Where can I download an Opera 10.50 rpm or deb?
Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:07:48 AM
Before I proceed, let me say that we hoped the above statement would be enough to put people off from asking about this too much, as we didn't want to fill up that post with a long winded explanation. However it seems that it didn't put everyone off as some users want .rpm and .deb packages of a pre-alpha browser that would entirely replace their stable browser. Indeed, I have seen such requests in comments in that blog post, in 'bug reports' (despite not being a bug, since it is a known and highlighted issue) and also in the referral links in the logs of my blog (where users have used searches such as "download Opera 10.50 rpm or deb" and arrived at my blog).
So what is the other reason that we don't provide .rpm or .deb packages for 10.50? In essence it is really simple. There are no .rpm or .deb packages for 10.50, or to be more accurate no usable packages. Since the packages don't exist we can't really provide them to you.
Long winded explanation:
This obviously begs the question, "Huh, why aren't there packages!?". Like several key parts of Evenes, the Linux packages are being rewritten from the ground up. This will mean better packages, with cleaner post-install and pre-uninstall scripts. They will fix several minor issues and have benefits for our internal build system. Whilst early versions of the new packages have been produced a few things have yet to be completed and further testing needs to be done. There is little point putting out unfinished packages that have not been fully tested. Any problems with packaging and installation have the possibility to wreak havoc with the system by wiping out files and/or leaving things behind on uninstall.
So what about the old packages, couldn't we stick Evenes (10.50) in the old Peregrine (10.00 -> 10.20) packages and supply those? Sure, we could and such packages have been produced (our build system rolls them out automatically by default for now). However, there are problems with using these packages for Evenes. The most obvious being that they have a Qt dependency. Providing such packages publicly would only lead to confusion about our plans and many users wouldn't know how to install them on systems without also installing Qt. We could tweak the old packages slightly but this still requires some work to integrate the tweaks with our build system and do basic testing. This is essentially a waste of time given other more serious bugs we have to fix, and more importantly the fact that these packages will be replaced shortly.
Actually, the one package that has been supplied so far (the New Year's build) is just the old style Peregrine tarball with a few quick tweaks done manually just before upload, i.e. removing Qt references and deleting 'install.sh'.
Why delete 'install.sh'? Because it has one of the issues that we want to fix for Evenes (that I alluded to earlier in this posting), specifically it lacks any uninstaller. Again this might raise eyebrows amongst some of our users, so I will explain. When install.sh was first created the lack of uninstaller was not deemed to be a major issue. It was, and arguably still is, fairly common for such install scripts to lack an uninstaller. This might seem odd but you have to consider who installs the tarball packages or how else they are used. Most users (and certainly the overwhelming majority of new users) would never install Opera via the tarball packages. They tend to be used either by more technical users directly or for repackaging Opera into another package format (manually or via Arch/PKGBUILDS, Gentoo/ebuilds, Slackware/Slackbuilds, etc. scripts). In the first case technical users often install to alternative locations (making removal very easy) or even when installed to the standard location, removal is possible if they pay attention to where files are placed (this information is echoed back on install). In the latter case (repackaging) an uninstaller is not needed as Opera can be uninstalled by a distro's native package manager.
This brings me back to why we deleted the 'install.sh' for the New Year's build. There was a concern that some users, particularly less experienced users (who would not normally bother with install.sh), might think that they have to 'install' Opera to try out Evenes. If such users where to use install.sh directly they could potentially end up with a version of Opera that not only replaced their main install but that they also had trouble removing later. Hence I hope you will agree it is better to cause a minor inconvenience to our more technical users than to potentially break many less experienced users setups.
Hopefully, this rather long post better explains why we only offered the packages we did for New Years. With regards to the future, for the next few UNIX snapshots the situation will likely be the same, we'll only be releasing non-installable tarball packages. We will have .rpm and .deb packages back long before Evenes actually releases but currently the priority is to get some of the more obvious key functionality working better, e.g. native skinning, drag and drop, fonts, etc.