Why it’s so painful to install any software on Unix OS’s compared to Windows?

Lately, I have been playing with Apache, MySql, and PHP, the three killer apps in this modern internet world. In order to learn how to use the softwares, I had to install them onto a server. This is when I encountered the ultimate pain of using unix-based applications. On Solaris, I tried to install Apache, then MySql and then PHP. It’s one thing after another. The Apache 2 depends on 5 other packages that need to be installed first. After installing it, configuring it to work takes another day of searching on Google to find tips, which apparently are very different from the standard README. Then MySql depends on a couple of more packages. Finally, the worst of them all, PHP takes 7~9 additional packages to make it work. And I still couldn’t get it installed due to some strange error messages, pointing to a broken build on SunFreeware.com. This means I would need to configure and re-compile it from source code. The entire process took several days and I consider myself pretty savvy. I threw my hands up and decided to give Windows a shot.

I went to each download site and download the corresponding Windows version, there was only one package to download for each application. Though I encountered some difficulties in setting up Apache, the entire process took only a couple hours and it was working right away! Why the Unix folks are making it so difficult for people to use the softwares. By all means, bundle all of the packages together or come out with a way to download all the dependent packages in one shot. I don’t care if it’s a legal issue or an ego issue. Let’s not make it any more difficult than it should be, or we’ll see Microsoft Windows takes over the world.