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Introducing AppStream, Multi-Distro App Framework

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  • #16
    Uhm If I understood the article correctly this is nothing special. It is mostly about the GUI (!) i.e. for the application devs nothing changes at all.

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    • #17
      I see great potential and exciting possibilities if they widen the scope a bit.

      The great thing about a package manager is that you don't have to use only centralized package repositories.
      Many things have their own ppa.


      It would be awesome if AppStream would contain some api's for packages/software management.
      It would make a lot of people's life much easier.

      API's for:
      1) setting up ppa's or AppStream's equivalent.
      2) That can handle stuff like versions, branching(forks), multiple sources, statistics.

      What would really be handy is that there would be something like public statistics.
      Statistics literaly available for everybody. It doesn't have to be detailed or mandatory. e.g. number of downloads for a certain time interval. Filterable by OS, distro, package/software version, source, other...
      Such statistics would be available by software sources such as AppStream Equivalent of PPA's.

      If enough website's would uniformly implement something like this. We could have something to could the total number of downloaded linux distro's or other floss-software somewhat reliably.
      This part wouldn't even have to be limited to Linux.

      It would need api's for:
      installing packages/software
      package/software sources
      updating packages/software via packages and managers
      package/software statistics



      It would also be nice to be able to do the following:
      setup AppStream on a server and some computers
      be able to set the computers to fetch the software they should install from the server
      be able to set a package/software configuration of a bundle of packages you want on the computers. And share that via network. All computers connected would be able to copy, check and add/remove the right packages. While the server uses another configuration for it's own software. It would be handy to make a configuration and include that in another configuration.

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      • #18
        Such api's would allow for a uniform way to do things one way and have it work everywhere.
        That's the kind of stuff that makes developers life easier.



        Wasn't KDE working on a frontend for such a thing called Shaman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacman_...age_manager%29

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        • #19
          Hmm, I don't think this is meant as any sort of replacement to current package maintenance systems, but rather more like an easy interface to them for an end user. I can see it gaining traction in point-and-click adventure desktop experiences, while still letting those who wish use the underlying mechanism (so the gentoo folk might not want to use it, but the ubuntu crowd might like it).

          Something to keep an eye on at any rate, and see if it pans out.

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          • #20
            I was mildly excited reading this until I read the dreaded word "PackageKit". There's a reason I stay away from PackageKit like the plague and just use yum from cli (actually I'd probably use yum anyway even if PackageKit didn't bring up really bad memories because there are some things I just prefer doing from cli even if there is an excellent GUI). Then again I haven't actually given PackageKit a shot in a really long time so maybe it's not horrible anymore.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by sirdilznik View Post
              I was mildly excited reading this until I read the dreaded word "PackageKit". There's a reason I stay away from PackageKit like the plague and just use yum from cli (actually I'd probably use yum anyway even if PackageKit didn't bring up really bad memories because there are some things I just prefer doing from cli even if there is an excellent GUI). Then again I haven't actually given PackageKit a shot in a really long time so maybe it's not horrible anymore.
              Well in all fairness it isn't so much that packagekit is broke, nor is it the case that the package management in a distro is broke. Where a majority of the breakage occurs is in the "glue" that binds the two together. When there is an update to a package manager, all to often that bind is broken and that is when issues occur and it happens a lot across multiple distros.

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              • #22
                Basically

                If I understand this correctly basically what this would allow you to do is say "Wow, FooBar is an excellent app!" and people would be able to find it no matter what distro they're using. The could even provide a link that will work on all the distros that support this system.

                It does NOT mean that the packages will be the same or that they will even have the same name or the same dependencies. (I imagine for example that the problem would still exist with somebody, let's say, asking "What's the best player for MP3 files?" and somebody giving a link to Rhytmbox which under Fedora does not include the necessary codec for MP3s.

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                • #23
                  I thing AppStream targeted at UX will help desktop Linux. It will help users. It will create common UI/UX among many distro, and it will be easier to merge it will initiative targeted at package/app creators/devs if|when such occur.

                  It will also erase one more minus stated against linux, different UX among many distros for such common activity like app managing.

                  So I see thing that will be bit better, and no that will loose on this idea.

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                  • #24
                    I think they could make some tarball standard for third party installers that'd install into /opt.

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                    • #25
                      And it will enable app-centric distro-independet community of users, sharing meta-data like rating, screenshots, comments, etc.

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                      • #26
                        I'm not a fan of this at all. First, I see no use in user comments, ratings and the like being part of a software installation app. Those features would be fine on a website, which in conjunction with something like a distro-neutral version of apt-url would enable the same functionality.

