[packagekit] Application Installer Miniconf: Trip Report

Richard Hughes hughsient at gmail.com
Mon Jan 24 05:38:20 PST 2011

For three days last week I attended a conference on application
installing in Germany, hosted by Vincent Untz and the other guys from

There were experts sent from Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Suse, and
Mandriva. From Fedora both I and Florian Festi attended.

The idea of the conference was to talk about defining some APIs we can
share, to discuss interchange formats, and talking to the UI designers
to make installing and removing software on Linux suck less.


 • Lots of progress, people were willing to help solve a common
problem in a unified way.
 • The right people were at the meeting and we came up with a really
good technical plan with action items.
 • Ubuntu have a nice UI with the Ubuntu Software Center.
 • Packages are not that interesting to the end user.
 • We will integrate with online social services to provide features
like ratings and comments using OCS
 • We will produce appdata.xml metadata per-repository, rather than
one super-package.
 • We will use a xapian index to query the desktop metadata,
rebuilding as repos are added / removed.
 • Will add several new optional fields to desktop file specification upstream.
 • Non .desktop files as applications *do* make sense, e.g. firefox
plugins as .xpi or Chromium style web links. This makes sense to push
to OCS, rather than in the distro metadata.

What this means for PackageKit:

 • We download this in PackageKit if a repo is enabled or refreshed,
which we can achieve with a PackageKit script plugin.

We've put a few detailed documents with architecture plan here:
http://distributions.freedesktop.org/wiki/AppStream and Vincent has
also uploaded all the notes from the meeting to the same location.

For more information still, there was a presentation we gave at the
end of the conference, and can be viewed here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHeP2ZBwS_U -- it's nearly an hour and
gets pretty technical, so get coffee before if you click the video.

Comments and questions welcomed, thanks.


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