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Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 10.3: 1-Click Install

August 21st, 2007 by

Today we are taking a look at the new One-Click Install technology which aims to simplify package management for users. We will see how this is integrated into the openSUSE Build Service and we’ll have a talk with Benjamin Weber, the original author and maintainer of One-Click Install.

One-Click Install: Hassle-Free Installation of Software

openSUSE contains thousands of packages that are often spread across various repositories. Great places like the Packman project, Guru’s RPM site and of course the openSUSE Build Service provide thousands of packages for openSUSE users. The problem, however, is frequently the hassle of locating the package, adding the repository that contains it, and then finally installing the package. This can be a tiresome process particularly if you are intending to use many packages from different repositories (say, in the Build Service).

One Click Install removes this hassle.

In openSUSE 10.3, if you are looking to install an application from the openSUSE Build Service you can now use the new web front-end to search, browse and install applications with a single click. An example search for Filelight (an application for visualizing disk usage on your computer) in openSUSE Factory is shown below:

Example Search for Filelight

Once you click on 1-Click Install you are guided through a wizard that guides you through the simple process of installation the application. It will automatically add the repository for you and install the package. This process is demonstrated below:

Start-Up Screen Summary Downloading Repository Metadata
Downloading Package Installing Package Finished

This can all be tested right now presuming you are running openSUSE 10.3 Beta 1 or current openSUSE Factory with Konqueror. To get it running in Firefox check this walkthrough.

This new capability will also be used across openSUSE-Community.org in the future. The Software Search there also has an updated version in the works using the same One-Click Install technology. Below is, once again, an example search for filelight:

Software Search

Clicking on one of those links will take you through the same simple wizard as above.

Talk with Benjamin Weber

I caught up with Benjamin Weber to learn a little more about this new technology:

So what inspired you to create this new piece of software?

As with most things, it is intended to solve a problem. To illustrate the problem, here is a typical conversation with a new openSUSE user:

user: How can I play music on my openSUSE?
support_person: You will need to install the appropriate codecs.
user: How can I do that?
support_person: Add the appropriate third party repository and install the required files using the package manager.
user: What’s a repository? What’s a package manager?

The support person will then have to explain or provide links explaining the basic package management concepts. The current package management systems in most distributions work very well when used as a “software library” where One browses for software and then installs it. What they fall down on is use cases such as the following:

  • User wants to install software that can’t be included in the main distribution for legal reasons (such as mp3 support, non-free drivers etc.)
  • User finds an application homepage/physical media and wants to install it.

In these two cases we are currently requiring the user to understand the concept of package repositories, and a fair amount about how the package management system works, simply to install the software he or she wants. We can do better.

This problem can be avoided simply by automating of the process of adding package repositories and installing packages. For 10.3 we have this technology that will allow “install now” links on application homepages, physical media, or package search pages. Clicking this link will allow the user to confirm and optionally alter the installation steps, and will then perform the installation for the user, without requiring the user to understand the standard package management concepts.

How is it accomplished? What exactly is being used?

The software distributor creates an XML file which describes and contains instructions on how to install the software bundle.

The software distributor then links this XML file on a webpage, or includes the file on a physical medium.

Bundled with the operating system we have an application which understands these XML files. When the user clicks an “install now” link or file, this application reads the file the distributor created, shows the changes to the user for approval/alteration, and then installs the software.

Any plans for the future?

Lots, but as far as the One click install feature goes I am mainly concentrating on bugfixes and getting it into 10.3 at present. I am also working on the evolution of my package search page which is the software portal project. I will blog about developments with these things. My blog is syndicated on Planet SUSE.

Where can I find out more?

The XML schema is documented at http://en.opensuse.org/Standards/One_Click_Install. There is a concept design here http://en.opensuse.org/Image:MetaPackageDesign1.png. Nearer the time of release we should have some tutorials explaining to application vendors how to utilise the technology. For now, see http://en.opensuse.org/Meta_Packages/ISV.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions they are welcome to contact me on IRC in #opensuse-project or here. My IRC nick is benJIman. The data used by apps is now available for uninstalled apps as well, not just installed apps

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48 Responses to “Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 10.3: 1-Click Install”

  1. R. Lee Ishizaki

    This would be a great improvement over what is now in place. It’s one of the features I’m looking forward to, However I have 1 question.
    Where will the user be asked for the root password?

  2. Omar SAIBI

    It’s a great feature for people converted from other OSs like windows and I’m looking forward to.
    However, will it support other repositories like Packman and guru in addition to openSUSE Build Service?

    Thanks a lot Benjamin Weber.

  3. Berbere

    it’s a great luck to have some one like omar saibi in this forum. He’s the greatest HR developer in the world. Thank you

  4. Rolf Behrens

    Wow I love this new “1 Click Install”-Feature…

    But it would be better, if you extend the search options! The current searchfield provides only a very simple way for searching packages.

