If Mike Hearn, Hongli Lai, and the rest of the Autopackage team realize their goals, the future of package management in GNU/Linux will be greatly different from the present. Existing package management systems will remain for libraries and system utilities, but a separate tool will manage desktop applications. Packages will be installable for either the entire system or just the current account. Installation will be more convenient, too, with graphical tools designed for usability and tools for both end users and developers documented to professional standards.
It's a strong vision, although some of the details may prove controversial. It's also one that Abiword, Inkscape, the GIMP, and at least three dozen other projects are already experimenting with. Commercial companies such as Adobe and VMware have also expressed interest, according to Hearn.
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