[squeak-dev] Re: package universes, sake/packages, (first time) user experiences, etc.

Tim Johnson tjohnson at iwu.edu
Fri Dec 5 19:42:07 UTC 2008

Hear, hear.  This has the makings of a manifesto.  Thus I have quoted  
it in its entirety :)

- TimJ

On Dec 5, 2008, at 1:32 PM, Greg A. Woods; Planix, Inc. wrote:

> I'm glad I'm keeping this topic alive with my bug reports!  :-)
> I must say though that the underlying complexity that shows up here  
> mystifies me somewhat.  I'm guessing there's some kind of politics  
> under the hood that I'm not fully aware of.
> The basic problem for me is that I need the default package  
> management tool, however it might work under the hood, to actually  
> work reliably, 110%, all the time for everyone.
> I.e. there's a button for the user to press in the default  
> 3.10.2-7179-basic package which starts the process and I think it's  
> essential that everything from there work 110%, even if it means  
> that what's available lags somewhat behind the latest and greatest  
> of what's available.
> Also essential is a clean and safe way of upgrading installed  
> packages.  Default error handlers need to be in place to cleanly and  
> safely back out any attempted upgrades which encounter any errors or  
> conflicts.  It would also be nice to have a de-installer and cleanup  
> tools in the package manager too.  Sure one can always start with a  
> fresh image and load everything still wanted from scratch, including  
> one's own local change sets, etc., and doing so has some of its own  
> advantages, but for beginners and _end_ users an uninstaller is  
> pretty much a necessary feature of any package management subsystem.
> The consequences of not having 110% perfection in the initial user  
> experience of loading new packages into the now stripped down basic  
> Squeak image means skeptical users will be driven away in droves.
> Perhaps it would be better to return to a form of the old pre-loaded  
> bloated image, but this time adorn it with tools that would  
> facilitate _unloading_ of unwanted packages by those who want to  
> reduce the bloat.  The last time I forayed with any dedication into  
> the world of Squeak I was actually very happy to have a complete  
> stable distribution image that came with all the available tools and  
> toys already installed and tested.  It meant I could jump right in  
> and play or work with anything and everything.  Now with 3.10 it's  
> almost three weeks since I tried to "upgrade" and I'm still  
> struggling.  I hate to think what any more naive user than I would  
> feel about this experience.
> There are problems with the pre-loaded image though -- looking at  
> what's in the dev image now makes me want to avoid it because it  
> contains some stuff I don't want, stuff which so far as I understand  
> actually changes too much about the environment over and above the  
> default "basic" configuration which want to work with.
> Squeak definitely needs a good strong leader, or at least a cohesive  
> leadership, with a good and hopefully popular vision of where the  
> core is going and how it's going to get there, and I think now with  
> the "basic" default image being one without everything pre-loaded  
> this vision has to stretch out over the basic package management  
> issues too.

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