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Re: Prompt to install missing software?

On Sun, 27 May 2007 18:04:55 +1000
John Pye <john@curioussymbols.com> wrote:

> > The Recommends field should list packages that would be found
> > together with this one in all but unusual installations." [1]
> >
> > Which IMO is clearly not the case here. Many users probably won't
> > need that particular feature.
> I am aware of the 'Recommends' and 'Suggests' thing. Many users are
> familiar with it, and know how to go and seek out and install a
> missing package.

Then document this for those users of your package who are not familiar
with Recommends. apt and aptitude can install recommended packages
alongside dependencies by setting Recommends as 'important' - see man
5 apt.conf or man aptitude. You could document a single command that
sets that apt option for that one run and brings in the recommended
packages - normal apt-get upgrade will look after things after that.

> But this is about user experience.  It just strikes me that there is a
> level of automation that would be really pretty simple to implement:
> "click here to install the missing package". Then the user's
> experience is transformed from "right. i have to stop what I'm doing
> and put on my sysadmin hat" into "ok, I'll just click this to
> download the plugin".

If it IS a plugin - something that only this package can use and which
is simply not in Debian but downloaded from some website, then a
non-privileged folder should be used and installation is no more than
downloading a file - ala iceweasel. That becomes quite a complex set of
rules to prevent malware etc. You also have the problems of not being
able to update and upgrade those plugins in any centralised Debian way
so the application then has to take care of that as well. You could end
up with a plugin handler that uses as much code as a small application,
plus a website with SSL to provide the downloads.

If it is a normal Debian package then it needs to be installed in the
normal Debian way.

That makes for a *consistent* user experience which is, IMHO, more
important than making it "one-click".


Neil Williams

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