    I am missing a few more features like search in “Description” or other possibilities. The Yast2 Search field provides more search-, filter- or group – options.

    But for now, this “Get Software site” looks pretty good and i am really looking forward to use it :)


  5. Michael Smith

    You use the example of getting mp3 codecs etc. But why don’t you just include these proprietary codecs with Open Suse? Surely your deal with Microsoft must give you some such benefits?

    • Beineri

      That deal didn’t include any patent licensing and Microsoft is also not the patent owner of mp3 and most other multimedia stuff.

    • Joe

      Why would M$ need to be contacted for MP3 licensing in SUSE? M$ does NOT own any rights to MP3. Fraunhofer Thompson and Bell Labs developed the MP3 technology.

  6. Dow Hurst

    How should someone go about getting the 1-Click Install to function in OpenSuse 10.2? Is this possible?

  7. mani

    Ok the system looks nice!

    But what will happen, if someone puts “dangerous” packages into a build service repository?
    This scenario could cause serious damange on a user system!

    Are there any quality standards a packager has to fulfill when he wants to provide packages?

    Which guaranty is given that my system will not be jeopardized by possibly vicious packages?


    • Benjamin Weber

      On the build service this is less of an issue as packages hosted there are reviewable by all users, it is still a valid concern though, especially with repositories not on the build service.

      The wizard here displays the changes for the user to review. Also we already have repository signing in the package manager, when a repository is added it will display the packager’s details and the user has to agree to trust the key. This provides protection against the user installing packages inadvertently from a source he or she does not trust.

      However, the decision of whether to trust a particular person’s GPG key is not an easy one for users to make. One of the projects underway is a user portal for openSUSE users, where we can associate packager’s keys with a rating. This would enable us to display a star rating to users when they perform an install, this should make the decision as to whether to trust a packager easier for users.

  8. This “used to be” the reason why windows people are reluctant and always claim windows is simpler for newbies when compared to Linux. With this move, imagine the possible exposure and acceptance by the non Linux community.

    Some may argue that simplifying Linux brings in too much attention and this removes the “niche”. For me the word “Linux” means “choice”. You are given the freedom to choose what you want and how you want it. You want simple install then use one-click, you old school then use the CLI.

    A truly good move !!

  9. ra100

    Hi all.
    I´ve a got question.
    If i understand correct.
    web front-end include only Official Repositories and Semi Official Repositories.
    But updated version is able to search all Third-party repositories
    So why should i use web front-end for searching and installing of packages?What do you recommend?

  10. Would be interesting to see a comparison of this with existing distributed installation systems for SuSE like Zero Install (http://0install.net).

    In particular, it seems that One-Click Install gives the packages root access during installation which sounds a bit worrying. How does this compare with Zero Install’s automatic sharing of downloads using cryptographic digests (http://0install.net/sharing.html)?

  11. probono

    Since it apparently involves yast it will probably stay limited to openSUSE/Novell-type distros. And, if you get a “bad” repository, you can break your system, right?

  12. wren

    Awesome! This is exactly what linux needs. This would be good for driver installation as well. This will make average users less scared of running a linux system knowing they can add/remove/update software without the help of a tech friend. “I want music mixer. Click install.. yeeeeh linux is great.”

  13. dum

    This is one of the big problems for new users. And I think a good solution to make installing things easy.

    I question about this, If a user clicks a lot on the “One-Click Install” buttons on different websites around the globe, and all those websites put new install repositories into Yast. Doesn’t it makes Yast slower with all that extra repositories info.

    The end result can be an buggy and slow software management.
    But maybe I’m very wrong here :( I hope)

    But I’m exited to read all the new things on OpenSUSE 10.3 :)

  14. leo_kg

    That’s a great news! But I still have a question. Will the downloaded distributives be kept on the computer or deleted right after the installation like in 10.2?


  15. John

    What about uninstall??? is it also whit one click??? or is it harder??? any plans to improve un-installations?

    • Liem

      Try SMART which I posted above where/how to get it. In my opinion, SMART is still way better than one-click (with Uninstall also with a single click). Let people and Novell know your opinion.

  16. Liem

    1-click install looks good but like to know what does it give on top and above a package manager that I’m using exclusively instead of YaST/S/W Management (and can’t live w/o) on 10.2 called SMART?

  17. Liem again

    After downloading/installing 1-click (yast2-metapackage-handler–Yes through SMART) and playing around with it a bit, I have to say that SMART is still the preferred approach for me. In my humble opinion, SuSE/Novell should look into and leverage this tool (SMART) as much as it can (and indeed should include it in the distribution). SMART automatically adds different channels (or repositories) including those with stuff to play music, video, dvd, etc. All you need to do is to search for the package, and (yes one click) to download and install it. SMART takes care to resolve all dependencies for you automatically! I have not tested intensively the latter with the new 1-click to see how robust it is compared to SMART.

