Auto Package

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Tue Mar 29 13:33:16 CST 2005

On Tue, Mar 29, 2005 at 06:50:54PM +0100, Mike Hearn wrote:

> On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:24:50 -0800, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > Hoary has been in a state of freeze for months now.  The fact that these
> > applications are held at older versions is intentional and beneficial for
> > stabilization.
> Yes, I understand that. But stabilisation is not solving a users problem,
> it's solving a distribution development problem.

I entirely disagree; the reason we provide stable releases is because users
want them.  Distribution developers generally follow the leading edge.

> > If an application is simple enough to be packaged by autopackage, then
> > it is scarcely more work to package it properly, and this provides a
> > base for future work on the package.  
> Well, ignoring whether a deb is more "proper" than anything else

Consider that Ubuntu ships pretty much the same software packages as
everyone else.  The entirety of what distinguishes us from other
distributions is the work that we put into our packages, enabling them to
work well as a complete system.

> , the trick is *will* it be packaged? Developers can produce autopackages
> that work for anybody, but the existence of a Debian/Ubuntu package
> depends on finding a Debian/Ubuntu user who knows how to package software,
> wants to and who also has access rights to do so. 

The issues you raise are:

- .deb packaging is too complicated.  The solution to this is to make
  .deb packaging easier, not to replace a mature and robust packaging system
  with something more like autopackage.

- There is sometimes a shortage of motivation to create packages.  This is
  not a technical problem, and is shared equally by any packaging solution.

- Access rights don't really enter into the equation.  Packages can be
  created by anyone, we have a review process to incorporate new packages
  into the distribution, we import packages from many existing repositories,
  etc.  There are many packages in Ubuntu which were created by people
  without any privileges within Debian or Ubuntu.-
  Additionally, it is a simple matter to get involved with the MOTU team and
  upload packages directly if one is motivated to do so.

> Random example: glom doesn't seem to have any package, but has existed for
> years.

It doesn't provide any packaging metadata, either.  No debian/, no .spec, no

> > That may be the only way that you can see, but there are many ways, and
> > we intend to explore them.  We are well aware of the potential problems
> > that you describe.
> Care to share what these ways are? I'm always open to new ideas.

The basic desire here is for new pieces of software, and new releases of
software, to be integrated more quickly.  Things which promote this are:

- Simplification of the packaging process
- Automation of the packaging update process where possible (basic tools
  have existed for a long time)
- Improved source control

 - mdz

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