How to handle PPAs that need to override Software Center metadata?

Scott Ritchie scott at
Fri Aug 27 00:22:24 BST 2010

So, the current situation with Wine has exposed some issues in Software
Center and PPAs that we should discuss.

The current story:

Lucid ships a beta version of Wine, 1.1.42, in the wine1.2 package.  The
real Wine 1.2 was released after Lucid came out (it's currently in SRU

Lucid also has an old stable Wine, 1.0.1, in the wine1.0 package.

Lucid has a dummy "wine" package that installs wine1.2 (so users would
automatically be upgraded to the beta)

The Wine PPA:

The Wine PPA provides a wine1.2 package that is the real, nonbeta
release.  The Wine PPA also provides a (conflicting) wine1.3 package as
the current beta if a user wishes to follow it.

The problem:

The descriptions in Software Center are now out of date, since they
aren't the same for pre-PPA and post-PPA.  Once the user adds the Wine
PPA they become more than confusing.  So with the PPA ticking the box
for "Beta Release" will actually give you the stable wine1.2, and to get
wine1.3 you have to scroll down into the packages list and pick it manually.

What should happen:

Ideally the mere act of adding the PPA would provide some new metadata
for Software Center.  Since a user usually wants to install (or update)
some software at the same time as adding a PPA, it would be particularly
convenient if this could be done in one step (rather than the current
add sources, then open software center and find the right Wine package
or click an apt-url link).

However, this raises all sorts of questions about how to do this
properly, since it essentially means logic that would happen in Software
Center after adding a PPA other than simply editing sources.list.

So, I'm mailing the list.  Thoughts?

Scott Ritchie

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