One click web based installation UI

Abhradip Mukherjee abhradipmukherjee at
Sun Apr 19 13:23:06 UTC 2009

I presented this idea on GSOC 2009 project from Fedora on similar topic.
Then Toshio Kuratomi replied "Whether or not this accepted for GSOC, there
are some good ideas here.  I think communicating with the PackageKit
developers [1]_  about how your ideas can tie into their ideas for
installing from the web is a good place to start if you want to support
arbitrary installing packages from arbitrary locations.  Talking to me and
other fedora Infrastructure people on the fedora-infrastructure list[2]_ or
#fedora-admin on would be a good starting point if you only
want to let people install packages from official Fedora Repositories." So
here it goes with the parts of the conversation between me and Mr. Toshio

*== Why should we choose you over other applicants? ==*

In choosing me over other applications, you may like the following facts :

·        I am very much passionate about FOSS which you can see from the
name I have given to the network I formed (Passion4Freedom)

·        I have worked in real life FOSS campaigns in educational institutes
and formed a FOSS network in those institutes.

·        I have the knowledge in working with Open Source CMS. This is an
added advantage in web projects like this one.

·        I have knowledge in installing applications on Fedora using .rpm
files and by source compilation as well.

·        I know shell scripting and other Linux programming languages.

·        I have strong knowledge in C and C++ and basic knowledge about STL
and SystemC.

·        I know Java, Servlet, JSP, EJB.

·        I have knowledge on Javascript, HTML, CSS.

·        I have done extensive work on LAMP architechture.

·        I have used online installation services like Klick or Freespire’s
CNR . I also used easy install scripts for various programs

·        I have been using Fedora for past 3 years and I have closely
understood the working of yum.

·        I have done various personal researches on Fedora in VirtualBox
just to understand it better.

·        I am desperate to contribute something useful to my most beloved
distro. I love you Fedora. F8 was my first love and I still love it more
than any other distro.

·        I have already created a website for making installation easy on
fedora (it is on a free server, so it
may be down sometimes, please consider). I hope that this will tell about my
idea in a more clear way.

*== Proposal Description ==*

Here is my proposal in detail:

** An overview of my proposal*

To create an online software archive for Fedora which gives the user a one
click install facility, my approach is based on community contribution.
Instead of going for a synchronized UI for repository, I created a drupal
based website that has an archive of software installer scripts for various
versions of Fedora. The archive is maintained by the community and they
update/comment on the software. The website is indexed and keyword searching
can be used to search the software of choice. The shell scripts are
executable text files with .qi extension. They are made in such a way so
that user can install it by executing just once. The whole archive can be
edited by ever member and any member can upload a new shell script for
installation of any software.

The proposal has been converted to a website already ( ).

The cause for which I did not take up creating UI for repository is also
because I do not have enough technical knowledge about that. If GSOC mentor
provides me that technical guidance I hope it wont be much tough for me as I
have the right passion for freedom.

* * The need I believe it fulfils*

It makes software installation a lot easier to newbies and saves time for
pros. This is a requirement of all Fedora users and this should be
implemented as soon as possible as that will make the usability of Fedora
much more.

** Any relevant experience I have*

·        Experience with Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP.

·        Experience with creation of social networking websites.

·        Experience of creating simple installer shell scripts for fedora

·        Experience with web CMS softwares.

· can be viewed as an effort
along the same path.

** How I intend to implement my proposal*

·        Wiki Style

·        Drupal based

·        Community maintained

·        Downloadable shell scripts with chmod 777

·        1 click install for end users

** A rough timeline for my progress*

·        Depends. If it is to be done in the way I am proposing then Fine
tuning to suit your needs is the only thing left. And that should not take
much time.

·        If I have to build it as a synchronized UI to the repository then
as I do not have enough technical knowledge on synchronizing with repo, I am
not being able to estimate the timeline very well

·        But, as a whole I can assure you that with the fire for freedom and
fedora within me, it will be easily converted into reality within the
timeline of GSOC (if not earlier).

** Any other details you feel we should consider*

·        Online distribution customization following the paths of nimbleX
and Slax.

