and this needs to work on all distros and be central (in the sense of one way to install at least for the average user) and be able to handle commercial stuff experimental stuff and many more.
influential people high on the community must push towards that direction.
From what I can tell, Ryan is a person that deeply loves linux and open source, but is also incredibly pragmatic. His hybrid binary format got shot down by the zealots, which is unfortunate. I for one would love to see more people like him in positions of power, instead of people that argue whether the man-pages are free http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/2006-03-15 . Here is a guy that can actually improve an experience for users.
Let's say you write an app that uses cairo. If you bundle libcairo2, you also have to make a decision about whether to bundle each of its dependencies or to assume that they exist on the system. Here are all of libcairo2's dependencies. And each of them have their own dependencies. How do you make the decision about which ones you need to bundle and which ones you can assume will already exist?
Also, I'm not 100% familiar with the deal around why the hybrid format was rejected, but I suspect it's mostly: what's good for games is nice and all, but the entire system shouldn't revolve around that. I'll repeat however: I'm not 100% familiar with that situation!
I've said it time and again, let the distributions handle it. They know their own systems best. The problem isn't the package format. I'm on Gentoo, I can extract an .rpm or .deb if I want, Portage can even do that for me if required, but that alone doesn't mean the thing is going to work. I've sometimes wondered why some distros don't try harder to package commercial software. Gentoo seems to have more than most. "But how can the package manager download commercial software?" people moan. Surely it wouldn't be hard to provide a mechanism where the user can interactively point the package manager to some manually downloaded archive. That's how Portage does it and it works well. Maybe distribution developers can't afford to buy all these games? A valid point, except maybe in the case of the Humble Bundle. But it would surely be worth studios distributing a small handful of free copies to developers of the most popular distributions, especially if it saves them from having to do all the leg work themselves.
There are way too many downsides to this idea.
We need a unified packaging system.
Also the file system isn't very cooperative.
(You could use environment variables for solving this.)
What we need is a unified packaging process/format.
I do consider things like freedom as in 'are the man pages free' important.
In the sense of when you make something, get everything done!
Not just something that compiles without errors and has barely been tested or something.
It's really sad that the drivers are causing so much problems.
Maybe there should be a warning about the drivers not yet being feature complete and bug free?
The idea that the distributions should be boss over the software provided reminds me of apple's draconian app store rules.
Again somebody is being placed in charge of somebody else's work and literally has to review all software in the world.
I would like to see distributions that let software be installed from any place but use their warehouse to implement sophisticated rating systems that test and warns me before installing.
Rating systems could check the software for it's validity(crc for the file, works for both binary and source package), if the sources can be trusted (by testing it and adding it to a white-list), present warnings for known problems (blacklist for malware and viruses and other lists for software with problems).
Chewi, what you propose is close to what is being done now and is a source of problems.
Your expectations are completely unrealistic. How do you expect all game companies to give free copies to all relevant distro's.
They should pay someone to track and list all information for all distro's. This cannot possibly work reliable.
As in the package manager downloading from on-line sources. That's how repositories work. And ubuntu has ppa's.
You're right about the distributions know their own stuff best but everyone doing something unique causes problems.
As an application developer I should ask all hundreds of distro's to include my application in their repository of trusted sources.
Furthermore I would have to test everything on all of them. Because the number of distributions IS LITERALLY hundreds it's crazy.
There is the LSB = Linux Standard Base for this. Any application only needing the stuff in LSB should work on all LSB compliant distro's.
There are testing tools for distributions.
There should be more activity in these area's instead of the current 'look at me, this new gimmick in my environment/distro that asks for all applications to be rewritten is totally awesome!' attitude.
I'm looking at, this is only one example of the many things there could be used, stuff like Unity. It really sucks. There should be done something about this. In this example a specification for an applications presentational stuff e.g. icons, menu name, 'jump lists' and other menu/graphical building blocks so that new stuff like unity can use these building blocks.
Okay but there's nothing stopping them from doing their own thing as well if they feel the need. Gentoo, at least, will package commercial software whether the vendor cares about it or not. Might as well try and work with the distros that are willing, especially if the end result is more likely to work.
Linux brings very few competitive advantages in the operating system world which is why, in general, it hasn't been embraced.
It's pretty much been the religious-like zealotry that has kept linux back and stuck in the "hobby OS" territory... which, if you think about it, is really where a lot of those religious types wish it to be. Which is fine. But then you can't complain about proprietary video drivers and lack of software and no games for linux. If they want to keep their clutches on it and not open it up to a general user base, then don't expect developers and publishers to support the platform.