Application packaging (Re: brainstorming for UDS-N - Application Developers)

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Wed Nov 10 09:40:36 GMT 2010

On Fri, Oct 01, 2010 at 05:56:27PM +0100, Evan Dandrea wrote:
> > On Tuesday, September 28, 2010 05:31:26 pm Rick Spencer wrote:
> > > We want to empower, engage and harness application developers to develop
> > > on and for Ubuntu. These sessions cover the many elements in achieving
> > > that goal.
> > >
> > > What's high on your list for this area?
> > >
> > > There are some existing conversations and threads that people should
> > > feel free to comment on in addition to any new areas:
> > > * Changes to the implementation of the New Apps on stable releases
> > > (suggestions have included changing the system to use backports as an
> > > avenue onto a stable release, for example).
> > > * Changes to the Application Review Board process (including, for
> > > example, eliminating it and replacing it with a streamlined backports
> > > process).
> > > * Enhancement, changes to tools such as Glade, Gedit, etc...
> > > * Anything about Quickly and/or Quickly Widgets, including new
> > > templates, improvements to the existing template, new widgets, etc...
> > > * Information Architecture for application developers, including a
> > > developers manual, etc...
> >
> > If we are going to meet the goal of really streamlining the process for
> > developers to get their applications in front of users, then we need to change
> > what it is that is delivering the application.  I don't think that a
> > traditional Debian package is going to be able to support a truly lightweight
> > process.
> Thank you.  This is something I've been thinking about for quite a while and
> it's comforting to know that I'm not alone in what entrenched minds must find to
> be very radical thinking.

You might also be interested in
which I posted back in July.  It is a radical perspective (questioning our
fundamental model), but it is not unheard of.

> I think our current architecture for packaging and delivery is built on top of
> some misconceptions.  Namely, that we can solve the problem of buggy software
> getting into Ubuntu by fixing bugs in applications on behalf of developers,
> that packaging needs to be complex, and that we should be and ultimately need
> to be doing the legwork to package these applications ourselves.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly don't suffer from any such
delusion.  Packaging is not about keeping bugs out, but about getting
software in and getting it working---together.

> We need to make it so that developers can quickly deploy an application that
> then appears in Ubuntu Software Center for anyone on that release of Ubuntu,
> regardless of where we our in our own cycle.

The current effort in this area is based around Debian packages, and is an
incremental step from where we are today.  We can and should continue to
improve and simplify it from there.

 - mdz

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