One of the most important underlying values of Free Software in general, and specifically of Mageia is collaboration. Collaboration with users to fix problems, collaboration with developers to ship their software, but also collaboration with other distributions, by sharing booths, patches, code and everything.
And fuelled by this spirit of collaboration I went to Nuremberg with Stormi ( mageia app db project founder and packager ) and Nanar ( our mirror manager, the man behind Sophie and numerous others softwares ) after being invited to come by Vincent Untz of OpenSuse and GNOME fame. The goal was to participate in a 3 day long cross distribution meeting sponsored by Novell about application installer, and bring our expertise on the topic as well as give our point of view on the project. Many thanks to them for organising that event and sponsoring some of us.
We were joined by people from Fedora, OpenSuse, Debian, Ubuntu and KDE, as explained on the wiki page of the meeting.
The topic may seem to be quite ambitious, and it was, but we still managed to agree on a common set of standards, as better said in the numerous reports made by others participants like Enrico Zinni, Richard Hugues and others.
To summarize ( and thanks to Richard Hugues to have done this work before me so I can take his blog post ), we had presentations of various software, such as PackageKit, Ubuntu software center, Debtags, and OCS among others. We then worked on deciding what would be needed for sharing various metadata ( screenshots, comments, etc ), producing the start of a specification and various documents, as you can see on the final meeting presentation. The wiki page also holds a good documentation about it.
Now, the important question is what it would mean for us. First of all, while we think it will be an important innovation for free software and Mageia, I didn’t plan to have it adopted without discussing with other members, but I am quite confident that we can benefit from the work that will be done in the coming months. Among the various tasks, we have some python/php/perl programming ( either on Packagekit side, Mageia-app-db side or Ubuntu software center side ), some packaging, and maybe some system administration later. So if you are interested in helping with that or have questions, we will discuss this during the weekly packagers’ meeting on 26/01/11 on the #mageia-dev IRC channel on Freenode.