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Latest app releases to be made available in Ubuntu 10.10

Many of the applications we feature here on OMG! Ubuntu! require the installation of a 3rd party PPA for they are either not available via the Software Centre or the version available in the store has been superseded.

That is on course to change for Ubuntu 10.10 with the introduction of a new policy for installing new and updated software in the Ubuntu Software Centre from Ubuntu 10.10 onwards.

Status Quo

As mentioned above, users currently have to manually add a third party PPA, pull a branch, compile some source or install a .deb in-order to get the latest features from stable releases of their favourite applications.

Ubuntu, by default, only ships with the versions ‘frozen’ in a few weeks before its release. This is to ensure users are only given stable, tested and secure software. Admirable, non?

Much to the chagrin of active users the frantic nature of Open Source software development means the versions in Ubuntu are more-often than not left outdated within a few months. Banshee in particular is a great example of this.

The change

With the aim to to deliver new applications to users through Ubuntu Software Centre in Maverick a slight change in the Ubuntu Software interface will be required in-order to ‘highlight’ new and updated versions of applications.

The semantics of how Update Manager will handle updates to ‘new apps’ is still being decided upon however in the case of later stable releases of already installed software it would make sense to auto-upgrade (so long as the ‘newer’ version had been thoroughly tested. The ‘new-apps’ will likely be hosted at extras.ubuntu.com.

There are issues with introducing a method like this, not least of which is balancing dependency issues, but the goal is worth it. More often than not users only want to install one specific new app from a PPA but instead find half their install upgraded too.

Submit

To do this a new application submission process will be introduced for developers wishing to have their applications included in the Software Centre. This will stretch to ‘post release’ cases too. The finer details of that process are still being finalised but a refined submission process is much needed – many developers have been put off submitted their applications for inclusion due to the ungainly nature of the current process.