Proposal: AppData files in all application packages?

Daniel J Walsh dwalsh at
Sat Sep 7 10:03:53 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

On 09/07/2013 05:30 AM, Richard Hughes wrote:
> 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!
> Richard.
> 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]

Why not open bugzillas with the packages with .Desktop files to do this?
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