Proposal: AppData files in all application packages?

Richard Hughes hughsient at
Sat Sep 7 09:30:06 UTC 2013

Hi all,

A progress update: lots of upstreams have already merged AppData files
(50 and counting!) but we're still a long way from having all the
default packages on the GNOME spin with AppData files. For some of the
more important packages I've setup a google document here:

This is important for gnome software because even though the core
modules are non-removable, they still show up in the update and detail
view and it would be really good to match the mockups provided by
Allan for Fedora 20 Beta.

Once we've got some more contributions and the editing has settled
down, I'll be pestering the upstream maintainers to ship the
user-contributed extra data upstream for all distros to use. Feel free
to add extra applications to the google document if your application
is not listed there, or just create an AppData file yourself, commit
it upstream and add a link on the document.

Thanks again!


On 6 September 2013 10:33, Richard Hughes <hughsient at> wrote:
> Hi all. I'm the developer for PackageKit and gnome-software, the
> latter being the new software center we're hopefully including as a
> technical preview in Fedora 20.
> A few years ago distributions came together and created the AppStream
> specification which was designed to be common between all
> distributions and desktops. This data allowed us to describe
> applications that were not yet installed, and also map them to package
> names. The AppStream specification also allows us to include icons for
> applications. Ubuntu and SuSE both adopted the standard, but for many
> reasons Fedora didn't until now.
> With this data means we can create a software center that looks as
> good as the Chrome/Firefox store, but with all the existing
> applications we have available to us in Fedora. It means we can give
> people the software center they've been requesting for years. We're
> not taking away yum/dnf/gnome-packagekit or any of the existing tools
> that focus on packages, just adding a *new* application installer.
> At the moment, we use the information in the .desktop file to populate
> the AppStream data, but this is missing a few core things, for
> instance a long description, the upstream website for the application
> and any screenshots to show. All of the three being quite critical to
> assess an application before installing. To fix this I've created a
> tiny AppData specification [1] which is a subset of the AppStream
> specification. It's designed as a way to describe the application (not
> the package) so that data can be used in the AppStream data.
> At the moment, about 50 upstream projects are already shipping AppData
> files, and we've also got a few more which live in the fedora compose
> tools repo [2] for 'featured' applications we want to look complete
> for Fedora 20 launch. All the files in this repo have been submitted
> upstream, so hopefully the number of "extra" files in that repo should
> shrink to zero long term.
> So, well done if you've read this far already. What I am asking all
> you packagers for applications to do is:
>  * Talk to the upstream maintainers, and try to convince them to write
> and ship an .appdata.xml file -- this is the best option as it can be
> translated in the future upstream, and the upstream maintainer can
> control things like what screenshots are shipped. It also means the
> data is shared with all the other distros.
> * If your upstream is on life-support, dead, or just not interested in
> shipping yet another file in the tarball you have two options. Either
> ship an AppData file in the package itself, e.g. as a "Source2" and
> install it in /usr/share/appdata in the RPM. If you do a build for f20
> and make sure it's in before the F20 Beta then I'll automatically be
> included in gnome-software. The other option is to submit a patch
> against fedora-appstream itself, although I'd much prefer it in the
> package as then you can make changes yourself if the project
> description/screenshot changes.
> In the context of AppStream, an application is a package that ships
> one or more .desktop files, that include Name,Comment and also Icon. A
> few applications are blacklisted if they are not included in the GUI
> menus or if they are settings panels. For now it's quite restrictive,
> but in the future we'll be considering other things as apps too, like
> Chrome Store Apps and GNOME Shell Extensions.
> Any questions, either grab me on irc 'hughsie' or reply to this email.
> Be sure to read [1] as a lot of common questions are answered there.
> Thanks in advance!
> Richard
> [1]
> [2]

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