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Re: Easy third-party package installer for debian-based distributions

IMHO, the 'right' solution to do this is to have some file whcih describes
a normal apt archive and the package in it to install, and double clicking
it adds it to your apt sources, updates, and installs the package using apt,
then upgrades will be handled normally with update-notifier et al.

IIRC someone was working on this quite a while ago but I don't know what
happened, and of course, some people are concerned with the security of
this etc (altho I personally think its a good idea)


On Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 10:47:24PM +0200, Sami Dalouche wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm crossposting between debian-devel and ubuntu-devel, but maybe some other
> debian-based distributions may be interested as well. Feel free to forward..
> This email is about sharing some thoughts about installing third party packages
> inside on a debian box..
> Let's take, for example, Skype's example. It is not available in
> non-free/universe , but some people may still be interested in downloading it,
> be they linux experts or not. So what happens on a Debian/Ubuntu/MEPIS/whatever
> box ? Average joe downloads the "Debian package" available on skype's website,
> and clicks on it (I believe it is possible to install a deb by double-clicking
> on it, right ?). Then, libqt is not installed, so it complains. End of the
> game, "linux sucks, I can't even install skype on it".
> OK, joe should be taught to use apt-get, etc, but we are in the real world, so
> it is not possible. What about the following scenario :
> - Joe downloads a .mdeb (meta-deb) package on skype's website.
> - Joe double clicks on it, some progress bar appears
> - Few seconds after, skype is installed, great !
> Behind the scenes :
> - a .mdeb is just a script/ deb with post-install script, or whatever that
> allows to add apt-get's skype's sources.
> - Once the sources are installed, and apt-get update done, skype gets installed,
> and apt-get takes care of the dependencies
> - apt-get will take care of upgrading when necessary.
> It could also be envisionned that a .mdeb could be an archive, containing a
> apt-get repository, that is extracted to /var/apt/whatever. This repository
> could contain all the required dependencies (for example, a copy from debian's
> archive) that may or may not be available on some machines, and be used as an
> offline installation. So no more hell to install a software with many depends,
> and no helly static-linking. And if a better version of any depends is already
> avaialble, then it will be used by apt.
> OK, so several questions :
> - What do you think about this system, which would actually be a 1 or 2 hour
> hack, and be potentially very useful at helping people at installing packages ?
> - What would be the hidden / additional requirements that I did not think of ?
> - If such hack was programmed, would Debian/Ubuntu/Others officially endorse
> this way of distributing packages ?
> Regards,
> Sami Dalouche
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Trent Lloyd <lathiat@bur.st>
Bur.st Networking Inc.

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