                        And having a cross-distro installation app causes several issues:

                        1) It will have to be used alongside a more traditional repository system (like one uses with Synaptic). Since each distro requires different library verisions, etc to funciton properly, not everything can be just dropped into another distro. So while this would be fine for things like installing games, it wouldn't do much good for installing development libraries.

                        2) Distros with strict Free Software policies could be contaminated by non-free software. Since the software selection would be the same across distros, political issues could cause problems.

                        3) As drafted, it appears the blueprint for this new system will require internet access (which makes sense if it is integrating social review funcitons). We shouldn't be encouraging users to be dependent on 3rd party services in order to use their system. With apt/rpm, you can easily host your own repository on your local machine or internal server. Will the same be true of AppStream?

                        4) How is this any easier than the current system? Other than having a bit easier to understand interface, Ubuntu's Software Center doesn't provide any real benefit to end-users. Why not improve Synaptic instead of replacing it?

                        5) Eventually, this will be used to sell proprietary software. Along with the Free Software politics issues that I mention above, I take issue with offering software for sale in the same app as software that is free. I have no problem with commercial software in this context, but it should be made available in a seperate app, so it is very clear to the user what is free and what is not. We shouldn't be implimenting the iPhone store in GNU/Linux.

                        6) If this system is as centralized as the blueprint suggest, downstream distros will have to decide between offering all of the commercial software, etc that their upstream distro might be selling and not using AppStream at all. There needs to be a system in place to allow each distro to decide what to offer and what not to.

                        I do think a cross-distro standard for installing software is important. But not one that requires a 3rd party, internet-based service. While I agree PackageKit has its problems, what it offers is much more useful by itself than with any convoluted AppStore built on top of it.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by przemoli View Post
                          And it will enable app-centric distro-independet community of users, sharing meta-data like rating, screenshots, comments, etc.
                          Yes, this is a the goal for what I grasp. And it will reuse the existing (and very good, IMHO) tools to update/install/remove packages in Linux (way superior than the windows way).

                          We still need a universal, low level installer for proprietary software (prop games, etc). But such a tool would work in the back end, so I REALLY don't understand all the bitching, here.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Thatguy View Post
                            NO, it simply allows the same douche baggy development packaging to continue that cuased game ports to not come over to linux.
                            No, it just means that big game pubishers will have to come up with another excuse for not porting games to linux. Indie developers are somehow able to port games to linux just fine. I guess they must have way more money and resources than those big companies. It's the only explanation on how they can make both an .rpm AND a .deb package.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by devius View Post
                              No, it just means that big game pubishers will have to come up with another excuse for not porting games to linux. Indie developers are somehow able to port games to linux just fine. I guess they must have way more money and resources than those big companies. It's the only explanation on how they can make both an .rpm AND a .deb package.
                              And not to forget, even an installer AND a tarball on top of all that. They sure have ridiculous amounts of resources, don't they?

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                              • #30
                                Slightly OT, but this arrived in my in box this morning.

                                If Microsoft made toasters
                                ----------------------------------------------
                                Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a toaster.
                                You wouldn't have to take the toaster, but you'd still have to pay for
                                it anyway. XP Toaster would weigh 15000 pounds (hence requiring a
                                reinforced steel countertop), draw enough electricity to power a small
                                city, take up 95% of the space in your kitchen, would claim to be the
                                first toaster that lets you control how light or dark you want your
                                toast to be, and would secretly interrogate your other appliances to
                                find out who made them. Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but
                                nonetheless would buy them
                                since most of the good bread only works with their toasters.

                                If Apple made toasters...
                                --------------------------
                                It would do everything the Microsoft toaster does, but 5 years earlier.

                                If Linux made toasters...
                                -------------------------
                                Anyone could build his own toaster from the spare parts in the garage,
                                but people would still pay money for pre-built toasters. All the parts
                                would be user serviceable, and the design plans would be freely
                                downloadable. Instead of the complexity of having to push a button, you
                                would simply type something like "toast-lightness?rk-bread-type=brown".
                                The toaster would burn your toast by default, but once you enable the
                                don't-burn-my-toast" feature in "toaster.conf" (as described in the
                                TOASTER-RTFM-HOWTO) it would toast reliably for years. People who eat
                                Linux toast say that it is better than Windows toast.


                                .... And Microsoft would tell everyone that Linux Toast causes cancer...
                                food for thought.

                                http://www.mail-archive.com/scottish.../msg00254.html

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