March 27th, 2008

Remember how Ubuntu came out of nowhere and just like that made everyone else feel like they're lagging behind? That's really what makes Ubuntu stand out, there is a real understanding of user needs in their leadership. The past couple of years they have empowered so many people who were interested in Linux but just didn't know how to get started or fix common annoyances (like lack of media codecs, say). And that policy hasn't gone unnoticed, I certainly feel like Fedora, for example, is doing a lot better job at embracing a wide audience than before Ubuntu ever came to light.

The latest in Ubuntu reiterates their ability to empower their users. If you're a Ubuntu user you probably know about something called 'Personal Package Archives' (ppa). It is currently the designated method of installing kde4, until it goes mainline. Well guess what, Launchpad now offers a ppa to every user! How's them apples.

This means you now get your own little apt repository you can use, and offer your packages through the same mechanism as any officially supported package, without resorting to .debs and custom "here's how you install it" instructions. Fabulous! :star:

Here's my shiny new PPA:

For the time being I'll only be keeping undvd packages there.

Unfortunately, debian packaging is something of a cult and not the easiest thing to get involved with. They are nazi about following guidelines to-a-t and therefore wrapping up a .deb takes considerably more time than writing an .ebuild or building an .rpm. I appreciate the care that goes into it, but I wish they would find a more efficient mechanism for it. The debian/ directory should be more of an abstraction, not actually having to go and hand edit the files in there, that's silly.

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