Providing opt-in upgrade path to the OEM Archives from the Ubuntu Archive

Dimitri John Ledkov xnox at
Wed Aug 28 14:23:31 UTC 2019

As part of the collaboration between Canonical and OEMs public OEM
archives exist that ship additional open-source patches, fixes and
hardware-specific documentation. These archives are used by default on
the Ubuntu pre-installed SKUs as sold by OEMs. The updates in those
repositories are sensitive in timing by OEMs and Canonical, to match
hardware release cycles and thus are performed outside of the SRU

Often enough the updates are prepared in private, using codenames of
unreleased hardware, and are made available simultaneously with the
hardware releases / announcements for Ubuntu support. Ahead of
integration in vanilla kernels. Eventually, all fixes make it into all
the relevant upstream projects, and eventually integrated into vanilla
ubuntu. This happens across multiple releases / LTS-point releases.

To provide a better experience on vanilla Ubuntu installations I would
like to ship stub meta-packages with Modaliases metadata in the Ubuntu
Archive. These stub meta-packages would pull in OEM signing key as a
trusted key, and enable the correct OEM repository matching the
hardware in question. Usually, it involves switching machines from
linux-generic to the linux-oem kernel flavour. Both kernel flavors are
maintained in the public Ubuntu Archive by Canonical Kernel Team).
Thus this would allow users of vanilla installations to opt-into OEM
updates, fixes, firmware updates, and documentation to be installed
after the next `apt full-upgrade`. Such a solution is very
transparent, as one can disable the OEM repository and uninstall the
OEM vendor meta package from the GUI software-properties app &
ubuntu-drivers CLI tools.

This is atypical request for the Ubuntu Project, as it's a new type of
archive that users would be guided to choose and enable. The closest
similarity is the Canonical Partner repository, however, the key
difference is that OEM repositories contain open-source software that
already exists in the Ubuntu Archive with additional hardware-specific
fixes to particular machines. These repositories might contain
proprietary things too - i.e. specific laptop model documentation,
manuals and service guides.

I am seeking permission from the tech board to ship OEM Archive
keyring in the Ubuntu Archive, together with meta-packages that
declare certified OEM Modaliases to make users an offer to opt into
receiving updates from the OEM Archives for their hardware.



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