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

From: Frantisek Dufka dufkaf at seznam.cz
Date: Thu Aug 24 10:43:11 EEST 2006
Henri Bergius wrote:
> Hi!
> 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
> packages
> 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
> 770.
> 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">
>    <distribution>mistral</distribution>
>    <component>free</component>
> </repository>
> * 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?

Hello Henri,

I think it is a very good idea. it is really a bit cumbersome to add new 
repository on the device.

Also second feature which would make installations easier is to handle 
dependencies and use existing repositories even when installing directly 
from file. But this may be hard to implement (dpkg with files vs apt 
with repositories). This would mean that you actually won't need as much 
repositories defined. Many packages made by independent developers and 
published on their pages would not need repository at all if there is no 
external dependency (like all python things among others).

I'm cc'ing Marius since I think he is maintainer of application 
installer and could comment. Sorry if this is redundant.


> 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.
> http://lists.laiskiainen.org/pipermail/apt-rpm-laiskiainen.org/2006-May/000236.html 

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