Getting new packages into Ubuntu

Stefano Rivera stefanor at
Mon Oct 10 18:05:52 UTC 2011

Hi Sebastien (2011.10.10_18:08:16_+0200)
> - there are lot of people out there who writer softwares and have no
> interest to learn enough about Ubuntu to become a MOTU, they just want
> to reach users, they should be welcome to join as well and in a way
> which is not to difficult for them

I'm still sitting on the fence about ARB in general. I think lowering
the barrier to entry for new apps is probably a good idea. It does come
with downsides:
* We need to divert manpower to packaging these apps. On the other hand,
  that's volunteer time, and volunteers can work on whatever they want
* Every package needs to be explicitly uploaded to every release.
  I imagine that it means that we'll start every release with a
  relatively empty ARB store, and have a rush to get new apps in.
  Some will then spend a month or two stabilising. Ubuntu's 6 month
  release cycle may be too short for this to be an efficient process.
* No obvious approaches to handling security issues or bug reports yet.
  I got a single report for my ARB app, by a user who found the source
  and hunted me down. (And I haven't dealt with it yet, eep)
* It doesn't deal very well with libraries that aren't in Ubuntu. (And
  with the vague proposal of having a tiny Ubuntu core, main, without
  universe, this becomes a much larger problem). They need to be bundled
  with every app. This poses security problems, even if it does make the
  app author's lives easier.

> - you were recently complaining as well about the number of packages
> that see one upload and stop being maintained that we have to fix then,
> do we want those in the main archive because they attract people or
> would they be better suited in extras?

Yes, this would help with that. I seem to remember an earlier proposal,
where, if an app was still popular after a release or two, it would be
strongly encouraged to be included in Universe / Debian.

> - locking upstream softwares to our release cycle just don't fit, it's a
> best un-natural and create extra work, it often means that users get
> outdated softwares or versions that upstreams want to replace

That is another reasonable advantage.

> One other way would be perhaps to stop freezing universe at release and
> to let softwares elvolve in a least strict way...

I'm sure there'd be people who'd appreciate that (it sounds rather
ports-ish), but I'm already concerned about the stability of Universe as
it is (MOTU is rather understaffed right now).

Yes, I also got involved in Ubuntu because I wanted to get a
(particularly minor) app, and all its dependencies in. I had also been a
Debian user for a decade or so, and had always intended to get more
involved in the development side of the distributions, so I might have
been more naturally drawn in than others. But I'm pretty sure that if
ARB had been available then, I would have used it, rather than sticking
my nose into #ubuntu-motu and asking where I could help out.


Stefano Rivera
  H: +27 21 465 6908 C: +27 72 419 8559  UCT: x3127

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