Fwd: Updates to applications

Jorge O. Castro jorge at ubuntu.com
Thu Sep 29 17:43:13 UTC 2011

Hi everyone,

In Unity we have these things called Lenses that add functionality to
the dash: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Unity/Lenses/Ideas

I've had a tricky situation where I've been waiting for a place to put
Lenses. I have a few options, one is "every lens has a PPA run by it's
own author", which is what we have now. This isn't ideal for a few
reasons, first you have to know what to look for, it's not scalable,
and it's not user friendly.

So my next idea was to stick them in one PPA for everyone, that would
simplify things, but then someone needs to curate that and work with
individual authors to keep that up to date and still has the same
problems. So, enter the Software Center process; this sounds like a
solution to my problem! Every app author can just submit their lens
and then users can just find it in USC without any of this PPA
complications, perfect!

Except when I found out that application authors can only submit their
applications once per stable release of Ubuntu. Things like Unity
lenses, can heavily use web services. Things with APIs that might
change, or things that might be updated. So what happens when someone
submits a Reddit Lens and then a week later it breaks and it needs to
be updated? Do we have like a sort of SRU-like process for this?

It was explained to me that this is simply a resourcing issue with the
ARB, so I started thinking about how to help them not get swamped.
Let's say on something like a Unity lens, which is relatively simple,
and the packaging is _mostly_ similar. Similar enough to not make it
such a hassle when reviewing. So, let's say I have a volunteer (let's
call him "Ken"), who understands how lenses are supposed to be
packaged and maintains the default ones in the archive already.

We then trickle in the first lens, then figure out the ins and outs,
and then after that, we kind of run "interference" for the ARB. Then
people just clump around apps they care about, do the initial work of
checking out to make sure an upgrade to an app doesn't break it, etc.,
and then pushes it up to the ARB for final yay/nay.

It's the same team-PPA style concept I mentioned earlier, except
instead of people maintaining it in a PPA that no one can find we can
do it in a place where end users can reap the benefits of having up to
date applications. Thoughts?

Jorge Castro
Canonical Ltd.
Help fix Unity Bitesize Bugs: http://goo.gl/i1WA1

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