Installing Software: A GNU/Linux VS. MS Windows Comparison

One of the big issues that I have with ‘make and make install’ is that you almost always get some mystery error that really tells you nothing. However, with Debian distributions this has been made a lot easier with apt-get. While it may not be perfect, I like it lot better that hitting my head on the desk trying to decipher the stupid errors that rarely tell me anything.

I read a lot of reviews comparing GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows, and inevitably the topic of installing software comes up. Most reviews indicate that installing software in Windows is much easier than that of the desktop GNU/Linux world. I decided to do my own comparison based on my desktop usage to see the difference. The following are my results. Those of you that come from the Windows world may be a tad bit surprised at the ease in which software can be installed.

The Windows box I used for this test consisted of 500 MHZ Intel P3 processor with 384 megs of RAM. The Debian box is an old AMD K6-2 366Mhz processor with 128 Megs of RAM. I have a broadband DSL connection that gets a 1.5 megabit a second download speed.

There are several ways to install software on a GNU/Linux distribution. One of the ways is to get a source “tar ball” unpack it, and issue the commands “./configure” “make ” “su -c ‘make install’ ” this will work on every GNU/Linux distro available. However there is a problem with this method: it’s called “dependency hell.” The program that you are trying to install may depend on other libraries that are not installed on your system, and this will prevent the program from installing cleanly or even operating until the dependencies are met. The additional libraries that are needed may also depend on even more libraries hence the term dependency hell. [Read the rest]