Re: Software Install/Config via WWW

Daniel W. Connolly (
Tue, 20 Sep 1994 22:27:57 -0500

In message <>, David Bianco writes:
>Daniel W. Connolly writes:
> >
> > Wow! Software install/config over the web! Fantastic!
> >
> > And it works! (I just tried it out... smooth and easy.)
> >
>If you like this, you may also be interested in (plug plug)
>"Cicero: A Package Installation System for an Integrated Computing

Yes... it is interesting.

+ it seems well-thought out. It includes digital signatures
for packages

- if you're not part of the aforementioned "Integrated Computing
Environment" you're somewhat out of luck. The system seems
to depend on all machines using the same absolute paths for
locating software packages.

- You have to have root access to install a package.

I posted a note on one of the linux newsgroups about this, but
I guess I'll say it here:

I'd like to be able to install a package:

* on a per-user basis, in $HOME somewhere

* on a per-group basis, in some group-writable directory

* on a per-host basis, in /usr/local or some such
(root priv. required)

* on a per-site basis, in some nfs-exported directory
or some such

Further, I'd like to install a package on a per-user basis, test
it out, and then upgrade it to a per-group/host/site installation
without much hassle.

It's really a shame that a software distribution can't be just
unpacked anywhere in the filesystem and work properly. A unix
executable can't reliably find the directory where it lives
to find config files.

Mac applications can do it, but then there's the question of
per-session, per-invocation, per-user configuration and such.

Here's a real nightmare example: on a DOS box, a hard disk
was partitioned into C and D drives. lots of software lived
on each partition. Lots of windows program icons had hard-coded
D:\... paths. A second hard disk was installed. DOS, in its
infinite wisdom, henceforth refers to two partitions on the new
disk as D: and F:. The original disk is now C: and E:. The
software has magically migrated from D: to E:, so the
windows program icon files are out of sync, and they have to
be fixed manually -- the only reliable way to do it is to
reinstall all the apps.

What a mess!

Does anybody know how software installation works in the new
CDE/COSE systems?