Originally Published: Saturday, 25 March 2000 Author: Daniel B. Hemmerich
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Headaches Installing Software?

Have you ever been frustrated while attempting to install Apache, qmail, or even SSH? Installing software, even widely used software, can cause major headaches for people who do not use Linux for a living.

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Have you ever been frustrated while attempting to install Apache, qmail, or even SSH? Installing software, even widely used software, can cause major headaches for people who do not use Linux for a living. My computer use is limited to two operating systems: Linux and FreeBSD. They obviously have several differances and they each have their own pros and cons. However, something FreeBSD excels at, which Linux completely lacks, is something called a ports section.

This ports section is basically a collection of Makefiles, as well as patches and documentation, of the world's most commonly used software on Unix. It allows you to simply go to the program you want to install's directory, say apache13, and type: make install -- and boom, your system is setup with Apache. You obviously still have to tweak the configuration file, but it eliminates several hassles such as finding the software. Well, Apache is easy to find, but you get the idea.

While FreeBSD is not as popular as Linux, making it much more needed for FreeBSD, all Linux users could still greatly benefit from the Linux community pulling together and developing a similiar ports section for Linux. I remember installing qmail for the first time on Slackware a few years back. What can I say but uggg. After losing much of my hair, and several gallons of coffee later, I got it. When I first installed FreeBSD on another system a few months ago, and attempted to install qmail, it was extremely easy.

I can sit here all day blabbering about how Linux should do this and that, but I would like to take action as well. I will soon put up a Web site at my home domain about this, but until then, if you are interested in getting this going and would like to volounteer your time for the Linux community, please e-mail me at daniel@linux.com. Hopefully with the work of a handful of dedicated Linux users, we will soon have an easy way to install -- properly install -- software packages. A friend of mine, Allen Hoorfar, has already signed up to help.

Daniel B. Hemmerich (daniel@linux.com) is an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University majoring in computer science. On the side he writes weekly as a contributing editor for Linux.com. He also enjoys coding mostly in C in his spare time.





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