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Thread: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

  1. #1

    Question AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Hello.

    So I read this announcement which is all glee about something called AppStream. I have checked their homepage and I have also perused their documentation. However, none of that has provided a clear, concise answer to my question:

    What problem does AppStream solve?

    Would I be mistaken in saying it appears to be trying to transpose the "market" metaphor from Android and Apple OS (whatever it's called) products into the Linux arena?

    I understand that other distros may have less than optimal package managers, but I do not believe that to be the case with Yast2, so in particular:

    What problem does AppStream solve for OpenSUSE users?

    Knowledgeable answers would be most welcome. Those from anyone involved with this are particularly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    This question is probably best asked in the Chit-Chat forum.
    "Making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer." Ha-Joon Chang
    openSUSE 15.1 4.12.14-lp151.28.16-default x64

  3. #3
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    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Hi
    None, it's a feature (not sure about that though).... https://wiki.gnome.org/Design/Apps/Software uses it (not sure of the other DE's equiv), but for some folks it would give indications of how popular an application is etc.

    I would put it along the lines of the long forgotten hardware information database folks could press a button and add their system(s) to. A marketing tool to collect data ($$$??) across the various distribution for what is hot and what is not...
    Cheers Malcolm °¿° SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
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  4. #4
    graham NNTP User

    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    licehunter wrote:


    > WHAT PROBLEM DOES APPSTREAM SOLVE FOR OPENSUSE USERS?
    > Knowledgeable answers would be most welcome. Those from anyone involved
    > with this are particularly appreciated.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >
    >

    I don't know if this helps.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AppStream

  5. #5

    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Seems like they have more goals than just passively stuffing a database.

    The successful money maker and universally loved Ubuntu Software Center is role model. http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Dist...mplementation/

    The existing Ubuntu Application Center fits the perceived need and is an established and stable project.
    With insightful star ratings, carefully thought out reviews and all. A help to "new users" and "average users" who permanently are confused and frustrated. Only software centers, with "feedback", can save this situation. Will suggest what to click on based on "recommendations", "featured", "reviews". "Social media" is also mentioned because relevant. Retweet. Zeitgeist tracks all events or why even bother?

    If you think Yast does same job you need to put click click consumer hat on and visit som "app stores" or market places. This is not just a way of installing stuff but about the "experience". Even clicking "Install" button is being discussed, may be "Launch" sounds like hmm easier? Like "app" vs. "program".

    As Gnome Software Center says on first run, next to shopping bag icon, "Lets go shopping".

    May be they should remove "root" term as it will lower barrier to entry hence must be good?

    They do talk of "add a shared linux ecosystem repositories" but what mind is full of it not same as realities. AppStream will probably just be a combo of providing and slurping data. What to do with it is up to distributions. May be openSUSE will settle for tracking and screenshot feature while "PAY ME as I want money and just spend $$$ to get friggin featured!!!" distros or app-makers! will go to the max.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Quote Originally Posted by graham View Post
    I don't know if this helps.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AppStream
    That wikipedia definition is probably simplest, most fundamental and comprehensive.

    Although you can get lost in the trees considering the effects on individual distros/OS, it's pretty basic...

    A metadata repository that describes installation packages.
    This is especially important to anyone who has run into an app built only for one distro (like Android) and wondered how to get that app to run on their own distro or device (like openSUSE or iOS). It's probably largely based on the idea that there are many libraries that are common across distros but named differently and installed into different locations which is why for instance we openSUSE have the "alien" app.

    I wouldn't expect that just any app can easily and quickly be built into an AppStream deployment/install, the metadata has to be created.

    Note the similarity to what OBS delivers... With a common source, you can build target install packages for priactically every other distro (but last I checked didn't support mobile OS like Android and iOS).

