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GNU/Linux, we need help!

2016-12-18 17:54:18
The biggest issue we have on GNU/Linux system is the question 'How do you (install/run/configure) X on distro Y?' (and often the answer to it).
We have awesome package managers, distros, communities, people, helper tools and infrastructure. But one issue is still not solved: Maintainers / packagers. We desperately need people who work on the actual packages. Now we see curl-pipe-sh, virtual machines, docker, snappy, and a lot of other hardly maintainable, irreproducible bullshit. I remember days when I actually read from ISVs that installation meant './configure && make && make install'. You just needed a toolchain. No fancy tools, nobextra terabytes of disk space and memory, and - well - not even a package manager! The latter, however, does something very excellent: It can handle dependencies and track what you have installed. Awesome! However, the assumption is that people create metadata for it. In every package management system, you need to specify a name, version, dependencies (based on the names others use), and build and install commands. That can become way more complex than make && make install nowadays though: For some distros, patches for locations in file systems are necessary, the overall system's configuration may cause collision (say, certain presets, or basic tools like libav vs ffmpeg, libressl vs openssl, openrc vs systemd, implying even more issues with udev, some other daemons, and what not), etc.. For all this extra work, we need people, and we need endurance, knowledge, and strong opinions to keep things aligned. Arch Linux is doing very well here, and it's why it's mostly my distro of choice. And it might be the reason why it is now considerable as a major distribution. There are even different flavors of it/Arch-based distros avaiable like the prominent Manjaro, Antergos, Chakra, Alpine, and more, as you can see here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch-based_distributions
Yet these are not officially suppotted by Arch, unlike the Ubuntu GNU/Linux flavors like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lububtu, Edubuntu, etc.. Canonical Ltd. is actively supporting and even QAing/testing this whole family. Both ways are ok in my view. One means focus (they main driving principle behind are is KISS after all), the other one means looking at the big picture and being omnipresent.
Now still the aforementioned big issue is not solved. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, a cocktail or a beer, calm down, and please, help us out! It does not matter which distro or desktop you prefer to use. :) <3