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Re: Packaging Octave for Windows and OS X (was: writing integer with fwr

From: Joe Koski
Subject: Re: Packaging Octave for Windows and OS X (was: writing integer with fwrite)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 13:19:13 -0700
User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

on 12/14/04 11:56 AM, John W. Eaton at address@hidden wrote:

> On 14-Dec-2004, Joe Koski <address@hidden> wrote:
> | Some personal observations. The Fink project has at least two major issues
> | that need to be resolved before it is useful to the casual user. First, the
> | "stable" releases are usually very old, and the "unstable" release and
> | octave-forge have to be built from source with the fink supplied make file
> | equivalents (no time saving). Second, fink is not as user friendly as a UNIX
> | make file, especially if you are trying to install "unstable" items.
> | 
> | With fink you are fighting for server connection time with people
> | downloading OpenOffice, games, gimp, etc. There is one poor harried person
> | who tries to answer the multitude of new user questions, and that person
> | usually just points to an unrecognizable FAQ on the large list. There is
> | also the issue of installing and managing the fink software on your system
> | in their separate /sw directory of files, where programs are compatible with
> | each other, but often incompatible with stuff that lives in /usr and
> | /usr/local.
> I think the solution to these problems is to provide more resources
> for the Fink project.  If people want things to get better, they have
> to help out in some way.  Debian would have been dead long ago if
> people had waited for Ian to do everything.
> | Another personal opinion. Since Linux and OS X share gcc, gnu make, and
> | (more recently) the bash shell, creating a make file that would work for
> | both sytems should not be that difficult. Admittedly, Apple doesn't help by
> | constantly tweaking gcc and OS X to get ready for 64 bit computing (Tiger).
> Don't most systems that use Autoconf configure scripts come close to
> this already?
> | The common Linux/OS X make file approach for the "you probably want this
> | one" versions of octave and octave-forge on sourceforge would be my vote for
> | a "Mac friendly" installer of octave.
> It seems to me that it would be more effective to improve Fink and
> wrap apt-get (or whatever the Fink package system uses) in a "Mac
> friendly" way rather than re-inventing an installer for every package.

OK, some final remarks, and I'll shut up.

The standard way of installing software on the Mac is with the .dmg file
which is very user friendly and seen by almost all Mac users at one time or
another. Thanks to Per Persson, there are now .dmg files for both
gnuplot-4.0 and AquaTerm. That would be the ideal solution for octave and
octave-forge too, but would require a personal commitment from someone more
familiar with the Mac OS than myself. I understand that this is
fundamentally a resources problem for a limited number of Mac octave users.

My thought is that fink is a well-intentioned band-aid fix, somewhat like
Cygwin on Windows. The difference is that Cygwin is necessary because
Windows is very different from UNIX, while OS X and Linux are already close
cousins. (I recently successfully built octave and octave-forge on a Red Hat
box, through the use of my Mac UNIX knowledge.) Yes, autoconf should work on
Macs, but it often doesn't, and it takes a knowledgeable person to figure
out why. I would be willing to fight through it, but I would need some
serious backup from some "Mac gurus."

It's a matter of where limited resources are wisely spent. I vote for
exploiting the Mac-Linux similarities over creating separate ad hoc fixes
via well-intentioned, but overly-complicated systems such as fink.

Enough said. I agree with you underlying premise of doing something rather
than just complaining. The expression that "there is no such thing as a free
lunch" also applies to free software.


> jwe
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.
> Octave's home on the web:
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