[Rpm-maint] Re: [packaging] RFC: Berlin Packaging API

Thomas Leonard talex5 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 18:14:59 UTC 2008

On 28/02/2008, Edward Welbourne <eddy at opera.com> wrote:
>  > My main objection is that plain old packages rule, and
>  > vendor-supplied installers suck.
> As an ISV's packager, I'd like to point out that maintaining our own
>  installer also sucks:

I know you said previously you were waiting to see what the LSB
decides upon before spending much time looking at the existing
packaging systems, but I assume you've done some preliminary
investigations into the options. Do you have any requirements that
aren't met by Zero Install? I think it's important to specify them,
otherwise you may find this list ends up just reimplementing that ;-)

To go over the points briefly:

>  I'm very keen to see some solution that lets us use something more like a
> "plain old package", and I suspect most ISVs are too.

This is very important. Many people have existing packages that
already work on a wide range of systems. Zero Install "packages" are
just your ordinary .tar.bz2 (or whatever) packages. All you're doing
is adding some computer-readable metadata about them (dependencies,
signatures, etc) in an external file.

For example, Firefox, Blender and Inkscape all work like this: the
package that is downloaded when you use Zero Install is the unmodified
one from the upstream site. I had a brief look at Opera, but the
supplied script does:


so it can only be run when the cwd is the opera package, which is a
bit odd, but it would be easy enough to fix that, I imagine, e.g.:

OPERA_BINARYDIR=`dirname "$0"`/bin/

> That implies being installed by a privileged user, who
>  thus gets to run {pre,post}-{un,}install scripts, which may do
>  pernicious (or incompetent) things.  Make it easier for us to ship
>  packages, that unprivileged users can install, and we'll be happy to
>  let the tools you've provided insist on us living under /opt/.

Zero Install enforces this, of course and doesn't require giving extra
privileges to packages when installing.

I think would be very valuable to hear what requirements you have over
and above what is already supported. Most Zero Install users are ROX
desktop users, so that's where things work most smoothly at the
moment. What do Opera and other programs need? If you need to refresh
your memory about what the problems were:


Dr Thomas Leonard		http://rox.sourceforge.net
GPG: 9242 9807 C985 3C07 44A6  8B9A AE07 8280 59A5 3CC1

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