Some thoughts

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Some thoughts

Postby pau1ie » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:07 am

First - You have a closing tag missing from the XML on the index file which means the Java applet (Or any XML app) cant read it (Load it in Firefox and it will tell you - Its what should be the second to last line in the file I think)

Second and main
I have recently lost my broadband connection, and for reasons I will not go into have only an Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary) more or less default install, which as you know is rather minimal. I wondered if the LXF cover discs would cover for my lack of broadband access, and they don't seem to. Here is why:

(a)Help - LDP
The help section has disappeared. I have to go on to the Internet to look at docs. If there is not enough room for the mirror that you used to do, could you consider delivering a bzipped archive every other month or something?

(b) Program documentation.
You deliver programs in a variety of manners including the original tarball. This is all well and good, and you would expect the developers to put their documentation in the tarball, except they don't. They normally have a web site with all that stuff on it. Is there any way you could somehow get a scraping of the docs from the web site (Or make all developers put the docs in the tarball - Only joking)

(c) Dependencies
As an example I tried to install Abiword from the cover disc, and there were loads of development libraries that were not installed. Then I noticed the auto package, and thought I would try that, but it did not work because it depended on the spell checker, which was not available.

I get a similar problem with games etc.

This is a very tricky problem. My suggestion would be to go for an installation on a small system like default Ubuntu and include all the dependencies for it.

This will likely be a lot more work than trying to find different packages and putting them on the CD, so may not be practical.

I note that openoffice has only been supplied on RPMs, no source, not even the more generic OOo_2.0.0_LinuxIntel_install.tar.gz. I wanted the thesaurus to convert to British English (It is at brit-thesaurus.sourceforge.net) I found the best place to get it was the knoppix DVD!

Third and last, thanks for the effort: keep up the good work and all that!

Cheers

PaulH
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Re: Some thoughts

Postby M-Saunders » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:11 am

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your feedback! In order:

pau1ie wrote:First - You have a closing tag missing from the XML on the index file which means the Java applet (Or any XML app) cant read it (Load it in Firefox and it will tell you - Its what should be the second to last line in the file I think)


Hrm, it appears to be the lack of an '/indexedfiles' tag at the end is causing the problem (although looking at 76's discs, the script added it automatically this time). I'll make sure that the closing tag is definitely added every time.

pau1ie wrote:(a)Help - LDP
The help section has disappeared. I have to go on to the Internet to look at docs. If there is not enough room for the mirror that you used to do, could you consider delivering a bzipped archive every other month or something?


Yes, we had it on most DVDs, but sometimes there isn't room to squeeze it on. Even when there is, many users would prefer to see more software -- it's a tricky balance. However, I like your suggestion and I'll try to make a g/bzipped tarball that fits into a couple of hundred megs or so.

What do other readers think? Do you prefer the full uncompressed archive on the disc, at the expense of software, or would you rather have a small compressed archive without quite as much content?

pau1ie wrote:(b) Program documentation.
You deliver programs in a variety of manners including the original tarball. This is all well and good, and you would expect the developers to put their documentation in the tarball, except they don't. They normally have a web site with all that stuff on it. Is there any way you could somehow get a scraping of the docs from the web site (Or make all developers put the docs in the tarball - Only joking)


Most apps include some form of documentation, in the README and INSTALL files. But yes, occasionally you get apps which are documented more thoroughly on the website. I'll consider repeating some website text in a separate README file when it's clear that a program includes nothing.

pau1ie wrote:(c) Dependencies
As an example I tried to install Abiword from the cover disc, and there were loads of development libraries that were not installed. Then I noticed the auto package, and thought I would try that, but it did not work because it depended on the spell checker, which was not available.


The Autopackage should install any non-common libraries that a user typically won't have one his/her system. What spell checking add-on or library is it missing? Autopackage isn't perfect, but it's a good start -- it still requires that developers take care in making their packages though.

pau1ie wrote:I get a similar problem with games etc. This is a very tricky problem. My suggestion would be to go for an installation on a small system like default Ubuntu and include all the dependencies for it. This will likely be a lot more work than trying to find different packages and putting them on the CD, so may not be practical.


