When a newbie tries his hand in a newly booted up distro, he quite enjoys using the GNU/Linux very much. He feels that it is not as bad as what he thought of the same, when he was a hardcore Microsoft’ie. He says, “hey dude, Linux is not bad man..”
I smile with complete satisfaction, another guy turned on to tux’s side.
I ask him to try the applications which has come out with the distro. He checks out a few things and returns the approval for satisfaction. I leave him to explore further on his own, with a promise to help him if he hits a road-block.
I meet him after a week, perhaps before his best pal, Mr.PC. And to my shock, he runs Windows again. I ask him the reason. He replies, “Dude, i tried to install some cool app man. I had the binary, butt when i tried out installing it, something called as ‘dependency error’ popped out! I tried my best dude, but i was pissed off..”
This is not something written out of imagination. This is reality. I have heard many people complain about ‘Dependecy Error’. Though people accept the reason behind such issues popping up and there is indeed some solution, yet people ask, “I haven’t seen one such thing with Windows, dude”. Righto! Me too! agreed!
This is one of the few issues that still deter Linux from occupying the ‘common-man’s PC use’. An ardent Linux aspirant doen’t mind dependency issues, as me did, and somehow manages to get through the initial but rather steep learning curve. But, whats’ the same with non-computer savvy end user, who wishes to enjoy the benefits of Linux and the Open Source but abhors such issues which turns him back to good old M$.
People give an immediate reply to this, “Use a packet manager like Synaptic, Yum or Apt which takes care of dependencies by itself”. This is a agreable solution as far as standard applications, which are present in a repos are concerned. But what with some 3rd party app, even some famous ones, which get into a lot of dependencies during installation time. A 20MB package might not get installed just because some 40KB dependency file wasn’t there. Doesn’t seem stupid and think of how much the user who downloaded 40MB file ( think in terms of Indian Network Connections, even our broadband provides 30KB transfer max* ). When he cannot install the app after so much patient download, he really gets pissed off.
So, where lies the solution ? Is it the headache of the application/software developer to make it work with commonly available libraries ? Or is it the headache of the distro developer to provide a load of libraries that dependencies are very rare to occur ? Or is the curse on the tux that it has to face for its never-going-to-end life ? Or is it a curse on open source people like us to face the odd and live with it ? People like me, who do a lot of FLOSS awareness creation work require an answer. Will tux be blessed to come out of this curse ??