I'd like to discuss how difficult it is to add a third party repository

Scott Ritchie scott at open-vote.org
Fri May 25 18:18:39 UTC 2007

Next to medibuntu, I currently run one of the most popular third party
repositories for Ubuntu, the WineHQ APT repository.

The problem is that the instructions at this website are too hard:

Users need to cut and paste two terminal commands and type their
password into the command line.  They can't be sure what exactly they're
doing, nor is it obvious that this will keep Wine up to date whenever I
update the package.  One user reported not following the instructions at
all because of this, and simply giving up.

Once installed, navigating to the "third party" tab of the repositories
section in Synaptic gives a bit of vague information.  No metadata about
the repository is available - simply the location where files are
downloaded from.

There's room for serious improvement here.  Users should be able to
click download a file on the WineHQ website, then double click on that,
enter their password, and then have the repository set up.

When I've offered this suggestion before, some developers have
complained about potential security risks from making it so easy to hose
your system by adding a malicious third party repository.

With the current cryptic instructions, though, even if we gave
absolutely no information about what this process does we'd be no worse
off than we are now - users are already blindly entering terminal
commands.  If we couple the file-based installation of a third party
repository with some sort of simple explanation and GUI prompt, things
should work much more smoothly for everyone.


Scott Ritchie

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