Dependencies are a hassle for distributors and end-users. And it's another aspect of the coverdisc that needs a good balance. The more dependencies we include, the less space there is for other apps -- a problem for those not interested in the app in question, or who already have the dependencies.

Where possible, we include dependencies which aren't likely to be part of a typical distro install. However, it'll always be tricky until there's some standards in Linux packaging or Autopackage takes off.

pau1ie wrote:I note that openoffice has only been supplied on RPMs, no source, not even the more generic OOo_2.0.0_LinuxIntel_install.tar.gz.


That's the exact filename that's on the DVD :) The OpenOffice.org team distributes the suite as a tarball of RPMs now; whether that's good or bad is open to debate, but it's the official version. As for the source, at 220 MB it's quite hefty for the disc, and few people compile it from source. However, you'll find the source on LXF 76's DVD (more room).

pau1ie wrote:Third and last, thanks for the effort: keep up the good work and all that!


Cheers! Thanks for your input, and I hope you continue to enjoy the mag.

Mike
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RE: Re: Some thoughts

Postby jjmac » Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:38 pm

ON LDP
----------
M S wrote:
>>
What do other readers think? Do you prefer the full uncompressed archive on the disc, at the expense of software, or would you rather have a small compressed archive without quite as much content?
>>

There dosen't seem to be a great deal of change in the LDP collection from mounth to month. Possibly an occasional compressed archive, or maybe just updates effected through a rsync fetch by LXF. Maybe they could be soughted out via timestamps. That is, seems inefficient to use all that space for a largel unchanging file set all the time, but maybe occasionally.

Some distros include the LDP in their /usr/share/doc directory too, as does the Knoppix 4.0.1 LiveCD on LXF 73D Dec '05 dvd.

Top LiveCD too by the way. It got my on going screen resolution/font thing almost completely right first go. Only a bit of minor tweaking was required there. I'll probably become a kde fan as a result (washes_mouth_out_with_soap.png) (grin)


>>
Dependencies are a hassle for distributors and end-users. And it's another aspect of the coverdisc that needs a good balance. The more dependencies we include, the less space there is for other apps -- a problem for those not interested in the app in question, or who already have the dependencies.

Where possible, we include dependencies which aren't likely to be part of a typical distro install. However, it'll always be tricky until there's some standards in Linux packaging or Autopackage takes off.
>>

Not sure how relevant this is but, the main advantage i find, in mag cd/dvds concerns the size of packages that otherwise would need to be dloaded. A mag cd/dvd does tend to become a kind of substitution high-band-width replacement for us peasants. Being bandwidth limited, the cd/dvd saves heaps of time getting larger file sets, such as X and GCC and the like. Plus it also provides a means of coming into contact with programs/projects which probably otherwise a person would not. It's as if you guys do all the leg work for us in that regard :). So maybe some of the larger depends would be helpfull to find on the discs, for that resone. But smaller depend packages, well, it's a toss up really. A bit irritating to frig around to get, but only that. Maybe if the links were provided, but that would involve having to reflect into each and every package/program set there. Once people get used to seaching for depends, it's not that big a deal really. The distro sites should all have lists associated with thier repositories anyway. Stuff like gtk glibc seem well covered as it is. Maybe some expansion there would be good. Especially if they are largish. My definition on largish being around 20Mbs and up (grin). Take the kernel for instance. Thats a really helpfull inclusion. All a person needs to do is take the disc version, then go over to kernel.org and grab the appropriate patches to bring it up to date.



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RE: Re: Some thoughts

Postby pau1ie » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:10 am

Thanks for the replies - I didnt realise that knoppix had LDP in it - Amazing piece of kit. The missing spell checking package stopping me installing Abiword is Enchant (Abstract layer to spellchecking)

Thanks for considering my suggestions. I know they are easy for me to say and a lot of work for you to impliment.

PaulH
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