Gah, how I hate Flatpak.

It insists on downloading all the packages I already have installed on my base system anyway, plus insists on installing stuff into the root partition instead into my home diretory.

All sorts of utterly annoying and otherwise avoidable frustrations ensue.

Flatpak and Snap should both just DIAF.

@rysiek There's a flavour of argument over packaging systems and formats which runs:

  • X package format is difficult for software developers to use.
  • Y package format is easy for software developers to use.
  • Therefore Y package format is better than X.

What's not realised is that the fundamental value and benefit to package management is to systems administrators / owners / users, and integrated distributions of packages. And that the major costs of operation and maintenance are not installation, but *operations and maintenance.

"Easy for sofware developers" typically translates to "encourages sloppy and difficult-to-maintain processes and practices". Not only this, but by lowering up-front costs at the expense of long-term costs, the practice further encourages poor practices (from an O&M perspective), and puts well-behaved software at a disadvantage.

See the Debian Project's explicit focus on user benefit, a long-term value benefit.

This is a Jevons Paradox / Gresham's Law crowding out of well-behaved software and a race-to-the-bottom of poor long-term O&M behaviour.

@dredmorbius @rysiek Well behaved software is not at a disadvantage with Flatpak. If software is easy to package in conventional distro package managers, it is easy to package in Flatpak.

@be @dredmorbius If software is easy to package in conventional distro package managers, Flatpak is unnecessary.

@rysiek @dredmorbius It's still helpful for people who choose to run out of date operating systems for whatever reason.

@be, @rysiek and @dredmorbius, I'm pretty sure machines running Debian stable don't need new and shiny software at all. I don't use it for development, but it's installed on all the old stuff I throw around the house and the only thing I need them to do is not breaking every now and then. For software not available in Debian's repo I take full responsibility and install them from source. Even when I'm nowhere near being a professional sysadmin, I have standards and Flatpak and Snap are instantly disqualified for anything I need a mental model of.

@cnx @rysiek @dredmorbius Oh hey, here's a Ubuntu LTS user asking how to install experimental, undocumented new software:

@be @cnx @dredmorbius yes, getting packaging right is hard. Yes, the problem of balancing stability vs. freshness is hard.

But that user chose LTS for a reason. If that reason doesn't hold anymore, one can always move to a fresher version of Ubuntu, for example.

Flatpak and snap are not solutions here, they are hacky work-arounds. In the long run they will, IMVHO, cause more problems than they solve. For one, because they break basic assumptions about how software is installed and run on a given system.

@be @cnx @dredmorbius it's a case of flatpak/snap developers being "so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should", to quote a classic.

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