    TSU

  7. #7

    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsu2 View Post
    TThis is especially important to anyone who has run into an app built only for one distro (like Android) and wondered how to get that app to run on their own distro or device (like openSUSE or iOS). It's probably largely based on the idea that there are many libraries that are common across distros but named differently and installed into different locations which is why for instance we openSUSE have the "alien" app.
    This has nothing to do with installing packages meant for other distributions, and nothing at all with differently named libraries neither.

    Appstream basically just provides more detailed description of _Applications_ (as opposed to packages), and it abstracts away from single packages. It is concerned about listing and installing applications, not which packages they consist of or how they are named.

    Or to put it slightly different: Appstream lets the user install an application without having to know how the necessary packages are named or which are needed exactly.

    I wouldn't expect that just any app can easily and quickly be built into an AppStream deployment/install, the metadata has to be created.
    Many applications in openSUSE, at least based on GNOME or KDE, do come with Appstream metadata already (most of the time it's included upstream).
    And zypper and the buildservice tools support it as well.

    Try to run:
    Code:
    zypper se -t application
    This shows all Appstream applications available in your repos...

    Note the similarity to what OBS delivers... With a common source, you can build target install packages for priactically every other distro (but last I checked didn't support mobile OS like Android and iOS).
    No. OBS delivers packages. But Appstream describes "applications".
    Last edited by wolfi323; 20-Apr-2015 at 10:05.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    I am corrected, but not exactly.
    After reading more examples and uses of AppStream, yes it appears that package description is not a central feature although may be described in the metadata.

    After inspecting uses by Amazon, Symantec and Splunk, it appears to be at its core an app distribution, management and updating platform. In the course of doing this, additional specifics might be managed... So yes, it's also possible that its metadata can be found upstream in any number of apps which might have been managed by AppStream before making its way into other distribution channels. It can also be used to manage distribution of its core before modified for device-specific installs.

    TSU

  9. #9

    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsu2 View Post
    I am corrected, but not exactly.
    Actually I just wanted to clarify some things according to my understanding, not correct you.

    After reading more examples and uses of AppStream, yes it appears that package description is not a central feature although may be described in the metadata.
    AIUI, _package_ description is not a feature at all.
    That's a feature of rpm already anyway.

    It does allow to install applications (or other stuff) by their name, without knowing how exactly the package is called in a particular distribution though.

    After inspecting uses by Amazon, Symantec and Splunk, it appears to be at its core an app distribution, management and updating platform. In the course of doing this, additional specifics might be managed... So yes, it's also possible that its metadata can be found upstream in any number of apps which might have been managed by AppStream before making its way into other distribution channels. It can also be used to manage distribution of its core before modified for device-specific installs.
    Again, Appstream only consists of additional metadata that describes applications, to make it (supposedly) easier to install applications you're interested in. It is added onto the existing means.

    Of course you can build your own distribution channels using Appstream metadata.
    But that's not what Appstream itself is about. Appstream is just about that metadata.

    And it's also not Appstream that manages the metadata. The applications that want to be found in so-called "Software Centers" (like gnome-software e.g.) have to provide it (or the distribution has to provide it for them). In openSUSE it is part of the standard repo meta-data, like the _package_ descriptions and dependencies.

    Appstream basically is just a standard how to provide that application metadata.
    Last edited by wolfi323; 20-Apr-2015 at 11:11.

  10. #10

    Default Re: AppStream: What Problem Does It Solve?

    RedHat people have been hacking on something similar http://blog.mlich.cz/2015/04/web-sof...er-for-fedora/ But better because web based so kept out of distro. Can more easily be ignored and also fine tuned for those who do love it - bigger and more stars, more "top" lists and such.

    May be openSUSE should get the same idea? Yast has trouble just understanding concept of a hyperlink. They are supposed to be clickable.

    Some time ago I ran in to a thread on a Fedora mailing list where one dev. suggested they got an app thingy "similar to Ubuntu", with ratings and all. Yumex does not cut it and is 3rd party. Did not go down too well so more mind share for idea must have been won since then. Another side effect of mobile mania perhaps - and Gnome Software

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