Announcement: One Click Installer

Krzysztof Lichota krzysiek at
Mon Aug 6 22:14:57 UTC 2007

Conrad Knauer napisaƂ(a):
>> The problem:
>> - Users coming from Windows (and in general beginners) want installation
>> of applications to be as easy as possible. Download, Next, Next, Done
>> kind of experience.
> Individual DEB files installed with Gdebi provide this sort of thing
> currently (e.g. try

Yes, but many applications consist of more than one package.
Example from the top of
  X-Moto 0.3.2
Download: xmoto (1.0 Mb) , xmoto-data (6.9 Mb)

User must install 2 packages, in proper order, or the installation will
fail. It also does not support security upgrades as you install deb, not

By combining with One Click Installer you can
create great online software repository, exactly what I hope to become
So thanks for pointing it out, I will contact them to see if they are

>> - If you start talking about command line and adding keys, repositories,
>> etc. you have lost them. They will not understand and they will not
>> _want_ to dig into technical details.
> It sounds like this step should be improved then; maybe a GUI tool to
> add the most popular repositories? (e.g. I added Kubuntu's
> "kde-latest", Medibuntu, Wine, Miro, Opera, VirtualBox and Google)

Average user is not interested in "repository" concept, as I tried  to
explain in my post. They do not want understand why it is needed and
they should not be forced to. It is technical detail.

>> - There is plenty of packaging formats used on Linux and average users
>> do not want to know the differences between them, they just want to
>> install application.
> In my experience, almost everything I ever wanted has been available
> as a DEB.  

You miss my point. There are DEBs for Debian based distros, RPMs for
RedHat based distros, ebuilds for Gentoo, etc. User does not want to be
shown a page: "please choose your packaging format: deb, rpm, ebuild,
etc." because he does not understand what is the difference and he does
not care. It should work.

>> Package installation applications (Synaptic, Adept) and apt repositories
>> do not solve the problem for the following reasons:
>> 1. Repositories must be added manually and this exceeds skills of
>> average Windows user. Keys must be added also and repositories updated.
>> Too many steps, too difficult.
> Solve this! :-)
> Seriously, this is the problem that needs a good solution.

Well, I have solved it in One Click Installer - it automatically adds
repository and key, then installs selected packages.

>> 2. Users are not used to going to package management application to
>> install application. They want to click link on application web page,
>> download, run, Next, Next, etc.
> Ack!
> What you are describing, as a general practice rather than as the
> occasional procedure for a DEB, is a return to the ugly and slow way
> of doing things that I left far behind in Windows.  Please no!
> Synaptic (and similar, e.g. gnome-app-install) in Ubuntu work so
> nicely with so little fuss.

You are free to continue using Synaptic if it suits you, One Click
Installer files do not affect that.

>> 3. Package management applications are too bloated with features and
>> contain thousands of applications.
> Generally speaking, if a program has good defaults, a user won't mess
> with more advanced features...  Synaptic doesn't seem overly complex
> to me though.  Maybe I am just very used to it :)  Also, complaining
> that there are too many apps in Synaptic is like complaining that
> there are too many books in a library! ;)

I am not complaining that there are too many books, but that it is not
convenient for users to find them according to their criteria. And no -
adding search with Boolean operators is not what I am talking about, it
just isn't usable by average users.

> Do remember that "average users" will probably NOT install an
> alternative media player...  Though for basic software installation I
> think a site like gives some good tips.

Exactly. They install apps recommended in software reviews, guides, by
people in forums, etc.

>> Users want to have
>> some context - other users comments, grades, etc.
> gnome-app-install partially does this (popularity stars).  If they
> really want to research a program, users should look on the forums or
> do a Google search.  Grading apps can be rather subjective, ne?  

Exactly. There should be more than one place where apps can be graded
with different angles - sites for begginers, sites for French users
(with taking into account quality/lack of translation), sites for
graphic designers, etc, etc.

> Also,
> think of how big the comments database for the ~20K Ubuntu packages
> would be unless you really moderated it... in which case it would look
> rather like the current description I suspect :)  

That's why it should be split between many web sites, each with
different scope, users, moderators, etc.

>> 4. Application descriptions are in English (I know about DDTP, but AFAIK
>> it does not work). Many users do not know English and they want
>> information about applications in their language, on native portals with
>> applications (like localized Tucows).
> [...]
> I would clearly describe that as a bug, yes, but something like DDTP
> should be the solution.

Should be but I it is not, and I think it will never be, because it is
centralized. Descriptions/grades/etc. cannot be centralized because each
group of people has different criteria. And translation must follow

>> 6. If user is using some other distribution than Debian-based he is even
>>  more in pain, he has to know what package format to use (DEB, RPM, TGZ,
>> Ebuild, ...), what channel (APT, yum, Yast, ZMD, etc.), what distro,
>> which version.
> Um...  how does this affect Ubuntu?  

It affects Ubuntu in this way that when you go to some application site
(let's say Skype), for Linux version you are shown a choice of package
formats/distros, while for Windows you have one/two installers to
choose. If you start looking further you will see that this should be
solved for all Linux distros, not just Ubuntu.

> I note, later on in your e-mail
> that you have in mind basically a front-end for just about any package
> management system.  That's one way towards getting a unified Linux
> package management system, though Mark Shuttleworth comments that "so
> many divergent packaging systems in the free software world (and I
> include the various *bsd's) is a waste of time and energy"

I couldn't agree more. But I cannot solve the problem of common
packaging format, so I am not trying to. The problem of common packaging
format is important from application developer view, because they have
to create many packages. I am trying to solve the problem from user
point of view, so that he does not have to choose from that plethora of

> Also, this is important:
> ---
> Packaging is also one area where we can definitively improve on the
> real user experience for most people who treat computers as a job not
> a passion. It's a strategic tool in the battle between proprietary and
> open approaches. I often think that the proprietary software world's
> way of distributing software is one of its biggest weaknesses - an
> Achilles Heel that we should be exploiting to the full extent
> possible. I'm often asked why Linux can't make it easy to "write
> something like Microsoft Installer, or Installshield". That's the
> wrong rabbithole, Alice. Linux can make it so when you dream of
> databases, PostgreSQL or MySQL are "just there" and "just work".
> That's a much nicer experience - we should make the most of it.

See above, it is about packaging formats, not user experience.

>> Now compare it to installation on Windows - user goes to Google, types
>> "movie player download" or browses some application catalog like Tucows,
>> selects one with best reviews, downloads installer (in most cases he has
>> to choose between installer for Windows 98/ME and installer for Windows
>> 2000/XP), 3 clicks and he is done.
> How is this really different from installing a DEB with gdebi?

It works only on Debian/Ubuntu, only for single deb packages which do
not require additional dependencies. And no security fixes, as this is
not repository.

	Krzysztof Lichota

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