[Sugar-devel] [SLOBS] Oversight Board request: Not fully bundled .xo

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Mar 5 01:10:13 EST 2010

Bernie Innocenti wrote:
> My only concern is that 0install seems to be itself another prototype
> packaging format, with plenty of crucial features still missing. For
> example, Aleksey was telling me last week that people build binaries on
> their personal desktops because there's not yet a real build cluster
> like Koji or Suse buildservice.

0install is just a specification and some tools.  It's not even a distro.
 Of course there's no central build cluster.  If we want to target many
different distributions, then we will have to provide our own build
machines... many of them (possibly VMs).

> Meanwhile, distros are repackaging our xo bundles into native rpms and
> debs... Are we sure we couldn't just sit and let the distros do their
> job?

No distro packager in his right mind would offer packages for 90% of the
activities on ASLO.  They're crap.  This is as it should be.

If Sugar is working as intended, 99% of Activities will be crap.  This is
because the purpose of Sugar is to invite novices to engage actively in
software development.  Novices make bad stuff, and we want to install and
run that stuff.  This means we can't rely on any transmission medium that
requires human approval.

James Simmons has written a book about how to write Sugar Activities.  I
want novices to read his book and make new, bad Activities.  I want to
install those Activities as soon as they're written... may even before
they're totally written.  This is the nature of open collaborative
development: you run other people's pre-alpha software.  I also want
novice developers to be able to install each other's bad activities
without having to learn how to produce distro bundles and then shove them
into their system package manager.

I don't want the developers to have to learn three different bundle
formats, and then build six different bundles for different versions of
different distributions.  I definitely don't want to make them submit
their software to five different distro bureaucracies, and then fight
through QA five times.  I don't want to wait six months before I can try
their Activities.

> I'm convinced that the unprivileged installation issue is easy to
> overcome once we agree that native packages don't stink and are not more
> complicated than they need to be.

Native package systems are highly tuned for their purpose, not for ours.
It's not even really the formats that are the problem.  It's the software
that processes them, and the bureaucracies that control the repositories.


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