19 January, 2011

Meetings & stuff

I just heard from Vincent that the Cross-distro app installer meeting organized by openSUSE is in full swing.

Cross distribution Appstore Sprint

As Vincent wrote in his blog, the idea came up at the openSUSE conference. We should work on getting distributions on the same page when it comes to a Linux Appstore technology. Appstore API's have been in development for ages on linux so we have a strong base. The as the Open Collaboration Services we currently have on freedesktop.org are inspired by the GetHotNewStuff technology which was developed by Josef Spillner many years ago - KDE and GNOME have used this to deliver wallpapers and scripts to their users. After GHNS, two possible successors were developed - OCS, started by Frank Karlitschek, seems the de-facto standard now. It was adopted by Maemo and now by MeeGo for their appstore, openoffice.org supports it and of course the family of opendesktop.org series of sites including the popular gtk-apps.org, qt-apps.org, GNOME- and KDE-look.org are all accessible from this API.

At the cross-distro appinstaller meeting which started this morning people from several distributions including Red Hat, Mandriva and Debian are discussing together how Linux should tackle this. Can we agree on a common technology shared between distributions and Desktops? Hopefully we can bring together the work on app install by Richard, the Software Center tech from Ubuntu and FD.o's Open Collaboration Services in a way that benefits all.

I had a quick phone call with Frank who told me the meeting is very constructive and he hopes that the major distributions can agree on some kind of standard by the end of this week. That would be pretty awesome! The appstore sprint aims to bring people on the same page and will be followed by a Bretzn sprint for openSUSE.

Bretzn Sprint

At the Bretzn sprint (also sponsored by openSUSE) the goal is to get something done: work on appstore integration in openSUSE, as well as smoothen the process of building and distributing an application for developers. Bretzn, first announced at the openSUSE conference in October, is almost ready for its first release. At the sprint, Pavol Rusnak, who developed a web based openSUSE Games store, will also be present - I hope he can make sure we also have a web-accessible store for openSUSE!

While it is unsure if the work on Bretzn and the openSUSE appstore will make it into openSUSE 11.4, it is clear that openSUSE is pushing innovation and standardization in the Linux market. Not going all alone, but thinking and caring about the larger ecosystem - I think that is what separates a real community effort from a company pushing a corporate agenda. Bringing the right people with the right skills and the right ideas together is what these sprints are all about - I'm happy to have helped make it possible. And less happy that I couldn't be there myself, there is little in the world of Free Software that gives me more energy than being at a developer sprint!

I'd like to thank Frank and Vincent for organizing, as well as all the attendees for attending and I look forward to their blogs and news.o.o article ;-)

Good luck and Rock the Boat!


  1. How are you involving other distributions such as Pardus Linux, Arch Linux and Foresight ...All of these distributions have innovative packagemanagers, maybe it will be helpful if you reach out to their developers too.
    I will include Chakra Project too.

  2. Since PackageKit is available for all these platforms and the differences between the distributions aren't that big, I think Pardus & Co. can easily make use of the changes too.
    If they don't like it, they can suggest changes to the spec. So I don't think any distribution will be left behind, in the end.

  3. yes, of course these smaller distro's can have their say. To explain why they often aren't involved - requests for cooperation are done on a list like FD.o and depend on a distro developer being on that list and having time to attend. that is just much less likely if your distro has 4 volunteers compared to tens if not hundreds of full time developers... and of course ppl are sometimes personally invited - i bet vincent knows more red hat than chakra developers.

  4. Gentoo package manager is quite good, im sure that the standar can borrow some ideas from it.


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