Just spent 2 days of my life trying to install an application on linux RH and Debian

My wife is doing her masters in Material engineering, she found a modeling tool that runs on here: http://www.ctcms.nist.gov/archives/software/wulffman/. So I made the obvious and DL Redhat Linux and started to install, I liked the setup process and I started with the first CD. I thought I could skip the last 2 discs which I found out that are needed almost at the end of install (Thank god for Save State in Virtual PC). The third disc was needed for only 4 mb....

Then I started to DL all the RPM (MSI like packages) and started to install, just to find out one of the dependencies didn't run on RedHat, the solution should have been simple, download the sources compile them on RH and somehow find out where to put the files. Couldn't find a way to compile them.

I wen to a econd solution and installed Debian, not really installed, I used Knoppix it's a CD that runs Debian without installing it, using RAM as a HD to the session. Then I found out that there aren't any RPM for Debian (it works fine for RH). I just gave up. If any linux guys are reading this: guys, you really need to make it simple. I admit I am not a linux expert and I don't hate linux in any way and I'm quite happy with the fact windows needs to compete with another OS but it needs to be simpler than that.

Comments (11)

  1. denny says:

    this is *THE* problem with Linux!

    I have been thru this with every package that was not "Built in" the number of tarballs you have to go find and build to get one program up is just pathetic at times…

    esp. as you may encounter dependancy chains where

    a nneds b

    b needs c and d

    c needs d and e and f

    …. soon you find you have spent 2 days basicly grabbing a half a CD of code to get a 50K binary to install and run!

    this is one of the reasons that Linux is still a "Tech" system and WIndows is the desktop of choice for most folks….

  2. debian user says:

    Debian uses .deb not .rpm

    The "alien" program can sometimes convert .rpm to .deb

    Get someone to package it as a .deb for debian.

    Once software is properly packaged for debian it is the smoothest install yet.

    Put the regular debian on a seperate box (not knoppix).

  3. lpbbear says:

    I took a look at the site your link points to. There is a tar.gz file that is supposed to be compatible with Debian (potato) You should have started there, and not with RedHat, if all you wanted to do was provide this application for your wife. Unlike Windows, Linux comes in many different distributions. As well there is no Windows version listed there at all so I am wondering why you aren’t slagging Microsoft as well as RedHat.

    Just like there are a number of things to learn to be fluent in Windows there are also a number of things to learn to be competent in Linux. Don’t assume that because you are versed in Windows that you should be equally versed in Linux. (and then blame it for your lack of experience)

    Good luck in your quest.

    BTW The MS technology you are using looks absolutely horrible in a standards compliant web browser.

  4. Yosi Taguri says:

    1. The packages are in a deb format, what do I need to do in order to install them? Double Click does not work.

    2. I’m not saying in any way that Microsoft has the best technology for installing application, all I said is that MSI is far more simple than wht I have seen BUT yet again I’m no expert nor a regular user of linux so I might be missing something here.

  5. Simon says:

    dpkg -i packagename

    From the console will install a .deb

    But yes, apart from on debian dependancy hell (combined with scoble and don box‘s illumination) drove me back to Windows.

    There are probably loads of front ends for .deb files – you just don’t need them with apt-get around. apt-get install <packagename> will find it and all dependancies, download everything appropriate, then install it all!

  6. Yosi Taguri says:

    apt-get is a program??

    Thanks for the help.

  7. Jerry Pisk says:

    Yes, apt-get is a program and it’s a lot friendlier than dpkg.

    As for compiling on Linux: download, uncompress and run "make config", "make" and "make install". And forget about GUI, that’s good for running an app, not for setting up your system. You have to realize that even on Windows a regular user (who doesn’t run as an admin) cannot install most applications anyways, so please do not go on about how installing an app is just another action a regular user does.

  8. Yosi Taguri says:

    I agree, the fact that my mother is running with admin account is way wrong..

  9. debian user says:


    Linux usually uses an installer

    to install software

    instead of the package itself

    self excecuting.

    With debian you have a master file


    (You’ll need to read about its syntax)

    This file contains a list of places where to get software.

    They may be ftp sites, http sites, mounted file system directories, floppies. CDs etc.

    (You’ll need to read about it’s syntax)

    Linux programs usually link to libraries instead of just compiling them into one humongous application.

    I use a text based install called


    You can put your private collect of .deb in a directory. Then with dselect use the

    mounted Install from a filesystem…..


    During your package’s install all it’s dependencies will be checked for availability from the /etc/apt/sources.list

    If all of the dependencies can be met then they are marked for installation along with your package.

    Of course you can still hand install software outside of the packaging system.

    The wulffman_1.2.4_i386Linux.gz does NOT look like a .deb package. I did a

    gunzip wulffman_1.2.4_i386Linux.gz

    to it and got


    This looks like something you would have to hand install.

    You might suggest it to Debian for packaging.

  10. andreas says:

    Waiting for Debian to package it is going to take ages.

    And for some unknown reason the authors did not package the file in .DEB or .RPM (equivalent to .MSI).

    Anyway… download the file:


    Save it somewhere, and from console unpack it:

    gunzip wulffman_1.2.4_i386Linux.gz

    Now you’ll have the file "wulffman_1.2.4_i386Linux" and you start it by entering:


    I agree, it would waaay easier if they had made a .DEB or .RPM which installs it in the correct location and setup some shortcuts on the startmenus.

  11. David Cottrill says:

    (Preface: I’m a Linux user, and I like Linux for a lot of reasons. However, I am a programmer and a geek, which means I like to fiddle and solve problems. My response below takes the perspective of the end user, which, hopefully, is Linux’s target market.)

    With all respect, I think most of the respondents here are missing the point Yosi is trying to make. Of course the app *can* be installed by those who know the secret handshake. But that’s exactly the point. If an intelligent, computer-literate person cannot figure out how to install a piece of software without personal outside assistance, it means the software is too difficult to install, period. (I’m not sure what to make of the notion that end users don’t install their own software; all my friends, geek and non-geek alike, install software regularly on their home computers.)

    An end user should not have to wonder which of various package formats will work with his/her distro. An end user should not have to worry about "dependency hell". An end user should *never* have to be told to compile the package him/herself.

    Until these situations are nothing more than unpleasant memories, Linux will remain an OS by geeks, for geeks. That’s okay with me, because I *am* a geek, and I can always flip back over to Windows when I need to be productive. However, for the end user Linux still has a long, long way to go.

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