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Re: graphical apt, trials and tribulations

> > Although I assume Seth can do just this, that's ugly as hell for the
> > users.  I do not at all want to start up a distro flamewar, but... "all
> > the other distros don't need terminal windows in their updaters."
> The last time I used an RPM-based distribution, its packages asked no
> configuration questions whatsoever. Is this still true? If so, it's
> probably not a fair comparison.

Depends on what you mean by "fair," *wink*. RPM doesn't ask questions,
which is perhaps a missing feature because you just get this glob on
your disk with no idea what to do next, but it also makes it feasible
for good graphical package managers to exist. It may have been accident
on their part, it may have been design decision, I don't know.

Right now the ability to make a graphical apt is more like a theoretical
feature. libapt was designed to accomodate this, but nobody has done the
library fixes necessary to make it work right. In my experience, any
time you have a theoretical but largely untested feature there's going
to have to be some change to make it actually work right. If you look at
most of the graphical installers for debian out there they have a long
series of horrible hacks and bad interfaces brought on by what would be
fairly simple changes to the library APIs (and policy or packages).

Ximian eventually decided to give up on the whole mess and don't use
dpkg or apt at all. This unfortunately means that they occasionally do
different things than apt-get would have and make the system
inconsistent. But that's really the only solution to make a good user
experience at-the-moment. I'm not going that route partly because I
don't have the time to re-implement the whole system and partly because
it would be nice to get libapt and co. working nicely with different
kinds of frontends as originally designed.


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