and you can live with the consequences. I mean, who compiles software in Windows to install it? Have you had to remove esoteric stuff manually after uninstalling something in Linux? I know I've had to clean more than one Registry entry in my Windows install.
  • Most commercial packages run out-of-the box and set themselves up intelligently (read: VmWare, Crossover, Opera).
  • User friendly distros already have double-click installation. Ubuntu has GDebi. I'm sure RPM distros have an equivalent.
  • .tar.gz is used by the 2% of Linux users that want bleeding-edge stuff or want to try what can only be considered "dark magic" by the average user.

Man, an InstallShield-like installer is a step BACKWARDS for package management! I've had to spend hours and dozens of reboots in Windows getting my software right! It's a task that with aptitude or synaptic gets done in under 20 minutes, no reboot, full use of the machine in the meantime. ISVs should be embracing .deb and .rpm. C'mon, it's not that difficult to learn how to package for 3 or 4 major distros! If you know how to write a Makefile you should know how to package software.

Re:There we go.... (1)

Devv (992734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729760)

I wonder who actually considers its use to be more difficult than hunting the internet for shareware and crapware until you find the right one.

I think you are so wrong about this. The avarage windows user probably doesn't know how to install a program from a icon on their desktop, barely. I don't know too many people that will actually search for share-free or crack(hush, no one does this, really) ware. I know you could argue that everyone at least remotely advanced as a user should switch, but without a critical mass switching anyone playing certain games won't switch what so ever. (User who knows something but not much, might possibly be a gamer)

Re:There we go.... (1)

G00F (241765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729802)

This is slashdot, Linux zealotry doesn't get modded down so why even mention it? it is replies to it that lend to being modded down. But lets take this by a point by point basis

Every significant distro has an easy-to-use front end to its package manager. I wonder who actually considers its use to be more difficult than hunting the internet for shareware and crapware until you find the right one.

I would consider it more difficult. Type in "firefox" and you can download the latest firefox in 1 click, do that with yast2 or what ever, you spend time searching, more than on package shows up, and they are old. Then you update it using their own tools and it is still 1.x

Dependency resolution is not an issue and it hasn't been one for a regular user for long time. If you're using stuff outside of the package manager repositories then you know what you're doing and you can live with the consequences. I mean, who compiles software in Windows to install it? Have you had to remove esoteric stuff manually after uninstalling something in Linux? I know I've had to clean more than one Registry entry in my Windows install.

If your using stuff outside their repositories (and what they decide to keep up to date does not make you an advance user. Installing an updated version of your gnutella/IM client or k3b does no constitute an advance user. Most distros throw in so much crap, usually old and never update them. The fact that I have to figure out what RPM's I need to get the RPM I just downloaded to install shows it is an issue.

Most commercial packages run out-of-the box and set themselves up intelligently (read: VmWare, Crossover, Opera

You list 3, that is not most. Sure I can add a few more, but most things. But most of what people are running are not commercial packages. And they are tied very tightly to the distribution. Think any of the many pieces of the GUI. Or someones preferred application. See the above.

User friendly distros already have double-click installation. Ubuntu has GDebi. I'm sure RPM distros have an equivalent.

ha, as if that doesn't break things. If they are double clicking something, then it wasn't included in the repositories. And that can mess things up and you have yest2 or what ever tool screaming at you. .tar.gz is used by the 2% of Linux users that want bleeding-edge stuff or want to try what can only be considered "dark magic" by the average user.

lol, and here I thought RPM users was the minority. I'm not bleeding edge, I just want things to work. Wanting things to just work should not be considered bleeding edge or advance. Even if it requires you to download something not provided, or updated by the distro.

An install shiled like thing is needed so that ever distro does need it's own format for every version of OS it packaged.

There shouldn't be 30 different RPM's to chose from when updating something, should be 3, intel based binaries, mac based binaries and source for everything else.

I use linux often, not as much as I use to. It hasn't gotten to the place where it can replace my desktop, but I run it on about 20 different servers at home and work. I want it to get to the point where it can replace my desktop. This is just one of the things I think it has ben needing.
A single package for all(most) distros and version. Not one for 8.1, 8.2, 9.0, 9.1, 10, 10.1, 10.2 for RH, Suse, mandrake, etc.

My biggest complaint w/ linux has always been installing things not provided or updated w/ the distro I bought. Configuring apache w/ php, perl, virtual hosts, and setting up a backend data base has alwasy been easier than wrestling with their crap update installers.

