[maemo-users] List of Repository for OS2008

From: Norman Ramsey nr at eecs.harvard.edu
Date: Fri Jan 11 22:21:56 EET 2008
 >     There are other good reasons to have a central repository but I
 >     don't really buy the ease of use argument for the user. The end
 >     user still has to enable the extras repository. It would be just
 >     as easy for a user to install a meta package, maybe call it
 >     "maemo-universe", which adds every single repository in the
 >     universe to the sources list. For example, if it added all the
 >     repositories listed at http://www.gronmayer.com/it/, the end-user
 >     doesn't need to know the difference that n repositories were added
 >     versus one. The meta package could automatically update as new
 >     repositories are added/removed.
 >     Of course there are issues about trusting repositories, quality,
 >     etc. but that isn't an issue really solved with the extras
 >     repository unless some Nokia person is actually checking packages
 >     submitted to extras (which I doubt). I would trust a
 >     maemo-universe package with a repository list created by the
 >     community just as much as a random package in extras.

As a long-time Debian user and even longer-time Unix developer, I look
at the maemo world and see chaos.  I'd love to build and port some
apps but the barrier to entry is just too high.  And as a user I see
only confusion.

The maemo community would benefit greatly if a nucleus of volunteers
would step forward to implement some of the social apparatus behind

  * A body of package maintainers who are trusted to make sure that
    packages are OK.

  * GPG keys with which trusted maintainers can *sign* packages.

  * A *small* number of repositories with clearly defined missions.
    (As a user, I want to *understand* /etc/apt/sources.list and know
    who is signing the repositories that are in it.)

  * A process by which anybody can become a package maintainer.

It's too bad Nokia didn't bootstrap such a process, but they didn't.
In fact, I think Nokia is making the problem worse by making critical
applications closed-source.  (Or at least if the source to things like
Email, RSS Reader, and Clock is available, I can't find it.)  
I can understand there is a business case about keeping device drivers
as closed source, although this is a question about which reasonable
people can differ.  I can't see *any* reason why *any* application
should be closed-source.  This doesn't benefit Nokia, and it inhibits
the formation of a community because only Nokia can see the major

If anyone at Nokia is listening, I think if you move to a model of
open source apps, open-source kernel, proprietary device drivers,
which is a model the community understands, in the long run you are
going to sell a *lot* more tablets!

Norman Ramsey

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