Easy linux installs a “klik away”

Now, I am not one of those that finds linux software installation an arcane and difficult path. However, I use mandrake (mandriva) whose urpmi tool (if setup with the correct source repositories) is usually enough for the software I’m looking for. Anything else is usually easy to either recompile from a source rpm or compile from source with a couple of fairly easy steps. That much said, those two steps do take you to the command line and for many people that means you may as well be using 0′s and 1′s to write the binary code yourself….

I think I’ve run across klik before and thought it was an interesting idea. My main reaction though was, I remember really making a mess of an old Mandrake system when I used Ximian’s red carpet to try to update some “very important parts of the system”. There’s an article up at linux.com today detailing it a bit further though. After reading I think klik may be a very useful idea. The linux.com article makes the case this way, klik is not for updating your core system components, use your distros package management for that, klik is for that “shiny new app” you would just love to try out.

Here’s the summary from the article…

Klik is a service that delivers Linux applications as self-contained Application Directories in mountable, compressed filesystems. To the end user, each package looks like a single file with the extension .cmg that can be moved anywhere on the system and run in place (assuming the permissions are correct). Inside each AppDir is a bare-bones filesystem with the application and library dependencies.

Apparently the guy that thought up the idea says it grew out of his affection for using Knoppix cds, having a base system that was read only, but wanting to try out other applications. To use klik “packages”, a client application must be installed that handles klik:// urls. There do seem to be some potential drawbacks (the image gets mounted as a loopback, so there’s a limit of 8 klik applications running simultaneously, there’s only 1 klik repository, they’re currently complied for 386….) But it is an interesting approach to a very quick and easy way to try out new software (or deploy the same application quickly over a number of machines…)

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