Noob feedback to Simon


#1

Don’t know whether this is the appropriate place to do so, but I’m very enthusiastic about AppImage and like to at least contribute with some criticism. It’s very subjective and I’ll adress the negatives, but please consider this as positive feedback nonetheless :slight_smile:

I’m running a very old openSuSE (11.4) and will stick with it in the forseeable future (I depend on that 2.11 glibc-version in a very delicate evironment). Since libreoffice crashes the system regularily, I was happy to find AppImage.

  1. Website
    Please view your site through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know what Subsurface is. I don’t and thought it to be a part of AppImage. Even the single information that’s relevant to me "make it executable … Subsurface*.AppImage " doesn’t make sense then. The video is great, but after 15 more minutes I still didn’t know that I had to look for something like Libreoffice*.AppImage.

  2. Getting the AppImage
    Following the “here”-Link: I see, there’s both AppImage and AppImageKit. Interesting. No idea what either does. Putting “libre” in the search bar - no relevant hit. “libreoffice” did though, great! But ouch, there is the *.AppImage, and then three more (*asc, *zsync, *zsync.asc). I just assumed the big one was what I needed.
    chmod, run … it needs glibc-2.14. Well, I tried the available versions backwards: libreoffice-5.2.1/-5.2.0.3/-5.1.3/-5.04 … apparently all require glibc-2.14.
    No issue there, I understand now better why that’s the case, but it would be great to get that info (glibc>2.14) on the download page, before 1GB of downloads (4x250MB).

  3. Running Firefox*AppImage
    now that I knew how to, i wanted to check out a newer firefox version than my ancient v31.8. It did run, and quite well with some minor issues (no middle mouse button function); even the plugins worked. Turned out though, it totally screwed up my own v31.8 firefox profile. Had to spend half a day setting up a new one, recover the bookmarks, reinstall & configure plugins and extensions.
    Again, I accept that might happen. But a warning surely would have been nice.

Everything that bugged my and took me very long could be avoided by putting very little trivial info in the right spot. Sorry for the long read. Maybe I’m bugging you now, sorry again.

Keep up the great work!
Ben


#2

Thanks Ben for your feedback, which is highly appreciated.

Please view your site through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know what Subsurface is.

Right now the website is mainly targeting developers of applications, and is intended to explain to them how they can make AppImages for consumption by users.

One day, I hope you can go to libreoffice.org and there will be a download link for an AppImage on the download page, complete with instructions on how to use it. This is what other applications like MuseScore are already doing today. If this is what you would like to see, let the LibreOffice team know! :slight_smile:

Following the “here”-Link: I see, there’s both AppImage and AppImageKit.

AppImage is the name of the format, AppImageKit is some software that makes it easier for developers to produce AppImages.

The link is just for some example AppImages. Users should not use my examples, but request official AppImages from the upstream software projects (Mozilla for Firefox, Document Foundation for LibreOffice) and use those instead.

Putting “libre” in the search bar - no relevant hit. “libreoffice” did though, great!

This is apparently a bug of https://bintray.com/ which I am using for hosting the example AppImages.

there is the *.AppImage, and then three more (*asc, *zsync, *zsync.asc)

  • AppImage: The software itself
  • AppImage.asc: A GPG signature of the AppImage that allows you to verify its validity
  • AppImage.zsync: Contains information that is used by the updater for binary delta updates
  • AppImage.zsync.asc: A GPG signature of the zsync file that allows you to verify its validity

Again, this whole download site is not meant for end users.

it needs glibc-2.14

All the LibreOffice AppImages I provide for download are built from the official LibreOffice downloads provided on libreoffice.org. Apparently they are all built in a way that makes them require glibc-2.14.

it totally screwed up my own v31.8 firefox profile

Newer versions of applications usually read and write to the same profile information than earlier versions. That has nothing to do with AppImage in particular. If you don’t want this, you could set a different $HOME environment variable for running the Firefox AppImage, and make it use another profile.

Hope this clarifies your points. Let me know what else I can do to make this newbie friendlier.


#3

Thanks for your reply, Simon!
I already made my opinion heard with the libreoffice guys … well,kinda. I don’t think they’re going to support AppImage anytime soon, unfortunately.

Certainly getting more Newbs to ask for it could help. I have no idea how much potential there is, but I think the concept is charmingly easy to grasp, so very little info would suffice.

  • lead the newbs to a “I just want to run an application” section
  • tell them the procedure (which file to download, make executable, run - preferably w/o subsurface reference :wink: )
  • due to the potential annoyance: let them know about the user profile issue
  • tell them why their preferred application might not be available, and ask them to push the developers
  • at the end maybe let them know - in general terms - the limitations of the approach (like my glibc issue)

I imagine this shouldn’t take more space than either of our posts here. On the downside - with more newbs your going to have to answer a lot not-so-smart questions.

Apart from that: You’ve probably thought this through, and I didn’t, but I’d like to suggest an “use and modify existing user data or create new profile/directory?” along with the desktop integration question from the other thread (“create desktop file?”). Due to the add-ons & plugins, a firefox-profile might be more vulnerable than other program profiles, but the current approach could “damage” them as well - in that case leading to utter frustration on the user side.
(For programs which don’t support parallel profiles a “save current config” suggestion might have to suffice.)

Anyway, I feel like I’m taking up way to much of your time.
Thanks again,
Ben


#4

Hi Ben, want to have a go at the text for the homepage?

Go to https://github.com/probonopd/AppImageKit/edit/gh-pages/index.html, and edit it as you see fit. GitHub will make a fork, and when you are done editing you can ping me for a review.