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Re: geekyness and ESR's recent tome

From: <subversion_at_millenix.mailshell.com>
Date: 2004-03-03 01:46:24 CET

GreyGeek wrote:
> I have just competed two experiences installing svn, which I think is a
> marvelous program.
> <rant>
> 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.

An even easier experience is available on numerous Linux & BSD systems. In
your specific case, Mandrake has urpmi on the command line and rpmdrake as a
GUI, both part of the default distro.
Debian has apt. Gentoo has portage. BSDs have ports. Mac OS X has fink (an
adaptation of apt, AIUI). As I've learned from this thread, all of them can
use pkgsrc. Fedora, the most recent addition to the bunch, has both apt and
yum available, and OpenCarpet is widely used with it, making it even easier.
SuSE, I'm sure, has something of the same. Hell, even SlackWare has started
including a package/configuration management system!

In all of these, you don't even need to go to the author's web site to
download the application, as it is in the distributors' repositories.

Basically, there is no reason, in this day and age, to be manually
downloading packages and chasing their dependencies. All of the distros have
solved this problem. You don't sound like you're looking for bleeding edge
recent releases, so you have no reason to bother with the tarballs. Despite
the fact that Subversion 1.0 is recent, one of the traditionally
slowest-moving distros, Debian, already has it packaged and installable with
the single command 'apt-get install subversion', from the official repositories.

> 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.

You wasted those 7 or 8 hours. See above for the tools available to you.

> 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
> Subversion.

Don't know about any other distros, but Debian has the latest rapidsvn
available, again just an apt-get away. And you could have found it just
doing an 'apt-cache search svn'

> Summary:
> 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!

You made this mess yourself, if you're still working in the 'stone age' of
tarballs and the 'bronze age' of unassisted .rpm's. Come join us in the iron
age, I guess. :-)

> 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.

It can be done. See my first paragraphs.

> 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.

This means that it won't work with any other tools, like RapidSVN or
TortoiseSVN, unless you want them to include their own version of the
libraries, which means that they will not necessarily interoperate with
other installations. The primary purpose of shared libraries, today, is not
saving memory or disk space, but facilitating interoperability. The savings
are just nice side-effects.

> 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.
> </rant>

Subversion installs with a click, if you want it to. It seems that you
don't, or you wouldn't have tried to download RPMs and chase their dependencies.

> 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.

Again, I reiterate, you made Subversion difficult for yourself to install.

> Thanks for letting me vent.
> GreyGeek.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to present you the tools available.

Philip Miller

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Received on Wed Mar 3 01:45:40 2004

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