Package distribution


A concept for a modern package distribution.


The free software world is changing and expanding to an certain extend current package distribution can't keep up. Just look at the ever increasing release cycle of Debian, the count of available packages and supported systems. Or look at how many different clones of Debian are created. New devices like PDA's or VDR's are emerging with new processors and new systems, multiplying the need for binary package distribution.

IMO it's obvious that a system like the current Debian can't keep up with this exponentially increasing distribution needs. Therefore an new system has to be designed which is better able to handle this increasing need.

  1. Better distribution of package information
  2. Better distribution of packages
  3. Better interaction between package agencies
  4. Simpler package creation

Better distribution of package information

Distributing all package information as one large file isn't state of the are anymore. The distribution has to be done on a per package basis. Possible solutions are:

An LDAP server has the advantage that it might also handle the status of the package installation etc.

Better distribution of packages

Any master/mirror implementation has outlived its usefulness and the only possible alternative is a P2P network. Since I haven't found a fitting existing P2P network I'll list the feature it should have.

Better interaction between package agencies

Since a single agency as Debian won't be able to handle the increasing flood, care has to be taken so multiple agencies can share a single distribution network. The user should be able to decide which agencies he wants to have.

Simpler package creation

This is a point which lay partially in the hands of the upstream developers.

IMO an ordinary application should not require more installation than copy the files to the appropriate locations on the disk. Any configuration of the app should be handled by the application itself. I know this isn't possible for all applications but it should for the vast majority.

At least a package format has to be chosen which actively supports this kind of applications, giving the upstream developers a reason to make their application more conformant. The package format should make it simple to create a package for applications which follow the rules below.

To allow for a simple package creation the following rules should be considered by the upstream developers.

Any new package format has to take into account that one day there will be Linux bundles which might become packages itself.


Written by Otto Wyss, see support section.