Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

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Trevor Philips
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Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Trevor Philips »

xenopeek wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:06 am

[*]Tarballs: A tarball is usually the compressed source code of your program, which you need to compile first in order to be able to use it (sometimes it is instead an archive with the already compiled source code, see the next section). These can be trickier to install, but it becomes easier after you have done it a few times. The first thing you need to do is to navigate to the location of the tarball, double-click it, and extract it contents.

Now that the tarball is unpacked you need to go through the contents until you find a file that is called "INSTALL" (alternatively you may need to check the "README" or even the program's website). In this file you should find directions on how to install your particular package. It should also tell you what the dependencies are. First check to see if you have the dependencies installed. If you are missing any check the Software Manager to see if they are there and of the correct versions. If so install them, if not you have another .deb or tarball to download. If you have them all you will now want to continue reading through the file until you find the directions on how to install. The usual way is to browse to the extracted directory and select File > Open in Terminal, and there run:

Code: Select all

./configure
make
sudo make install
If you install it thus, you can't uninstall the program from the Software Manager. Therefore it is highly recommended to first install the program checkinstall (sudo apt-get install checkinstall), which will allow you to uninstall tarballs from the Software Manager. Replace the last "sudo make install" of the instructions with the following to add an uninstallation option in the Software Manager:

Code: Select all

sudo checkinstall
[/list]

It is really sad to see this continues to be a thing in Linux world. If the Linux community is interested in Linux becoming usable to more people outside IT/ sysadmin circles they would do well to move away from this. No casual user is going to jump through all these hoops, especially when there is no real standard... one-click installers is the only way!

I have repeatedly tried to get into Linux in the last decade and every time the issue of installing software has driven me away. Almost every time I wanted to install something I would be given a tarball file with no instructions. I just want to get things done and don't enjoy spending my time tinkering. I don't want to try to decode a github page and then figure out why I cannot find the dependencies (moved, missing, whatever) , or why there are no installation instructions on the download page. Far too many Linux developers continue to use this very user - unfriendly format and it makes me wonder whether there is an elitist culture in the Linux scene that doesn't actually want casual/ non-techy persons to get into Linux... security via obscurity? :(

Is it really that time consuming for developers to package their apps or drivers in an installer?
If you install it thus, you can't uninstall the program from the Software Manager. Therefore it is highly recommended to first install the program checkinstall (sudo apt-get install checkinstall), which will allow you to uninstall tarballs from the Software Manager. Replace the last "sudo make install" of the instructions with the following to add an uninstallation option in the Software Manager:


I really don't get why the user needs to do enable this basic stuff manually. Why isn't this built-in ? :?:

Thanks for the helpful post though!
Last edited by karlchen on Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Split off from this thread: https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=97158 , How to install software on Linux Mint
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Schultz
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Schultz »

There is such a thing as "one click installers." They are usually .deb files. It's up to the app makers how they want to distribute their product. And most types of apps are available through the repos anyway, so I fail to see the problem here.
Trevor Philips wrote:
Is it really that time consuming for developers to package their apps or drivers in an installer?
If they want to make sure it would work with all the hundreds of different Linux distros, then the answer is yes.
Rocky Bennett
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Rocky Bennett »

I am an avid Windows fan-boy and casual Linux user and I have never had any problems installing software on Linux, especially Linux Mint. I just use the software installer or I go to the developer's website and download a .deb file and just double click.

It is easy-peasey to install software on Linux Mint.
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JerryF
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by JerryF »

There are drivers that sometimes need to be installed and have complicated instructions for the average user.

It would be nice to be able to have an easier way to install such things.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by ugly »

I find that it's pretty rare that you need to install something from source. There's usually a PPA available.

I think that installing from source is a problem that Windows users fall into pretty easily. I did the same thing when I switched to Linux. The temptation is to want to have programs that are pretty close to exactly what you're used to on Windows. So instead of using the programs that are readily available and easy to install, new users tend to search all over the place for the closest match to what they were used to using. And that leads to finding poorly documented projects that are difficult to install for a new user.

