Why is installing software so awkward?

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Postby guy » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:58 pm

Pete wrote:What are the distros that support one click install?

Windows, iOS, Symbian?

Seriously, lots of Linux distros do easy install from their own app repositories (debian and its derivatives such as Ubuntu and Mint are among the most comprehensive), but if your app isn't in there then life gets more complicated. That's just the way Linux is.

Historically I'd say it happened because two competing package formats - RedHat and Debian's - are too entrenched but too different to merge easily. So no universal solution has been able to emerge. I dare say Android isn't helping.
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Postby Bruno » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:58 pm

Pete wrote:What are the distros that support one click install?

Hi Pete, for ease of installation, I can thoroughly recommend openSUSE. They have had one click installation for about 5 years. They have also revamped their web-based package search facility, see here. For example, search for the "amarok" music player and on the results page, click on the link to "Amarok". You will then be presented with an info page for the package and large button for direct installation of said package.

How it works is the build system used to make the distro automatically generates an xml file that will install the specified package from the repository that contains it, installing the repository if necessary, too. The large button is then linked to the xml file. The usual features of any package manager then kick in and any dependencies that are required are installed too. This approach gives the convenience of installation enjoyed by Windows users but maintains the security and integrity of software enjoyed by Linux users.

Packages can also be searched for in openSUSE's own package manager, YaST, as well as via the web.

In the rare situations that downloading packages directly from web pages is required (eg. installation of the skype client), the package file can just be clicked on in the file manager to start the installation process, again, the package manager fires up and takes care of it all.

For the more esoteric packages that are not directly supported by the distro but are built by the community, click on the spanner icon to the right of the "search" button on the package search web page and click the "Show unsupported packages" check box. This will help you find packages such as "arduino" built for openSUSE.

The xml files can also be placed on project web sites to afford their users easy installation of their software from one of openSUSE's repositories. If you'll forgive the vanity of a personal example, have a look at this page from the Arduino IDE installation guide for openSUSE.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:14 am

In Ubuntu, double-clicking on a .deb file will launch the package manager too.
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