[Pkg-owncloud-maintainers] I am using distro packages and I tell you why

Jos Poortvliet jospoortvliet at gmail.com
Wed Jan 6 11:28:43 UTC 2016

On Tuesday 05 January 2016 18:35:59 Martin Steigerwald wrote:
> Am Dienstag, 5. Januar 2016, 15:24:49 CET schrieb Jos Poortvliet:
> > On Tuesday 05 January 2016 11:25:42 Martin Steigerwald wrote:
> > > Am Dienstag, 5. Januar 2016, 09:23:22 CET schrieb Jos Poortvliet:
> […]
> > > Okay, for now, I think it is not of much use to discuss the details here.
> > > 
> > > I do think there we have a fundamental common ground in viewpoint that the
> > > current situation can be improved upon,
> > 
> > Do note that we would want to improve our packaging, too - right now that is
> > very hard for various reasons. Some internally, some external.
> While on reading your answer I, again, felt the urge to reply immediately, I 
> also noticed that my mind is still processing it by the amount of thought 
> processes around it I perceived.
> For best results I let it sit for a while to allow for conscious and 
> unconscious processing of your answer(s) to complete before I reply. This is 
> no sign of disregarding your answer.


I've been thinking too (yeah, hurts, luckily my head ain't that big) and - well, you asked for concrete needs.

I guess, in general, there's a lot the distributions could do to ease deployment needs for customers/users of a variety of projects.

Let's take a totally random example, a not entirely obscure php web app: Wordpress.
Lots of firms have design companies run their website, make them look pretty and all that. Those folk aren't pro sysadmins, they are ppl who just get things to work. Git is probably already a dirty word (speaking from experience). Now you might not want these people to ever come near a computer, but in reality I bet the majority of websites is run this way. So Wordpress is installed with a tarball because you can easily install and update plugins and even wp itself from the web interface, or hack the theme and stuff like that.

How could distro's make this easier and more secure? Perhaps offer a cross-distribution way where Wordpress can tell the distro what plugin to fetch, or let users trigger an upgrade via the web UI. You can patch wordpress to disable the webUI upgrade, forcing most users to the tarball method, of course...

In our case, ownCloud wants to offer release channels, we want to offer the ability to easily install ownCloud apps, including (if enabled) experimental apps. What could be done to make that better and safer? Have most folders read-only but allow web apps in one part to be read-write? Let the webUI where you can select release channels handle switching repositories?

And it isn't just installing php app plugins. Tools like pip and gem, rvm, npm - they work around distro's too. That must be for a reason, right? I see distro's package some of these modules, which of course doesn't help with most web apps as they need a specific version, and different for different apps. Yeah, stupid web app developers, I agree. But don't get excited, when I hear those web app developers say 'stupid distribution packagers' I also agree. I'm easy like that.

I'm sure my ideas suck, to get actually good ideas you probably need to fetch web app developers and distribution packagers. But it's hard to get them to talk even within a company, well, talking works, yelling goes easier unfortunately.

I'm sure you can imagine my blog was triggered by the web developers, not the packagers in ownCloud; I don't come up with stuff like that on my own. From what I can tell, the sysadmins and packagers mostly side with you guys.

There must be people thinking what could be done to bring these worlds closer together, thinking beyond the "put hands over ears and scream LALA I can't hear you" I mean.

Sorry for the long mail. If you don't mind I'll try to make myself stop talking and thinking about this as we won't be solving this here. I just hope some ppl who DO have more clue will think about this. Or we have to rely on containers and npm/bower/maven/rvm and stuff being a fad.


> Thank you,

PS I just love how 'package managers' are defined here:

Should be cringe-worthy. At least it made me wonder if the author knows apt.

Everything I do and say is based on my view of the world today. I am not responsible for changes in the world, nor my view on it. Everything I say is meant in a positive and friendly way, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
find me on blog.jospoortvliet.com
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