There are usually alternative programs available that are easy to install, either directly from the software manager or following simple instructions to get a PPA. The important thing is to embrace the fact that some programs will be a little different from what you're used to. But that's not a bad thing. Sometimes developers make a program work differently for a good reason.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by ZakGordon »

Rocky Bennett wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:43 pm
......I have never had any problems installing software on Linux, especially Linux Mint. I just use the software installer or I go to the developer's website and download a .deb file and just double click.

It is easy-peasey to install software on Linux Mint.
Right at the start when i first started using Linux Mint, i had not understood that the software sphere in which Linux Mint (and maybe other distros?) worked was different compared to Windows. In Windows you go to a source (any place on the internet) and download an .exe file (usually) and that installs something on Windows.

With Linux Mint you have an in-built source for known working software, the Software Manager (via LM 'start' Menu>System>Software Manager etc). This holds most of the software you might want to use on Linux Mint, and it works simply my clicking on stuff to 'install'. No messing in tarbells or any stuff like that.

And yes if you need to look outside the Software Manager you also have those .deb files that work more or less like an .exe file does on Windows. Linux IS getting better :) But you can also make it as complicated as you like ;)
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by kukamuumuka »

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=97158
SECTION ONE - THE RECOMMENDED WAY
The recommended way is using the Software Manager as this automatically downloads and installs not only your program, but also the program's dependencies (libraries or other programs needed for the program to run) and recommended programs (like add-ons) [note: Mint 17 no longer automatically installs recommended programs, that's for you to decide on whether to install or not]. The Software Manager calls it "packages". You can also uninstall programs easily from the Software Manager (installed programs have a green checkmark on their icon, in the Software Manager).

Any programs you install from the Software Manager are downloaded from central software repositories (the default repositories for Linux Mint hold well over 60,000 programs), and any security updates or bugfixes to those programs are all handled automatically by the Update Manager.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by TheNomad »

I agree with the main points in this "rant". The thing is that most software in the repos / software manager are hopelessly outdated, which means in average 2 years old or older, containing bugs that have been removed in newer versions. Sometimes there is an Appimage, a Flatpak or a PPA, but not always. We users often see warnings not use PPAs since they in many cases are "unofficial" and a "security risk". Often there are permission and other issues with Flatpak and the packages take far too much space (2,6 GB), then the only alternative is compiling from source. The main issue, it seems, is here the Software Manager. If it had the recent stable versions available, all problems could be solved.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Pjotr »

TheNomad wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:23 am
The main issue, it seems, is here the Software Manager. If it had the recent stable versions available, all problems could be solved.
God, no. :shock:

Give me a fixed release anytime:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... 2.html#ID3
(item 3)
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by smurphos »

TheNomad wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:23 am
The main issue, it seems, is here the Software Manager. If it had the recent stable versions available, all problems could be solved.
What you are looking for is a distro with a rolling release model, i.e. that basically always has the latest versions of software available shortly after release. Manjaro (based on Arch) is probably the most user friendly of the rolling release model distros. However (and it's a big however) be prepared for things to break and occasionally to break badly. Also the library of maintained software in rollling release distros is normally much smaller than that available for the point release model distros such as Mint / Ubuntu / Debian as it's a lot of work to continuously build and test the package base you will end up reliant on the Arch equivalent of PPA's, the AUR to find some software.

Personally with judicious use of PPA's and third party repos, a couple of things updated from bionic-backports, and one or two straightforward installations from Github I don't have any problems with the software available in MInt. The only app I've had to build from source due to non-availability in any other way is an obscure tool for making thumbnail icons for cursor themes.

