Jumat, 04 Februari 2011

Simplifying Offline Application Installation on Linux

I love package managers, they are a fantastic tool that allow systems to save space by having libraries shared between multiple applications and allow the system to be easily updated. Something that can be excessively difficult on many Linux systems is installing software on a computer without an internet connection. If you have never had to do this, I've found it typically goes like this -

1.) Acquire a computer with an internet connection

2.) Download the .deb/.rpm package for the application you want to install. Then download the .deb/.rpm package for every dependency for your application. Then download the .deb/.rpm package for every dependency of the dependencies of your application. Rinse and repeat.

3.) Take the tens of package files you have downloaded and bring them over to your offline system with a flash drive.

4.) Install the packages in the correct order so they all configure/setup properly (you remember which packages depend on which other packages right?)

My question is this: Why is this headache necessary? Simple, it isn't!

One of the things the Bodhi team and I have created are neatly packaged offline application installers. These ".bod" files are a combination shell script and tar archive that when run neatly unzip all the necessary dependencies of a given application and then install the program (and it's dependencies) via the system's package manager. What used to be a giant headache has been simplified down to a few clicks and the entering of a password:

What do you think - something interesting/worthwhile?

~Jeff Hoogland

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