UNIX system or .app?

  I just had an interesting thought on this subject.  Because I just
had it, it's not as fully developed as the thoughts of those of you who
have been religiously arguing over this for weeks.  So please keep the
temperature of the flames down?

  My feeling here is that both sides of the argument have some merit. 
I really, _really_ like the UNIX system of dividing data up by type into
/etc, /bin, /sbin, and so on.  At least, I like it from the point of
view of installing system-wide programs, since all my programs go in
/bin, all my config files go in /etc or occasionally a subdirectory of
that, and so on.  Data organization by type rather than package.  As
some people have pointed out, this can decrease location independence. 
>From root's point of view, this isn't a problem since s/he can compile
and install stuff anywhere in the system or use a package manager--in
fact, as I mentioned :-) I like it better.  But I can see that for a
non-root user who wants to install one or two programs for personal use,
this could be an obstacle.  You could, of course, create lib/, bin/, ...
directories but to just install, say, gnumeric, the system that's used
to install 500 system-wide apps seems like a lot of hassle, and so
letting the program have all its files (data, config, binaries, etc) 
in one place is ALSO a Good Thing.

  What I'm wondering is--why are the two methods mutually exclusive?  I
may be missing some blatantly obvious technical argument here, in which
case I'm sure I'll be flamed to ashes for it, but it doesn't seem to me
like there's any reason (aside from a small amount of trouble for the
developer) that an app can't use BOTH methods of getting data/config
files, either system-wide (/etc, /lib, /share,...) or from a directory.
Is there any reason that the proposed library can't allow an
application to be compiled either way? (perhaps a compiletime option
overridable by a runtime switch?)  I think if it did, I'd see it as a
Good Thing, but all the comments I've heard from the .app people have
been focusing on converting the world over to .app (at least, that's
how I read it, correct me if I'm wrong. :-) )  I want to keep my UNIX
file structure and, in fact, I'd probably never install a .app package
on my personal computer but the idea might be useful for other
circumstances.  In general, I don't want to be forced into one system
or the other; they both have merit.  As I said earlier.

  So with this library (as I see it), dpkg would still install into the
standard UNIX directories but users could download versions of the
program packaged to be run as discrete units.

  Now we get into incoherent speculation: :-)

  I suppose you could even build in a check for some option file (in
/etc) which would let the sysadmin keep control over whether programs
could be installed this way, or maybe just log that users installed
programs?  This might not be worth it though, since anyone who wanted
to could just recompile the program without the encapsulation.


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