Flatpaks are a solution albeit with occasional drawbacks - sure the first couple installed take up a lot of space, but as they share resources subsequent flatpak installs are much smaller in footprint.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by cliffcoggin »

TheNomad wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:23 am
I agree with the main points in this "rant". The thing is that most software in the repos / software manager are hopelessly outdated, which means in average 2 years old or older,
If you want the latest version of any software you should not be using Mint, which is deliberately based on tried, tested, and above all stable software.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Hoser Rob »

Yet another ill informed noob rant. If you don't like nnstalling tarballs, don't. The last thing I installed by compiling and building from one of those was a backported wireless driver, whiah I DID need, and that was years ago. Shame that in all your attempts you never actually attempted to learn something about Linux.

Having to enter a password to install isn't a bug, it's a feature. If Windows just adopted that, the virus problem would pretty much go away. Amazing how all these Windows 'experts' don't know this. And of course, all those Windows support people who DO know like it that way, viruses are what puts the Corn Flakes on the table for them.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Moem »

Hoser Rob wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:20 am
Having to enter a password to install isn't a bug, it's a feature.
No one mentioned that in this topic, so I'm not sure where that came from.
Also you haven't mentioned 'backwards compatibility' yet... are you sure you're okay? :wink:
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Portreve »

I'm not really sure if I should take the OP's rant seriously, or wonder if he's just trolling.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Srdjan »

Flatpaks are a solution albeit with occasional drawbacks - sure the first couple installed take up a lot of space, but as they share resources subsequent flatpak installs are much smaller in footprint.
I was not aware of this, thanks :)
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by MurphCID »

Trevor Philips wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:51 pm
It is really sad to see this continues to be a thing in Linux world. If the Linux community is interested in Linux becoming usable to more people outside IT/ sysadmin circles they would do well to move away from this. No casual user is going to jump through all these hoops, especially when there is no real standard... one-click installers is the only way!

I have repeatedly tried to get into Linux in the last decade and every time the issue of installing software has driven me away. Almost every time I wanted to install something I would be given a tarball file with no instructions. I just want to get things done and don't enjoy spending my time tinkering. I don't want to try to decode a github page and then figure out why I cannot find the dependencies (moved, missing, whatever) , or why there are no installation instructions on the download page. Far too many Linux developers continue to use this very user - unfriendly format and it makes me wonder whether there is an elitist culture in the Linux scene that doesn't actually want casual/ non-techy persons to get into Linux... security via obscurity? :(

Is it really that time consuming for developers to package their apps or drivers in an installer?
If you install it thus, you can't uninstall the program from the Software Manager. Therefore it is highly recommended to first install the program checkinstall (sudo apt-get install checkinstall), which will allow you to uninstall tarballs from the Software Manager. Replace the last "sudo make install" of the instructions with the following to add an uninstallation option in the Software Manager:


I really don't get why the user needs to do enable this basic stuff manually. Why isn't this built-in ? :?:

Thanks for the helpful post though!
ABSOLUTELY!
Last edited by Moem on Wed Mar 04, 2020 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Trimmed a quote. No need to quote a pagefull, and then add only one word.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by MurphCID »

Pjotr wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:27 am
TheNomad wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:23 am
The main issue, it seems, is here the Software Manager. If it had the recent stable versions available, all problems could be solved.
God, no. :shock:

Give me a fixed release anytime:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... 2.html#ID3
(item 3)
Agreed, I don't want bleeding edge, I want stable, and predictable.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by rjsrjs »

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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by Portreve »

What this thread's original post reminds me of is Americans' reactions to Aldi which Kelly of the YouTube channel Kelly does her thing documented to particular effect in this video.
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Re: Rant on "How to install software on Linux Mint"

Post by RollyShed »

Portreve wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:49 pm
What this thread's original post reminds me of is Americans' reactions to Aldi which Kelly of the YouTube channel Kelly does her thing documented to particular effect in this video.
You pay to use a shopping trolley!!!! You PAY to use a shopping trolley!!!!! Who would do that here when there are 2 or 3 supermarkets each close by and trolleys are free to use. OK, you get it back eventually if.....

OK, across the ditch (the Tasman Sea for any geographers) they have Aldi and yes they pay but I don't see it working here.

Unless you have a Shed and punch out some disks the right size, which is what some (of us?) would do.... wouldn't they. !!!
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