"Some time ago," Washington writes to the Linux Foundation desktop mailing list, "it was discussed on an LSB face-to-face meeting that an API should be developed that allows ISVs to install software packages which integrate into the package manager." The idea, the Berlin Packaging API, sizzled out, apart from a Wiki page with a rudimentary proposal. Washington decided to take matters into his own hands, and has designed and implemented a prototype of this packaging API - and he imaginatively called it the LSB Package API, and it uses a simple D-Bus interface and an XML-based package description format.
I hope this implementation will act as a starting point for resurrecting the Berlin API process. Let us overcome the "Third-party software installation on Linux sucks" problem and strive to a brave new world of easily distributable Linux software! ;)
Some may think this sounds a lot like PackageKit, but Washington is quick to point out this isn't the case. PackageKit provides an abstraction layer on top of the existing package management systems, providing users with a front-end for managing repository-based package systems. "However, it does not address the problem of software distribution itself," Washington explains, the repositories and package files are still specific to the packaging system."
Personally, I have my doubts about these so-called solutions, and not only from a hard-to-implement point of view (have fun getting all those noses to point into the same direction), but also from the point of view that these solutions do nothing to fix the actual underlying problem that most package managers and software installation systems (Linux, Windows, OS X) deal with: the complicated nature of installing software, and the inability to give users control over and insight in how they manage their own systems.
I wrote down my own preferred way of installing and managing software in an article earlier this year, and I still believe that pretty hefty choices need to be made in order to make the process of managing software as flexible, easy, and powerful as possible - all without limiting the power user, or overwhelming the novice user.
I'm still open for suggestions.