In The Armchair

YaST2’s Package Manager

Posted in Computers by Armchair Guy on June 7, 2007

I don’t know much about the internals of SUSE Linux’s Software Management under YaST2. But it’s trivial to see that it is deeply flawed, and that the flaws can be fixed by making a few simple, basic changes.

Integrate the “Installation Source” module with “Software Management”. It is facile to have to switch between two different apps when you’re just trying to install software. The current process is to start Installation Source, specify which sources you want updated, close Installation Source, start Software Management, and the install software. Let’s say that you then want to add a source. You’d have to close Software Management, open Installation Source, add the source and update it, again open Software Management… It’s ridiculously roundabout.

The solution is very simple. Just integrate Installation Sources into Software Management:

  1. Create a pane within Software Management with all of the installation sources.
  2. Add all Installation Source options to a right-click context menu.
  3. For 2. above, make it possible to select multiple sources at a time.
  4. Make it possible to update the packages from any source at any time. Add an “Update Now” button to the context menu.
  5. Make it simple to add a new installation source within Software Management.
  6. Cache the parsed package information so that re-parsing isn’t necessary every time. Re-parse only when an installation source is updated.
  7. Make it possible to view package information (files, etc.) after downloading, without installing the package first.
  8. Do away with the separate installation sources app, or keep it if you wish… doesn’t matter.

These changes alone would massively improve SUSE’s usability to those of us whose major grouch is its package management.

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