meatcloud manifesto

GUI installers are evil…


You might need to have a little wizard to walk through setting stuff up the first time for the uninitiated, but if you think you are doing the poor hack who has to install your stuff on hundreds of machines any favors, you got another thing coming.

If you don’t provide some way to install your software fully unattended, please do not sell it to schools, businesses, non-profits or religious organizations with more than one person.

You might as well be killing kittens.

Actually, that goes for the interface to running applications as well.

I think we need the Open Meatcloud Manifesto… (because the world needs more manifestos and this is the perfect date to start a movement)

Let me see what I can work up…

  • scribble* *scribble* *erase* *scribble* *crumple* *scribble*

I’ll keep it short and simple:

We hold these truths to be self-evident

We hold these truths to be self-evident

Show your support for this movement by making your own copy of the manifesto and posting the pictures.

(Special privileges will be bestowed on those willing to tattoo the manifesto… on their forehead.)

No meatclouds were harmed in the making of this manifesto.

Viva La Revolución

9 responses to “meatcloud manifesto

  • jameswhite

    I use these rules for buying software:

    Do not implement any product that does not provide an API.
    The provided API must have all functionality that the application provides.
    The provided API must be tailored to more than one language and platform.
    Source code counts as an API, and may be restricted to one language or platform.
    The API must include functional examples and not requre someone to be an expert on the product to use.
    Do not use any product with configurations that are not machine parseable and machine writeable.
    All data stored in the product must be machine readable and writeable by applications other than the product itself.
    Writing hacks around the deficiencies in a product should be less work than writing the product’s functionality.

  • Jimmy Zimmerman

    True… True. Making my manifesto image…

  • Daniel Lopez

    GUI installers are not necessarily evil *if* they also provide an API. Our crossplatform installer ( is able to generate native GUI installers for Windows, Linux, OS X, etc. It is also able to both install those installers in unattended mode (via command line options or a response file) and generate native packages (RPM, DEB) from them, so they can easily be installed using preexisting tools (Zenworks, Chef, Puppet, custom shell scripts). If done properly, 95% of what you need to do to automate installation on an end user’s machine turns out to be the same you need to do to automate installation in virtualized / cloud environments. As an example, it literally took us hours to put all of BitNami’s offering on top of Rightscale ( simply because they already were ‘pre automated’

    • stochasticresonance


      I could have added ‘Exclusively’ as a qualifier to ‘GUI installers’ in the first sentence, but that didn’t seem dramatic enough for Apr 1. I thought it was sort of implied by the next part.

      Thanks for providing cross platform installers, but again that’s only half the story.

      The point I am making is that the UX discussion usually starts and ends with the GUI, but don’t make me click a mouse any more than I have to.

      Now go get your camera…

  • Daniel

    Hola, I get what you say, in fact it was frustration with existing tools that lead me to create BitRock. I remember at a previous job having to tell F500 customers to install X-Window on a production server to be able to install our product, packaged with InstallShield Multiplatform installer, and afterwards remove X-Window. Not pretty.

    I think one of the main changes that cloud computing is bringing is that is making automation a ‘must-have requirement’ rather than a ‘good to have’. Whereas people sometimes would get by just setting a machine/app server in a couple of days,sometimes hiring an expensive consultant to do so, etc. that is basically not an option when you can bring up and down new images in seconds/minutes costing 10c/hour. In that environment the kind of setups you pointed out won’t be able to cut it, as you mention

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