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Re: Kind request: fix your packages

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On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 11:44:06 -0400, Sean Middleditch wrote:

> I'm
> talking uers who want to install some piece of software right now, and
> don't want to be told they have to wait 2 months for a new version of
> their OS to come out; not when "other" OSs can run apps from 10 years
> ago, and even the newest apps coming out still run on at least several
> releases back, which covers a decent number of years (so far as
> computers go).

There's one of those "other" OSs, where a friend points me to a
versatile media player I should check out. The only download option is
an .EXE file, several MiB big. Great. That should be easy. But wait,
it unpacks files into a temporary directory, then refuses to proceed
and tells me I need a newer version of DirectX. No idea where to get
that. I search the web and download the latest version which is even
newer than what is required. I fail to find a place where to get
exactly the version that is required. Hopefully it doesn't matter.

The installer seems to be happy about the new version. Then I'm told I
need an update to DCOM and a couple of similar packages. Somehow I
manage to find and install all this stuff. The application's installer
finishes. But the application doesn't work completely. The developers
tell me some of my system software is too new and not yet supported.
Something would be special about my system, but they don't know what.
I should get the latest version of the OS where the necessary stuff is
preinstalled. Or I could also install the previous version where
they've tested the application, too.

I then notice that some of the updates overwrote important system
files, and now other applications don't work anymore. When asked, my
friend admits he has had a few problems, too. But he thought the
problems would be due to his own mistakes, and everywhere else it
would work flawlessly. Thanks god I have a backup of my installation.

Before restoring my system, I take the chance to try a commercial
application which I have been given on CD for evaluation. It says
explicitly it supports my version of the OS. Its installer is smarter.
Afterall, it's a commercial application. It offers to download missing
components from the Internet. Unfortunately, after asking me half a
dozen times on whether I would let it overwrite mysterious .DLL system
files, it refuses to proceed. It wants a specific version of DirectX,
an older version than what I've updated to. I get the chance to
downgrade to a version on the CD, although I don't have the slightest
idea whether that might affect any other applications, such as the
partially working media player which is still installed. 

At the end of the installation, most parts of my system are still
working, the application disables one feature due to insufficient
system features. So far so good, but a few parts of my OS now are in
English and no longer in German. I ask a person who considers himself
an expert on that operating system. He shakes his head and says I
should reinstall from scratch or from backup. It could take hours to
fix the mess manually.  I should try custom installation. Once I would
have figured out how to complete a working installation, everything
would be fine. 

He tells me about a message board where I should ask for help prior to
installing from scratch. The people in that forum try to help. Half of
them ask questions which seem to address a completely different OS.
Some try to analyze my system with detailed questions on what options
I see in the menus and what tools are installed. Then they excuse for
not being helpful and write that they run the latest version of the OS
where things are different. The other half blame me for not having a
backup. I didn't tell them I do have backups. I just mentioned I would
not want to reinstall. Seems that's the only option.

One wizard steps up in private mail, accusing the other board members of
not knowing their stuff. He/she suggests I should uninstall the
application and let it revert its changes. Sounds good. Unfortunately,
the uninstaller doesn't do the job automatically. Instead -- as if it
doesn't know better -- it asks me on whether to keep or erase each of
maybe 50 modified system files. Guess what I did. I reinstalled from
backup. Seems to be widespread and common practise.

- -- 
Michael, who doesn't reply to top posts and complete quotes anymore.

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