[maemo-users] Steve's Ranty Review #1: N800 ogg support

From: Marius Vollmer marius.vollmer at nokia.com
Date: Thu Oct 18 20:16:51 EEST 2007
"ext Steve Greenland" <steveg at moregruel.net> writes:

> According to Marius Vollmer  <marius.vollmer at nokia.com>:
>> Can you give more information about how the AM is slower than apt-get?
>> Do you need to perform too many clicks in the UI to get your task
>> done, or do you have to wait longer until it has downloaded and
>> installed the packages?
> Mostly it's the clicking/browsing issue.

Ok, understood.  This seems to be the general "I am much more
productive at the command line than with a WIMP interface" situation.
I can very much symphatize with that, but it mostly means that the
Application Manager is not for you.

It is perfectly fine and supported to use apt-get on the device.
Having apt-get on the device is not just some artifact, it's the
intended power-user interface that makes it acceptable for us to keep
the Application Manager pretty basic.

I am happy that the AM seems to be good enough that some hackers
actually consider using it instead of apt-get or Synaptic, but UI-wise
it only really is intended to manage smallish bundles of packages that
make up applications.  Activating the "show all packages" setting in
red-pill mode is pretty much useless with its UI, for example.

(My standard settings are: don't show all packages, don't show
dependencies, but show magic:sys.  That keeps the lists short and I
still can update the hidden packages.)

> Also, the waiting for the lists to update in the UI.

Yes, there is potential for optimization here.

> I was going to complain that the AM didn't show what new dependencies
> were going to be installed by a particular package, but I just looked,
> and there *is* a tab with that info. Is that a new with the recent
> firmware upgrade, or was I just blind before?

That info was always there (since IT OS 2006).

> It would be nice if the AM would allow you to re-configure (in the
> dpkg sense) a partially installed app, without requiring an
> uninstall/reinstall. Probably an appropriate label would be "try to
> fix broken packages".

Yeah, except we don't want to have a magic "Try to fix things" button
in the UI.  We are planning to silently reconfigure packages
automatically to unbreak them.  This will get more important when we
support updating system packages, which you obviously can't
remove+install to unbreak them.

> Oh, and while you're reading: it would be *really nice* to have
> dependency tracking, like aptitude. This means that when you install
> foo, and it requires bar and baz, and you later remove foo, the tool
> remembers that bar and bas were automatically installed only to
> support foo, and removes those as well (assuming no other package
> also needs bar or baz, of course). The latest apt suite has this
> built in, so maybe it wouldn't be too hard?

The Application Manager should actually do this (since IT OS 2006).
However, it keeps its own information about packages that have been
installed to satisfy dependencies (since our version of apt doesn't
and I was not brave enough to fix libapt-pkg itself).  Thus, it will
only automatically remove a package that it has installed itself.  (In
other words, it is conservative when removing things.  Not like
aptitude that goes and deletes half your OS if you are not
careful.. :)

There is no explicit "autoremove" action.  Rather, invisible packages
are automatically removed together with the visible packages that
depend on them.

Check /var/lib/osso-application-installer/autoinst to see which
packages are eligible for automatic removal.  I want to let libapt-pkg
do the book keeping in the next release, of course.

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