·        Desktop tool for installing most important apps following the way
of automatix in ubuntu.

On 6th April 2009 15:26 Toshio Kuratomi wrote:

I like the idea of having a simple way to install packages.  However,
there's a few problems with the proposal.

   1. The Package Database is a python application.  We'd want to tie any
   official installation of packages for Fedora into that so we need python
   2. You need to talk to the PackageKit developers and Fedora
   Infrastructure in order to find out what the constraints each group would
   3. From the Fedora Infrastructure side:

   -  We probably can't host arbitrary install scripts as we aren't able to
   legally point to arbitrary packages.  For instance, many multimedia codecs
   are patented without licenses to be used in free software.
   -  We would want to avoid Drupal if we can.  We already have the
   PackageDB and this is most likely something we'd want to integrate there.
   We've recently settled on Zikula for a CMS solution so if we needed to
   implement something on top of a CMS platform, I'd rather we used that.

I replied:

> Personally, I think easy package installation with simple scripts is a
> better idea. For example to run .exe files it is more user friendly if I
> give a script to install wine, wine-doors, playonlinux all together instead
> of giving them a package UI where upon searching they will be able to find
> three different packages for the cause. Some people install wine and
> complain that wine is not able to play games but they dont install
> playonlinux as they just dont know abut it.

(This is just a part of my reply)

 On 16th April 2009 21:41 Toshio Kuratomi wrote:

Yeah, I'm afraid it's a bit too late for GSoC 2009.  But I'm glad to hear
you're going to work on your ideas some more.  I can see what you mean about
trying to associate things that serve the same task (like wine, wine-doors,
and playonlinux).  I'm hoping that tagging of packages and searching by tag
will help us get closer to that within Fedora with the official Fedora

Letting people install things that aren't in the official repositories is
probably something that won't happen within Fedora but it could be useful
for a third party site to do.  Building up and managing trust would be the
hard task in this regard, though, as it's easy to provide a script for users
to download and install arbitrary software on their computers but hard to
protect them in case either the scripts are malicious or the software the
scripts point at become malicious.
Here goes my final proposal :
"I have started the project at with 100
students here at Kolkata, India. We hope to build it up soon. But I still
can not understand,why you guys are not able to back the project. As far as
I understand, if your main problem is that you can not depend on the user
community i.e. you are afraid that the users may upload malicious code, then
why not build a similar website which will not give the option to upload the
scripts to the users. Why dont we (you and I) take the responsibility of
creating such scripts and let the users download the scripts. Let me explain
to you how great this thing can be. Suppose a user needs to download the
source code of the latest kernel. We can create a script to simplify his job
in the following way

1. Script asks the user where to store the file
2. cd "Specified DIR"
3. wget "kernel source url"
4. untar
5. open DIR in nautilus

This way user gets to use it with comfort. Otherwise if they had to write
each command by hand or had to find where the source code is (manually) and
how to untar it, they could have felt that using GNU/Linux is basically a
terminal job. I feel it will be better if Fedora offficially supports the
project as this project has the ability to simplify the whole procedure of
installation in GNU/Linux.

If you feel I am wrong, please comment on where I am getting it wrong?

Also, I know that there may be legal issues for supporting installation of
Flash and other properietory thing. But why not simplify the normal
installations, even if we can't proceed with the properietory ones.

I still have a confusion. Why will there be legal issues if we proceed in
the following way :

A person wants to install Flash
We provide him a script which will
guide him to the website of flash with a text mode browser
Upon accepting the license script asks him "where to save the file"
after downloading the file, script installs it immediately

Spot the difference with the options available now. In this way the person
feels the same way that he used to feel when he used to install softwares on
his previous popular properietory distribution. Here also he needs to accept
and press enter to move to the next step (The next-next feeling is what I am
talking about). Also he gets the feeling that here the case is even better
as the installer not only downloads the file but also installs it at a go.
He will feel that it is easier to use GNU/Linux.

This project will make s/w instalation on GNU/Linux systems much more
easier. If fedora provides support and expertise, I feel it will soon become
a useful contribution to Fedora community and will certainly become a
reliable service. I hope you guys get my point. Please comment."

Please reply.
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