Taking MintInstall to the next level

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Taking MintInstall to the next level

Postby rahim » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:45 am

Hello all,

I live in an area where broadband internet access is extremely expensive and unreliable, and even phone lines are hard to come by. I currently do have broadband that lets me download at the phenomenal rate of 15 KB/s which costs.... $60/month! But I am going to be moving to an area where I will not have broadband, and I probably won't even have a phone line for dialup. So I will be depending on internet cafes for a while at least.

I do use Windows XP, and the #1 reason I like Windows is because I can download a program off the internet, install it, and it work without any additional hassle. Under Linux, it is much more complicated due to the nature of shared libs and re-use of code and helper programs. Unfortunately, Linux's architecture makes it almost impossible for people who don't have reliable internet at home. Why? Because if I go to a friend's house or to a cyber cafe to download programs, I can't just download x-program and put it on my USB drive and install it at home. I have to goto http://packages.ubuntu.com and dig around for the dependencies and download them too. But I can never remember if I have certain libraries and tools installed already. Worse, the dependencies themselves have dependencies. I have tried manually downloading dependencies, but when I get back home, I always find that I have left something out. A better method is needed.

MintInstall is a very nice start, with a web based interface and a single file to download. But obviously it still requires the shared libs and internet access. I think this could be improved for offline users. I am going to list two suggestions in order of difficulty, lowest to highest....

1. Create and distribute add-on CDs (local repositories) using http://aptoncd.sourceforge.net/ . I see that there are several dormant attempts to do this already. It's really quite easy, you just install Linux, install your packages, and then use apt-on-cd to create an ISO.

2. Allow the user to save his local dpgk list of installed packages to a file. Create a web interface that lets him upload his package list. Then create a web interface to the Ubuntu/Mint repos, then lets the user download a single bz2 archive that automatically contains a custom .mint file and all the needed .deb to run the program he chooses. Have the MintInstall file generated on-the-fly, and tell it to use the packages in ./packages, relative to wherever the bz2 is unzipped.

I know I'm not the only one who can't fully use Linux due to the complexity of the package system and the lack of good internet service. There are many millions who use computers but do not have broadband. But virtually all of them have broadband access in other places away from their home. I think these ideas would go a long way to resolving those issues.


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Important Point

Postby grimdestripador » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:24 pm

1) Linux Solution

Provide a mintInstall option to just downlaod without installing, or create a text file of URLs to get.

2) Cyber Cafe'

It would be nice to have an option in mintInstall to just download the packages (and their dependencies' dependencies), and thow it into some container (perhaps tar.gz) for later decompression and installation.

Also. Lets walk though this
Imaginary-Me has a laptop and install mint KDE on it.
I go to a cyber cafe with pendrive in hand. (Assume Paid Kiosk)
You log onto Linux Mint Software and choose among the configurator options that your base system is LinuxMint 3.0 KDE. It would use its magic ability to list the packages needed to install <Insert App Name>.

The online Configurator tells me that i need 3 packages, and gives me their URLs

1) A package named "MintHelpers" that includes Minty helping libraries found among commonly installed "mint software" (essentially upgrade libraries to be like Gnome-desktop from KDE-desktop that was installed)

2) A package named "base <Insert App Name>"

3) A Package named "extras <Insert App Name>"

... the 'extras' would include all the depencies needed to get from the status of "MintHelpers" to having "base <Insert App Name>" installed with no net connection.

PS: I make up words :P
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Postby alexander » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:39 pm

cross platform mintinstall type program on USB would be awesome.

1. Install hypothetical USB program from your home computer, a list of packages from the 'home' computer accompanies the installation.

2. Take your USB pen to any computer with the internet fear not 'hypothetical USB program' is cross platform!

3. Search through packages with hypothetical program, as packages are selected; they and any dependencies needed (remember it has a list of whats on the home computer and whats not) are downloaded to the USB.

4. Hypothetical USB program also uses its list to download any updates available for programs etc. that you have on your 'home' computer.

5. take USB pen home and place it in it's 'home' computer. Hypothetical USB program is clever it just installs all the packages onto your computer and then updates its package list ready for your next foray!


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Postby rahim » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:05 pm

I like it! I wish I was smart enough to implement this, but I'm not! :)

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