The conversation was about the method of installing new software on the Lubuntu Linux distribution. A few users were suggesting that the Lubuntu Software Center (LSC) be replaced; there were suggestions for another software center, and one ramble about how software centers don't work anyway. I like this one.
In Windows, to install a new program, you follow these steps: First, you find the program, either by a referral from a friend or an advertisement somewhere, or by performing an internet search. Then you acquire the program, by purchasing a disc at a store or purchasing a license online and downloading it. Some applications are free, and some are open source; these you can download without paying money.
If you ended up buying a disc at a store, to install the application all you have to do (usually) is insert the disc into the drive on your computer and follow the AutoRun instructions, or allow the AutoRun first (Vista and later) or search on the disc for a file, normally called setup.exe, and run it. Follow the setup instructions and you're done!
The same goes for downloaded programs. Run the setup and follow the instructions.
Now, in Linux, this doesn't work. Why, you might ask? Well the fact is that the nature of Linux makes this difficult. The Linux kernel, which Linus Torvalds is in charge of, includes the bare minimum to run a computer. If you want to control the computer, you need to add stuff, like BASH and Xserver and the like. And because there are so many different distributions of Linux (commonly referred to as Distros), everything is different every time! So in order for a single binary executable file (the nerdy and geeky way to describe a setup.exe file) to work, it would have to detect and install only the files needed by the system it was being installed on, while containing the dependencies (files the program requires to run) for every possible combination of core system programs! To download such a file would take many hours and several Gigabytes because of the vast number of differences between the many distros.
You might be asking, well, why doesn't Windows have this problem? A setup file that works in Windows 7 seems to work all right down to XP! That's almost the case, as with the advent of 64-bit Windows, you need to have a 32-bit and 64-bit version of everything, but yes, they seem to be remarkably compatible, even though they're very different.
The answer to this question is that the core programs that make controlling and operating a Windows system is all the same and intercompatible because Microsoft makes them. One company writes the same program (or similar) for all the Windows releases; in Linux, there are thousands of different programs that make a "windowed" system possible, and they're all written by different people. Compatibility between them is almost impossible.
So there's my rant for the day! I wrote it sort of as if I were talking/thinking, so if it's hard to read, oh well. If you're interested in Linux, give it a try! There are plenty of different distros (as I mentioned above) for you to choose from. I personally use Lubuntu (lubuntu.net), it might be worth a look if you have an older computer.