Originally Posted by Áedán
To be honest, does it matter what the file system layout is? Instead, perhaps a standardized API to hide file system differences would make more sense?
As far as virtualization of package management - isn't that what PackageKit is trying to do?
I agree that a standardized package api to hide file system differences would make a lot of sense. I was seeing this as a virtualization issue where some sort of distro-specific translation layer provides a standardized filesystem view to the package manager. Of course the same thing could be achieved more elegantly by creating a standard api to notify a package manager of the intricacies of the distro's filesystem and configuration details.
I wasn't aware of the packagekit project. It seems very promising but from what I understand, they are focused more on the interface side. They are adressing the problem of every distro having their own package management interface rather than the problem of every distro having their own incompatible packages. This is still an important problem to solve and I hope that they are picked up as the default package management interface by a big distro or two(Debian/Ubuntu, RedHat/Fedora, or SUSE).