[PC-BSD Pbi-dev] Some PBI design questions

Damjan Jovanovic damjan.jov at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 12:23:31 PDT 2011


In my analysis of several third-party packaging systems (attached),
I've rated PBI very favourably, in that you've cleverly solved several
problems that have plagued others for years.

I have some comments and questions though:

>From what I see, a package cannot depend on other packages. This isn't
a problem in simple cases, where a program uses a library - a private
copy of that library can be bundled with the program in the package.
But what about more complex integration scenarios? For example, in
PC-BSD 8.2, Firefox is a PBI package. But Wine, Eclipse and OpenOffice
each embed Firefox to parse and/or render HTML. Are you going to ship
each of those packages with an independent, privately bundled Firefox?

What about dependencies on GUI libraries, for example GTK for Gnome
applications or Qt for KDE applications? Will PC-BSD >= 9 always have
those pre-installed?

Your desktop integration, while dealing with many of the
freedesktop.org standards (desktop shortcuts, menu entries, icons,
MIME types) and symlinking binary files into some /bin directory,
unavoidably leaves mountains of stuff unintegrated: libraries, man
pages, info pages, DBUS services, pkgconfig entries, fonts, autostart
entries, and just endless other stuff. Instead of patching the PBI
tools to deal with each of those - an endless task since new software
will just keep adding more - why not simply union-mount the
directories under the /usr/pbi hierarchy somewhere where all the
different tools look, such as /usr?

You have a single-sized PNG per PBI file. Wouldn't it be better if you
had an SVG file, or at least a table of PNGs at different sizes? Also
in PC-BSD 9, do file managers thumbnail PBI files?

Some of the methods pbi-manager uses to parse PBI files scare me (eg.
you rely on "___PBI_ICON__" not to appear in the compressed data), but
I've seen worse...

Otherwise thank you, after watching Linux deteriorate on the desktop
for years, [PC-]BSD has given me new hope :-)
Damjan Jovanovic
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