As a user, the best way to handle applications is a central repository where interoperability is guaranteed. Something like what Debian does with the base repos. I just run an install and it’s all taken care of for me. What’s more, I don’t deal with unnecessary bloat from dozens of different versions of the same library according to the needs of each separate dev/team.

So the self-contained packages must be primarily of benefit to the devs, right? Except I was just reading through how flatpak handles dependencies: runtimes, base apps, and bundling. Runtimes and base apps supply dependencies to the whole system, so they only ever get installed once… but the documentation explicitly mentions that there are only few of both meaning that most devs will either have to do what repo devs do—ensure their app works with the standard libraries—or opt for bundling.

Devs being human—and humans being animals—this means the overall average tendency will be to bundle, because that’s easier for them. Which means that I, the end user, now have more bloat, which incentivizes me to retreat to the disk-saving havens of repos, which incentivizes the devs to release on a repo anyway…

So again… who does this benefit? Or am I just completely misunderstanding the costs and benefits?

    9 months ago

    Mainly software vendors.

    The fact that you can build a package with all dependences built in etc. Means software vendors can release a product for Linux. Without worring about all the different versions of library’s out there.

    This is useful for os when trying to support less common distress. As you are not rellying on the distro to package everything. Then destros that wish to may compile more efficient versions based on there own dependencies can. But other distros are supported if they do not want to compile. Without your team having to compile for every distress.

    But it also allows commercial closed source vendors to package once and know every linux system (on the hardware they choose to support) will have the dependencies expected. No matter the distro choice or other software requirements. Removing the issue with supporting every distress. As this is a common reason commercial software avoids Linux. As 100s of different distress divided between a relatively small customer base. Means support is often not cost effective.