Looking at Package Management for Karmic or Karmic+1
eapache at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 22:19:35 UTC 2009
While apt, synaptic, update-manager, and gnome-app-install all do decent
jobs of providing front-ends for package management, there are a few issues
and common feature requests which bear taking a look at. This is a strawman,
so feel free to rip it apart as necessary.
All three of the GUIs currently use modal dialogues for the actual
download/install process, and this is considered a usability issue AFAIK
(I'm not a usability expert by any stretch of the imagination, please
correct me if I'm wrong). I believe most people would like to be able to
continue browsing available applications, or reading changelogs of updates
while the packages are downloading and installing.
Synaptic runs fully as root. Unless there is a specific reason not to,
should it not be migrated to PolicyKit?
The ability to start an install process, and then decide to queue another
app to install / update after the first is finished.
Starting the install process in parallel with the download process as soon
as the first packages are finished downloading. (I got this idea from
brainstorm, but I can no longer find the relevant idea.)
I'm not sure what we ought to be changing or replacing, but I would think we
want to write a replacement for apt as the backend, and a replacement for
whatever provides the progress-bar in the GUI?
The backend would accept regular apt-style commands, and would take care of:
- determining the optimal order for download to allow parallel download and
- seperating the download and install processes and running them in parallel
- queuing new commands separately by download and by install
- if a new command requires a download, and the old command has
finished downloading, start the download for the new command right away even
if the old command is still installing
- if a new command counters an old command that is still queued (eg
remove a package that hasn't actually been installed yet), remove both
commands from the queue.
The front end would display two progress bars, one for download and one for
installation. It would also display a queue of what's to come (perhaps with
little Xs to cancel something if you change your mind). It would be a
seperate window in it's own right, perhaps with the ability to minize to
This means that you could:
1. open update-manager
2. open gnome-app-install
3. start an update with update-manager
4. start installing an app with gnome-app-install
5. read the changelogs for the updates in update-manager
6. close update-manager
7. browse through other applications in gnome-app-install
8. close gnome-app-install
And through the entire process, the actual download/install would be
happening in an entirely seperate window, affected only by steps 3 and 4.
And that's the concept. Again, this is a strawman, so criticizm is welcome.
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