    For 10.3 users, you can use 1-click to download/install SMART and try. For others: SMART is available here http://linux01.gwdg.de/~pbleser/rpm-navigation.php?cat=/System/smart.

  18. 1. Does SuSe allow at this time to read and write to NTFS file system?

    2. Does SuSe works with the WiFi ( http://proxim.com )?

    3. Will Quotetracker for Windows run on SuSe (with wine?) ( http://download.quotetracker.com/download/qtsetup.exe )

  19. Just wondering if OpenSUSE works well with the PlayStation 3 and if so does it contain a WIFI driver!

  20. bill peterson

    the build service looks great. i’m a bit put off that the one click installs currently only support i586 with manual download of x86_64. will x86_64 one click install buttons be added. i see that the ypm’s exist if you change the path for x86_64 in place of i586- but defeats the purpose of simplicity

    • Benjamin Weber

      The YMPs are not architecture dependent. The package manager will select the appropriate architecture. You can use the ones badly labeled as “i586” without problems – the 64bit package should be installed.

      The naming is simply a consequence of how the build service generates them.

  21. Great job, keep going!!!

  22. Miller

    Pleace I’ getting the following error when I try to install repositories
    Curl error for ‘http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/openSUSE:10.3/standard/repodata/repomd.xml’:
    Error code: HTTP response: 407
    Error message: The requested URL returned error: 407

  23. Miller

    the error is the same

  24. idee

    Sounds great. I’m really looking forward to installing 10.3.

    I have to manage multiple pc’s, but all we have is a dial-up internet connection. It would be a great advantage to provide the option to save the downloaded files (rpm) the way YaST used to do prior to 10.0. My connection is painfully slow. Has this option been re-added, or could you please consider doing so?


    using and loving SuSE since 7.3

  25. abhi

    hi….i am unable to install open suse 10.3…none of the packages are gettin installed…plz help

  26. nemirc

    This could be the answer to my prayers. There are a lot of people like me that don’t care about using the command line every time they want to install a piece of software. All I want is an OS that works out of the box without the need of the “technical stuff”

    All I wonder is if this will be more widely used to make it easier to install any software even if it’s not listed on the openSUSE pages.

  27. can i get the compiz fusion to convert the window xp

  28. Nix

    I like this so much! This is great feature from openSUSE :)

  29. Sagar

    How is this different from gdebi (for Debian based distros) ?
    All you have to do is to open a deb file using gdebi and it automatically installs all dependencies.
    What is the exact difference between between gdebi’s approach and 1-click-install ?

    • Beineri

      > All you have to do is to open a deb file using gdebi and it automatically installs all dependencies.

      AFAIK gedbi works only with local packages, and SUSE/openSUSE have done the same for versions already.

      > What is the exact difference between between gdebi’s approach and 1-click-install ?

      Does gdebi allow to install packages from remote repositories (with option to keep them registered) and allows to refine a packages list before installation?

    • Benjamin Weber

      This is not the same as GDebi, or AptUrl.

      GDebi installs individual packages, it does not allow installing any number of packages located in any repository.

      AptUrl will only install packages in the existing repositories.

      There is an Ubuntu effort to provide the same functionality called ThirdPartyApt. I have been in contact with the specification authors so we can try to use the same file format.

      The YMP file format that One Click Install uses is flexible enough to allow instructions for both Ubuntu and openSUSE in one file.

      • John

        This is really amazing!!! Would be very nice if YMP/one Click Install would became standard… would be really very very nice!!!

        Hope all goes well!!!

        It’s really horrible that each Linux distro uses it’s own tools in respect to software installation…

  30. Clebber

    I would also like to fusion convert xp to linux 3.0! Helpp pleazse!!!

  31. Paulo Pontes

    Great job, It would be awesome if this concept is extended to every distro. Ease of installation is one of the 2 main gaps in linux (the other are drivers).

  32. dx


    My original 10.3 install did actually get all of the codecs automagically… but after I reinstalled everything from scratch, it DOES NOT install/activate any codecs for things like MPEG4, mp4, wmv, etc.

    And there is nothing that actually just works.

    Telling me to go to 11.0 is not an option. 10.3 is required and still supported.

    This URL’s stuff (http://opensuse-community.org/Restricted_Formats/10.3) certainly installed stuff to allow regular MP3 and MPEG to work… and it did result in w32codes-all getting installed, BUT totem is not playing any of the other formats… and before it did.

    Please post a solution that just works without requiring that everyone has to piece it together like some puzzle — eg. like the way it was before. One-Click should mean just that… not One-Click, nothing really changes, then spend next few days scanning forums full of other people stuck on the same stuff.

  33. dx

    FYI…. Here is one of the other folks having the same problem… and with the same conclusion: ONE CLICK SHOULD WORK, BUT DOESN’T.


  34. Dear Sir,
    plz give me Restricted codecs offline installation guide for suse linux 11.1,Like mp3 (audio) avi,dat vob (video)