News Flash: If Your ISV Doesn’t Support Your OS, Software Installation is Tricky

Ian Murdock, the founder (and second syllable) of the Linux operating system Debian, is sounding off about his displeasure with software installation on Linux.

For instance, he cites the install procedure for Sun’s Java Studio Creator.  On Windows, you double click the exe. On Linux, make the install script executable, run it to extract an RPM, and install that RPM–if, of course, your Linux distro supports RPM, which many, such as Ubuntu Linux, do not.

The trouble of course is that while supporting Windows means supporting one OS, supporting Linux means supporting a potentially unlimited number of OSes built atop the Linux kernel.

The answer?  Ask your ISV to support your Linux OS properly, preferably by making available a network repository with binaries packaged for your particular OS.  If enough other customers use the same OS as you, maybe it’ll work.

For a cleaner, broader, easier answer, I’m looking forward to reading Murdock’s followup post, which he’s said will be a summary of the goings-on at the Linux Standard Base group’s recent software packaging summit.