[maemo-users] [maemo-users] Making software installation a bit easier in Maemo

From: Henri Bergius henri.bergius at iki.fi
Date: Thu Aug 24 08:31:29 EEST 2006

Currently there are two ways to install new applications from the
application catalog to the 770:

1. You can click on a link to .deb file in the browser, and the
package will be installed
2. You can manually copy the apt repository details (URL, etc) to the
Application Manager, update the repository info, and then install the

The first method has an obvious advantage in being much easier for the
end user. Couple of clicks and you have the application.

But the second method feels more correct on the longer term, as using
a repository makes it possible to centrally update all packages. But
adding the repository and then installing the package includes quite a
few clicks, and bunch of copy-paste which is a bit cumbersome with the

So, how could we make it easier to add new apt repositories? One
reasonably easy way would be to:

* Define an XML format for describing the repository. It could be as simple as:

<repository url="http://maemo.o-hand.com/packages">

* Define a MIME type for this format, for example application/x-apt-repository

* Make Application Manager register itself as the handler of this MIME type

* And finally enable Application Manager to add (and update) a new
repository when given such a repository XML file. It should probably
also take user automatically to the "Install" view

This way when you click a repository file (which could be served from
maemo.org or the repository itself), the Maemo browser would
automatically hand it to the Application Manager and the repository
would be added.

What do you think?

I know there has been some discussion about XML configuration formats
on the apt-rpm list, but so far it seems inconclusive. However, on a
device with very limited input options, some "click to add repository"
format would be a big help.


Henri Bergius
Motorcycle adventures and Open Source Software

Skype: henribergius
Jabber: henri.bergius at gmail.com

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