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Chris Boyle

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Third-party updates on Debian-based distros: a thought [Mar. 11th, 2009|01:15 pm]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | contemplative]
[Music |Sciverus Fey - Fight/Escape]

Why don't third-party deb packages just drop a file in /etc/apt/sources.list.d (and invoke apt-key) to provide updates, instead of rolling their own in-application update notifications? Skype, Last.fm and others don't need to be polling independently for updates; this isn't Windows; there's already apt, and usually a perfectly good mechanism for polling that, like Ubuntu's update-manager, so the workflow should just be "click on .deb → install → updates will be offered to you with all your other updates". In Last.fm's case, they already have an apt repository. Am I missing something here?

Alternatively, my previous version of this idea: a mime-type for "file to go in sources.list.d + something for apt-key + list of packages to then install" and a tool to handle it. That would be unnecessary new code; the one advantage is it would play better with the case where a site wants to offer you multiple packages with dependencies.

Update: As of October 2009, Google Chrome appears to have been doing this (as in the first paragraph) for some time. Yay. :-) My one complaint about it is that it does "check for explicit disable flag, else create sources.list.d file" on every update, instead of "check for I-already-put-it-here-once flag, else add the file", where the latter would create less confusion among users who perhaps already had Google's apt repository, and wonder why it keeps reappearing.
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