Forum OpenACS Development: Re: RFC: automated installer
I think it would be a mistake to work on something to just help the newbie. While the tool should support a hands off automated install, it should be customizable in an easy way for the expert. Otherwise the expert will never use it and keep it up-to-date.
What would be the benefit for the expert? A record of how a piece of software was installed so it can be repeated when necessary, both for disaster recovery and service duplication.
The installer should focus on software which traditionally has not been available in an rpm or other type of compiled format, or those which are routinely installed in a non-standard location, or when multiple installations per machine is expected. Of course, an installer which could handle this situation, would easily handle installation of compiled, standard packages.
Whatever the installer, it must have two separate parts: the actual installer, and the configuration file. New applications should only require producing a new configuration file to direct the installation. In the case of configure/gmake, you only have to create the configure script and the makefile, no programming required.
The problem with gmake/configure is, I would guess, most developers here don't spend too much time writing configure/gmake scripts. What they do know is the sequence of shell commands required, plus necessary edits of files.