What I want, you see, is for the requirement that a popular linux app support nine different packaging formats to go away. In this utopia, there would be *an* – for example – ‘Open Office for Linux i386’ in the UPF which you download and and it then hands a list of dependances to apt-get, rpmdrake, rpm or whatever which then translates them into packages and gets them by the current way.

Various people are doing the “One True Packaging” thing for distribution, not least Installshield – whose eponymous system is pretty much the standard for Windows applications, but all these have dependency problems, in that they all include every possible dependency in the package itself, meaning you’d end up downloading and installing a new JavaVM for every Java application you use.

Ideally – as Stephen pointed out when I mentioned this on IRC – this would be LSB based, so that it could see “Well, I don’t have that library, so I will ask apt for $(standardised name of application)”, and if it worked that way it’d be great, but the current system whereby everything is packaged separately for every distribution means that developing a major Linux application requires either understanding every variant on each package management system or a willingness to get the community to do all the work for you, and do it exactly how you want it to be done. And if a job’s worth doing…

All of which could be avoided with a little co-operation, which is something OSS people are meant to be good at.