Heck try getting a newer version of PHP w/ the option that is normily turned on, but wasn't for your distrio to work right is right up this ally too.

GAH, I guess I ranted a bit to much, and I don't feel like proof reading, sorry about making peoples eyes bleed.

Re:There we go.... (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730062)

yes, I agree that it is useful to be able to simply type something like "yum -y install ysoftware xsoftware etcsoftware" or use a gui frontend, click some checkboxes, and then hit "download & install"

on the other hand, thats only easy IF you know what the package name is when doing it by cli, or if you are using a gui frontend, finding which of the cryptic names is the one you want. For example, OpenOffice Base isn't included in the default install via yum, and the name can be hard to type out sometimes. The last issue I have with things like yum and apt-get, is "what if you're at the cheapo relative's house who doesn't have a 'net connection" or your's is down? In such a case, you're for pretty much sol - where as with something like a Windows InstallShield wizard type where you just click your way through the installer you have on a usb jump-drive, and then you're running OpenOffice...

Re:There we go.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17730760)

Agreed. I ran into a problem today that speeks to this very issue. Wanting to find a good video compression and editing sweet-endeded up finding out about avidemux. Problem 1- I got about half way into my install when my net conection failed. Problem 2: How do I fix possible issues because of this? I can't- see problem 1.

Re:There we go.... (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731024)

Dependency resolution is not an issue and it hasn't been one for a regular user for looong time. If you're using stuff outside of the package manager repositories then you know what you're doing and you can live with the consequences.

Sorry, that's just silly. Linux is supposed to be the open system, but you're telling me that it's normal and expected that my system goes wonky if I try to run anything that hasn't been blessed by a central repository? Not acceptable.

I know I've had to clean more than one Registry entry in my Windows install....Man, an InstallShield-like installer is a step BACKWARDS for package management!

Ah, that's the problem, you're comparing to Windows instead of a competent platform. Yes, apt-get/Synaptic is better than Windows installers, but Mac OS X's .apps are far better than either.

You want interoperability? (1)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729466)

From the cnr.com FAQ [cnr.com]:

How does CNR.com works with other Linux Distributions?

When thinking of mixing your distribution's package management with CNR, does that sentence frighten you like it frightens me?

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729808)

I used Linspire with click in run for about a year, a few years ago, basically it has few advantages over apt-get, however this could be a great thing for desktop linux.

For all of us running ubuntu/debian, it is just like a very very extensive GUI for apt-get, it gives loads of details on each app and installing them is just as easy. However this could be a great thing because all the apps will be potentially tested by every linux user and can be very well tested. Also another benifit, although some of you will disagree with me here, is that it provides very easy access to proprietary software which is normally not on apt-get unless you find a reliable source which you can use. Also it provides easy access to pay for some software, for example star office or proprietary versions of wine.

Basically I think if it is excepted by the general linux community, then it could lead to very useful standardization of desktop linux package management, which would avoid the hassle of every distro needing to maintain their own repository (although I can't see any distros dropping their repository any time soon anyways), and provide a central place where virtually all applications would be, instead of the current situation where every repository is highly incomplete.

There is such a system already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17730080)

There's klik. There is no reason to invent a bycicle. klik.atekon.de

A fancy euphemism for a new distro (1)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730384)

I'm sorry, but if you aren't using your distribution's repositories then you aren't using that distribution. If you are getting all your programs from cnr, you are using the 'cnr' distribution. They seem to want to reassure people by letting them think they are using good branded distros instead of the poor brand linspire.

More like an expansion pack (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17730556)

if you aren't using your distribution's repositories then you aren't using that distribution.

According to TFA, CNR uses the distro's repository. There's a flowchart [cnr.com] which shows CNR merging the standard Ubuntu repository with CNR's repository of Linspire and third-party software, then publishing the whole through CNR. If I'm reading he runes a-right, using CNR to install software that is also available straight from Ubuntu will actually get you the Ubuntu package.

To put this in perspective, a few years back, Red Hat users could download packages from Red Hat and install them manually, or use up2date, or install a third-party package manager like Red Carpet, yum, or apt. Those third-party programs would retrieve software from a repository which contained all the Red Hat RPMs and could connect to additional repositories that had more software.

This version of CNR looks like the equivalent of using yum or apt with freshrpms to supplement a RHL installation.

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