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Ubuntu Application Review Process announced, restrictive rules galore

Jono Bacon announced today the Ubuntu Application Review Process, which is designed to get new and fresh applications into Ubuntu after it’s released.

“Are you an application developer who would like to see your application appear in the Ubuntu Software Center and available by millions of Ubuntu users? Today we are announcing a new process we are trialing which is easier and more accessible for application authors to get their apps in Ubuntu.”

This is all well and good, but check out the requirements to getting your app into software center:

“Importantly, only new applications that are not present in an existing official Ubuntu repository (such as main/universe) are eligible in this process (e.g a new version of an application in an existing official repository is not eligible). Also no other software can depend on the application being submitted (e.g. development libraries are not eligible), only executable applications (and content that is part of them) are eligible, and not stand-alone content, documentation or media, and applications must be Open Source and available under an OSI approved license.”

So let’s just recap, in bullet point form:

  • No new updates to existing apps are allowed
  • No dependencies or libraries
  • Only standalone executable applications
  • No standalone content, documentation (ie, Ubuntu Manual) or media
  • Applications must be open source, so nothing proprietary

If you want to try and sell your app in the Software Center, it has to be simple, standalone, a one off with no updates, open source and it has to be packaged for /opt also. Oh, and you have to sign the CoC, create a PPA, submit it for review and then have it approved, also, during the process, Ubuntu developers reserve the right to make changes to your application.

So basically, in summary, it’s damned near impossible for anyone to get their applications into Ubuntu after it’s released. I was quite excited about this idea when it first appeared at UDS-M last May, for two reasons: 1) I wanted to get the Ubuntu Manual into the Software Center and 2) Ohso was going to launch into game and application development with a mix of open source and proprietary licensing, depending on the application. Unfortunately, thanks to these ridiculous rules, looks like neither will be happening.

Ubuntu has this wicked content delivery system built into the operating system, something that Apple and Microsoft don’t have on their desktops. It’s obvious that having a lot of fresh applications constantly landing is a boon for platforms, and this would be the perfect area for Ubuntu to whip out a feature that its competitors lack. So what do Canonical do? Make it as hard as possible for developers to get content into the system, of course.

Once again Ubuntu proves that it’s way behind the 8-ball in utilizing the power of the repositories and getting quality content to the end user.

For the meantime, I guess I’ll continue installing quality apps like pornview – which is available in the repositories. You want to become mainstream Ubuntu? Yeah, keep dreaming.