What I would do: Ubuntu Rolling Release

The idea really is that Ubuntu’s rolling release (alpha/betas) shouldn’t become a seperate product from Ubuntu’s LTS industry targets. Instead if we think about the platform as a whole, we should be able to put together both LTS and RR versions of Ubuntu into a single package. It would then be possible to do some really interesting things, like using one ubuntu install to repair or analyse the other.

I’d also like to see most applications removed from universe since it’s pretty obvious that the Debian model for packages is failing and we need to rethink how we deal with applications. The best model would be to be decisive and scrap apps from universe and move them to their own PPAs or a dedicated app-store model where FOSS apps might even be able to earn some money as they would finally be in a similar position to the propritary Canonical apps.

I understand these ideas are bold, but I wanted to give my thoughts on how best to close the loose ends. What are you solutions? colmment below.

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9 Responses to “What I would do: Ubuntu Rolling Release”

  1. Dylan McCall says:

    I definitely agree with you about cutting back HEAVILY on universe. I think we should start thinking of the package repository as a service for applications, rather than a service for (all) end users. Applications could exist in their own, completely separate system — preferably something distro-agnostic, with a really simple package format that supports installing applications without root. An application might request certain base system components, and that’s where dpkg / apt comes in, but I don’t think there is a reason why an application should need to care about that.

    I was grumbling on Twitter about how free software seems to have this antipattern of software being needlessly generalized, sometimes to the point that it’s worse off in every use case, including the one it was supposed to solve in the first place. I was really thinking of package systems there. They’re great at a few very specific things, but they’ve ended up being used for everything.

  2. doctormo says:

    @Dylan – Package managers do two important things, one is control meta data such as dependancies and allow those libs to be installed when required. The other is put the files into the right places on the target machine. They are very important and improve a system’s coheasive factor. If we actively supported apps being installed from tarballs and other rubbish we wouldn’t have any clue how to manage the deps and no idea about conflicting files on the system.

  3. Emmanuel Seyman says:

    There are a number of consequences to removing applications from universe (where to file bugs, who does the packaging, who handles security updates, …)

  4. Killerkiwi says:

    > If we actively supported apps being installed from tarballs

    Seriously no body is suggesting that, but the 6 month cycle for app upgrades is broken (yes there is proposed etc but the turnover is so low its a joke)

    As long as the app is only its own data/files and no shared libs it should be pulled from universe and added to an app store that can regularly updated.

    That would cover pretty much every game and 90% of apps.

    I would say the number of PPA’s people are using for app upgrades is proof enough that this needed fixing years ago

  5. Dylan McCall says:

    @doctormo: Oh, yeah, installing from tarballs would be awful, and I agree a big strength of apt+dpkg is keeping the filesystem organized. But a package format for applications, perhaps with an implementation that talks to dpkg (and another implementation that talks to rpm!), could be a very useful thing to get behind. Right now applications are packaged with the same tools as system stuff – tools which have been designed by and for Debian package maintainers, rather than (extra) application developers – and I think that’s a little silly.

  6. A distro-agnostic, non-root, decentralised method of installing apps—sounds like 0install.

    Could Ubuntu adopt 0install?

  7. Kai Mast says:

    Keep in mind that PPAs in their current states are VERY insecure.

  8. foo says:

    My answer: LOL, good luck with that!

  9. doctormo says:

    @Kai Mast – Oh I agree, we have a terrible story for securing trust.