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Ubuntu AppUpdate

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Slightly off-topic but eh.

I'm looking at setting up an update service for Ubuntu Lucid called "Ubuntu AppUpdate". Developers would notify the team of their app updates and we would push them to our repo. It will be similar to GetDeb, but it will be based around Launchpad and PPAs and would have more extensive testing.

I realize that Ubuntu is already taking steps towards this in Maverick, but it may take them a few releases to get the process right due to reservations about updating applications between releases. The AppUpdate PPA would provide a way for Ubuntu Lucid users (or users of any Ubuntu derivative) to get the latest tested versions of their applications in the meantime.


How it would work:

Developers would notify the AppUpdate team via the mailing list about their package update, and a member of the team will push it to the "Testing" repository. If it is pushed to "Testing" and no problems appear by the end of the weekly cycle, it will be pushed by the team to "Stable" and all users with the PPA will be notified of the update.

All packages must be uploaded to a Launchpad PPA before they will be considered to be included in the Ubuntu AppUpdate PPA.

Note: Keep in mind, AppUpdate is only for individual applications like Chromium, Deluge and MPlayer, *not* the kernel, core libraries and the desktop environment. For the sake of stability and compatibility, packages that need core library updates will *not* be accepted.


Testing info:

I would like to invite you guys to try out Ubuntu AppUpdate. I have uploaded packages from around 20 PPAs into the AppUpdate Testing PPA. They should all work, but I would like to give them a rundown before they are pushed to the Stable PPA. If you have any suggestions for PPAs or packages, let me know.

If you would like to try it out, add the Ubuntu AppUpdate PPAs to your sources via the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:infinity-team/appupdate-stable
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:infinity-team/appupdate-testing
sudo apt-get update
If you have any problems with any of the packages, post the issue on the Ubuntu AppUpdate mailing list/forum. The package will be promptly removed from the repositories.


PS If any of you would like to join the team and help out directly, feel to PM me.
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Links to the repos/PPAs:

Stable: https://launchpad.net/~infinity-team...pupdate-stable
Testing: https://launchpad.net/~infinity-team...update-testing


Looking over both the projects of GetDeb and AppUpdate, they compliment each other more than they duplicate. GetDeb seems to build most of their own packages, while AppUpdate pulls them directly from the developer PPAs. This allows GetDeb to have more packages than AppUpdate, but this also allows for AppDate to have more up to date packages. Comparing the packages present on both GetDeb and AppUpdate, the packages on AppUpdate are a bit newer.

My service will build very little on its own, as I feel that building the packages should be the responsibility of the developer. The goal of AppUpdate is to aggregrate the ~20 PPAs many Ubuntu users have in their sources, while giving the packages some extra testing to prevent the breakages that arise when a developer pushes a broken package to their PPA. Its main focus is to be a one stop place for Ubuntu users to get the latest applications for their install, without the risks of broken packages.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm tracking the PPAs below for Ubuntu AppUpdate and I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions for other good PPAs.


The following PPAs are being tracked (53 in total):

All packages:

https://launchpad.net/~szymonw/+archive/ppa/ (OpenSonic)
https://launchpad.net/~tualatrix/+archive/ppa/ (Ubuntu Tweak)
https://launchpad.net/~hydr0g3n/+archive/ppa/ (q**********)
https://launchpad.net/~loneowais/+archive/ppa/ (GMailWatcher/RenameThemAll)
https://launchpad.net/~dlynch3/+archive/ppa (Rapid Photo Downloader)
https://launchpad.net/~markuz/+archive/ppa (Christine Media Player)
https://launchpad.net/~freefilesync/+archive/ffs (FreeFileSync)

Some packages:


Note: Thanks Mac the Knive
post #4 of 6
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I spent like 4 hours last night (with a friend's help :P) testing all those packages. I removed a few due to unsuitability, immaturity, or just plain dependency complication.


All the packages in Testing are ready to be pushed into Stable on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, I have another long testing Saturday/Sunday (haven't decided which yet) next week to test packages from at least another 15 PPAs. Good times. :P


Completed first cycle. All packages remaining in Testing were pushed to Stable. All packages from the newly added PPAs were pushed to Testing.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ubuntu AppUpdate has been discontinued. This is mainly for two reasons:

1. Many popular applications are not available in PPAs

This problem could be solved by Ubuntu, or a major derivative, deciding to adopt a system similar to AppUpdate, encouraging developers to publish their packages on PPAs to be included in an official update service. This also could be assisted by making PPAs easier to use and upload to via an external application or by simplifying the process by reducing the sheer number of steps needed to use a PPA (the difficulty involved in getting a package uploaded and built on Launchpad has been a major complaint of Ubuntu developers).


2. The .deb format is not ideal for distro-independent application updates

Many applications were rejected by AppUpdate due to requiring a library update. In some cases (ie. VLC), updating the library would cause dependency or compatibility problems for applications that rely on the older library version. As, in most cases, you may only have a single global version of a library installed, this poses a huge problem for updating many applications independently from the distribution itself.

The best solution would be for Ubuntu, or a major derivative, to adopt a separate and parallel application distribution system alongside the one used by core libraries. Ideally, this system would allow developers to bundle alternate library versions (or libraries not included at all in the distribution repos) with their application without affecting the global libraries.

Such a system could be implemented similarly to AppFolders on Mac OS X, or the AppImages used by the Portable Linux Apps project, though some major modifications would be needed to integrate it with the existing package management systems.


In the meantime, Ubuntu users can turn to the Portable Linux Apps project or GetDeb for their application update needs. :P

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