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Don't Trip on the Red Carpet, Evolve with GNOME CVS - page 3

A Good Week for Compulsive Updaters

  • February 23, 2001
  • By Michael Hall
And that's Red Carpet in a nutshell: you subscribe to a channel, pick some packages, get a little more information if you need, and download stuff. A simple enough process.

A lot of users may question the need for a tool like this. After all, there's always the aforementioned gnorpm or dselect to handle package management. In at least dselect's case, Red Carpet actually provides a little less fine-grained control.

The most obvious application is for the likely target audience: new users who want to maintain their machines with minimal hassle. Red Carpet presents a clean, easy-to-understand interface that reduces the task of keeping a system up-to-date to a simple process. Veteran Debian users may not be as impressed with the dependency/conflict resolution as users of RPM-based distros, but new users of all distributions who haven't learned their way around some of the less ergonomic hangups of their package management tools will find some relief here.

More experienced users who like to follow specific projects will also find some use for Red Carpet. Though it's always easy to add a line to /etc/apt/sources.list, that doesn't provide a way to discriminate on the source of incoming updates or provide much information on what's new. Red Carpet allows users to keep an eye on a rapidly-progressing project like Evolution and remain aware of where package updates are coming from.

Finally, Red Carpet is also going to serve as a conduit for commercial software. Even if the US is going to remain "Modem Nation" for the foreseeable future (55% of us will still be using dialup connections in 2004, according to one study floating around out there), the gradual introduction of consumer broadband will make this sort of 'net based distribution model more and more attractive.

Though Red Carpet is still officially a beta product, it ran smoothly and did everything as advertised without a single crash or hang. Ximian's done a great job of producing a simple, easy-to-use tool that provides a great way to enjoy the wealth of software available under Linux without becoming too immersed in packaging system arcana. It's well worth downloading and trying out.

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