[Lazarus] cross-distro (and OS) app installation - what would you like?

Juha Manninen juha.manninen at phnet.fi
Wed Jan 20 14:11:35 CET 2010


I am sorry to tell you but your project is doomed to failure with the 
requirements you listed.
In the end you will have a system that "almost works", or works in 85% of the 
cases, and you will be frustrated yourself.

Your idea is not new. Other people have banged their heads to wall as well.
The variation of distros' package formats and directory structures is a bad 
thing of course, but not as bad as it first looks...

> * Linux distro independent setup. Against the normal methods, we do not
>   want to waist time creating .rpm, .deb, .tgz, .tbz etc setups for the
>   thousands of Linux distros out there. Adobe Reader, Jave SDK and JRE
>   are just a few applications that don't follow the package management
>   systems of each distro.

You wouldn't need to build thousands of packages though. The same RPM package 
works for most RPM based distros (but not all), a DEP package works for Debian 
based distros. Package managers have sophisticated dependency checks, 
developed over years. They install needed libs automatically or prevent the 
whole installation. They have GUIs.
With only few packages you would have a long list of supported distros and 
then not support some exotic ones.

About  Adobe Reader and Java installers: they can't count on any dependencies 
but must include everything. We also can't know how much their different OS 
versions differ and how much work has been done to create them.

> We are primarily targeting deployment of Free Pascal based applications,
> but the setup engine should be flexible enough to handle any type of
> application (we hope). :)

"any type of application" for any OS means endless variation.
I suggest you limit the goal to Free Pascal based applications only. There is 
enough challenge with that. Then, how to handle dependencies? You could make 
the system to be distro independent by installing from source code, like 
Gentoo Linux does. Gentoo is complicated because it actually takes care of 
"any type of application". You system would only know where to find sources 
for Pascal libs, download them and build using an embedded FPC compiler. Ok, 
still you need to check the existence of some fundamental system libs but 
there is a bigger chance for success.
That way it would work for any OS and distro, including the exotic and minimal 

Juha Manninen

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