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An example of how using a package manager makes life easier (on Debian):

apt-get update; apt-get upgrade Updates the local list of which packages are available, finds out which I have that have newer versions, downloads and installs them. I can keep up with security updates by just doing this at regular intervals.

apt-get install fooapp Finds the latest version of fooapp, and all the other packages it depends upon, and downloads (or gets them off CD), and installs them.

apt-get remove fooapp Removes all files relating to fooapp, plus finds if there are any packages that it depends on that are no longer used by anything, and removes them.

OK, so this is Linux so it's done by typing commands, but all three actions could be done by a few menu clicks. I think this is much easier than going to the author's website, downloading an archive, unzipping it, moving the old copy out of the way, installing the new one, checking if the config file format has changed and so on. It also handles setting up the application better - generating default keys, config file wizards ('do you want black or white backgrounds in Zap?') and so on.

Perhaps the RO method might be augmented by a module that logged when applications were moved around by sitting on a vector, so that the user can move apps around and the package manager can still keep track of them. There's the risk of getting out of sync of course, but a rescan of the disc gets around this in the worst case (scheduled for 2am maybe?). So applications initially get installed somewhere central, and the user can move them around if they really want to.

 is a RISC OS Usercaliston2 on 21/1/04 5:56PM
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