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geekyness and ESR's recent tome

From: GreyGeek <jkreps_at_neb.rr.com>
Date: 2004-03-02 16:21:08 CET

I have just competed two experiences installing svn, which I think is a
marvelous program.
The first experience was installing it on my W2K workstation at work.
Download the binary, double click to install it, done.
Download the TortoiseSVN binary, double click to install it, done.
Total time from first download to having an operational svn: 5 minutes.

The second experience was on my MDK 9.2.1 box at home.
Download source.
./configure gives an error which cannot be resolved without rewriting
configure.in. Not going that route.

Go to Mandrake club and download Subversion-1.0 rpm.
It gives missing dependency error.
Download missing rpm. Installation gives a missing dependency error and a
conflict error.
Removing the conflict gives cascading conflict errors. Fix them.
Struggle missing dependencies and cascading conflicts through with SEVEN MORE
mdk Subversion rpms.
Attempt to create repository -- can't find svn _ra_ something....
Give up and restore system.

Download 9 RedHat RPM files. Resolve several dependency and cascading
conflict errors, similar to the MDK rpms. BUT, this time svn works!
Total time: 7 or 8 hours, finishing at 1:30AM.

Went looking for a Subversion GUI client. Tried them all but none would
install save for the Java version, called Supervision-0.1.jar. BUT, it won't
open the repository so none of the files in the project display.
Total time: several hours, ending in failure. I must use the CLI to run

For a guy who has been programming for thirty years, using Linux since RH
5.0, and has compiled several kernels and countless programs, to run into
this kind of mess at a time when the Distros are beginning to surpass Windows
is total nonsense. The current paradigm for programs that are not built
with QT3 to run on KDE or GNOME is NOT WORKING folks!

Linux is beginning to attract users who don't care bout accessing the source,
don't have time nor inclination to modify sources so a particular program
will run on their machine. They have work to do, they want to install a
program with a single click and have it work. Don't tell me it can't be
done. See my first experience.

Create a binary that HAS EVERYTHING it needs to run. Every library, every
driver, EVERYTHING. Who cares about how big it is. HD space is cheap, and
most serious folks run broadband connections. Bittorrent is available for
those who still dialup. Then install it in /opt and add the path to the bash
config script. No exceptions, not distro conflicts. Finally, make sure it
runs on a virgin machine that has none of the build tools or libraries used
to create the app.

I don't care how good your app is, it is going nowhere until it is an easy
install. Period. The age of geekyness is over. The reason why KDE is
winning over the hearts and minds of folks is precisely because the fast
majority of programs written for it install with a click.

My task at work is to find a version control system that works in both Windows
and Linux so the task of moving ourselves away from Windows dependency can be
easier. Sadly, regardless of how well as svn works on the Windows platform
I cannot achieve the same level of ease on my Linux platform. Our shop is a
Windows shop. The other 14 coders have no Linux/Unix experience and there is
no way I could convince them that switching to Linux will be worth it if they
encounter experiences like those I've just encountered.
I have to agree with ESR. Over the last two or three years, except for KDE
based apps, it has gotten more difficult to install applications, not
easier. Linux will continue its march to domination, but some otherwise
excellent applications won't be along for the ride because they are too
difficult to install.
Thanks for letting me vent.

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Received on Tue Mar 2 16:20:29 2004

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