Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Nov 2007 21:09 UTC, submitted by diegocg
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Canonical is announcing the availability of PPA: a Launchpad-integrated free service which allows anyone to get 1 GB of space to upload whatever software they want. Launchpad will compile it automatically and will set up an apt repository with your package to anyone who wants to use it. Aditionally, PPAs offer bug reporting and translation services.
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RE: Patch...
by butters on Wed 28th Nov 2007 02:15 UTC in reply to "Patch..."
Member since:

I think, if I understand you correctly, that you're missing the point. The free software ecosystem is fundamentally incompatible with the binary "build once run anywhere forever" mentality. The various distribution projects have different goals, release cycles, and administration tools. The lingua franca of the community is the source tarball.

The trend to which PPA belongs (including a similar service from openSUSE, not sure about Fedora) is the automation of building and packaging processes for various free software platforms. By uploading source tarballs and patches to these services, developers are able to ensure that users of these platforms have access to binary packages automatically prepared for easy installation on their systems.

It's a "push" process that requires developers to take the initiative to make their projects available on a selection of platforms, but it makes this task as easy as possible. Furthermore, if a package becomes popular on a certain platform, its community can take over the initiative in starting to "pull" from upstream. Think of this as a way for developers to get their foot in the door of a major distribution project and gain the exposure needed to become a part of the official repositories.

Don't hold your breath waiting for unified binary compatibility across the free software ecosystem. Especially as free software is aggressively moving onto post-PC hardware platforms and pursuing more appliance-like turnkey solutions, the flexibility of source code will remain a crucially important competitive advantage.

Source code got us where we are today, and it will take us wherever we need to go tomorrow. Part of the free software vision is to demonstrate not only that proprietary software is repressive for users, but also for distributors. PPA highlights the fact that free software makes practical sense for distributors, and the more users demand diversity, the more freedom will triumph over secrecy.

Reply Parent Score: 19

RE[2]: Patch...
by SReilly on Wed 28th Nov 2007 17:03 in reply to "RE: Patch..."
SReilly Member since:

Hear hear!

Thanks you, butters, for so eloquently voicing what I have been unable to for years!

Every so often, I run smack bang into the assumption that for some reason, Linux needs to support binary only code across distros. I have tried to explain that the whole Linux ecosystem needs to be viewed from a completely different perspective but have either failed miserably to express myself properly, was talking to some one unable to grasp this concept or, more often than not, a bit of both.

Invariably, I end up stating that Linux would not be where it is if cross distro binary compatibility was a real issue. To this, most people's answer is that unless the situation changes, Linux will not evolve beyond it's current point. As I have had this argument for several years running, it's quite obvious that the latter statement has proven to be untrue.

I can see the point of cross distro binary compatibility and do agree that it would be a great means of getting more desktop ISVs on board, but only in the short term and at the expense of software vendors opening up their code (or, failing that, start offering solutions based on FLOSS). I feel, and think that many others will agree with me on this, that by showing the world just how far FLOSS has come, in the very short space of time it has been around, we can get more companies to start adopting FLOSS as their preferred development method.

I'm not going to start preaching to the converted, so I wont go into too much depth but I do think that Linus's analogy of the situation sums up what I am trying to say and that basically, closed source software is akin to alchemy while FLOSS is closer to science, i.e. open to peer review.

As I'm sure you have noticed, when even FLOSS's most ardent opponent starts creating FLOSS licenses and opening up code, there has got to be at least some truth to what Linus says.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Patch...
by Temcat on Wed 28th Nov 2007 21:36 in reply to "RE: Patch..."
Temcat Member since:

Unified binaries are needed for Linux to grow beyond of the hobbyist/enthusiast market. And it won't do it if you don't create comfortable environment for proprietary software, for reasons that I'm lazy to discuss tonight. Maybe it doesn't need such growth, but this is another question.

Lack of unified binaries creates duplication of packager work (go ask VMWare) and user frustration. They shouldn't and needn't be the primary means of packaging, but every distro that calls itself a desktop - whatever its native packaging system is - should support an alternative, optional unified packaging system. So that I could conveniently install Photoshop for Linux (hehe) bought and downloaded via CNR (hehe) in any desktop distro I choose.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Patch...
by butters on Wed 28th Nov 2007 22:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Patch..."
butters Member since:

Proprietary software isn't a growth market, it's a hold-over from a bygone era that's slowly fading away. The new software products being adopted by businesses and consumers are overwhelmingly free software. It's not a market worth chasing. I'm content to let the proprietary software vendors chase us as the major free software platforms continue to gain marketshare.

There will be Adobe Photoshop for Linux. The only reason it's taken this long is because Adobe is hard at work overhauling their entire content creation portfolio to support their AIR framework, and while it will be proprietary software, I'm fairly confident that they will ship Linux packages.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Patch...
by wirespot on Wed 28th Nov 2007 23:23 in reply to "RE[2]: Patch..."
wirespot Member since:

Unified binaries are needed for Linux to grow beyond of the hobbyist/enthusiast market.

My Dad's been using Ubuntu for almost 2 years now on his home computer. Not that he knows or cares, he only recently conversationally asked what his computer was running. He nodded when I told him it's Ubuntu Linux and I bet he forgot about it right away.

I'm pretty sure he won't be coming to me anytime soon and say "Son, I think that Linux really needs unified binaries". 'Cause I'd be coughing some of that great pie that Mom makes around the room if he did. ;)

In other words, "Linux needs unified binaries" is only something that a geek/hobbyist would think to say. Regular people, who outnumber geeks greatly, don't know, don't care. They use computers like a VCR and that's all.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Patch...
by mabhatter on Thu 29th Nov 2007 03:53 in reply to "RE: Patch..."
mabhatter Member since:

I think you have the key point. This would build against Ubuntu's included packages as much as possible because it's their servers. Like you say, this gets the "foot in the door" so that all the packages can be represented in some fashion. A small developer can post to sourceforge and some of these PPAs and cover 90% of their base with minimal testing and such.
This is a good balance between raw independence and ubuntu having to do everything.

The goal of Shuttleworth, I think is to have package maintainers work directly in Ubuntu's system, as well as others. Forget the "ivory tower" of Debian where a select few "approve" stable releases and hold everybody back. Also forget the corporate Red Hat that absorbs and "tweaks" projects to their specs so far out of the mainstream that it's useless to give back to the community without lots of work. (issue is that rpms don't "just work" on RH, Suse, Mandriva.. it's all just a bit different) Ubuntu is hitting a wall with doing the maintenance on their own. Shuttleworth is smart to fix the problem not the symptom and make distro management and package building more acceptable to programmers directly rather than trying to root around the internet trying to pull stuff in and fix it up. Ubuntu is in the packaging and supporting enterprise business... directing traffic, not getting drug down into splitting hairs over code. It's very similar to how Linus works by letting others build on their own then he pull in the best options as "official".

Reply Parent Score: 2