Canonical today announced the general availability of the Launchpad Personal Package Archive (PPA) service, a new way for developers to build and publish packages of their code, documentation, artwork, themes and other additions to the Ubuntu environment on desktop, server and now mobile platforms.
The PPA service is the newest feature of Launchpad, Canonical's hosting service for public software development. Launchpad is fast becoming a centrepiece of the free software development process, allowing users to report bugs, contribute code, submit translations and generally collaborate in an efficient and transparent fashion. PPAs enable developers to publish ready-to-install packages of their software directly to users.
As part of the release, Canonical today announced that PPAs will include the ability to build and publish packages for the Low-Power Intel Architecture (LPIA), a new chip architecture that is compatible with traditional x86 software but optimised for battery-powered devices. LPIA is the primary target platform for the future Ubuntu Mobile Edition.
Developers can use PPAs to publish their own versions of popular free software, or to create packages for software they produce. Individuals and teams can each have a PPA, allowing for collaboration on sets of packages. Canonical provides each free (“libre”) software user with up to one gigabyte of free Personal Package Archive space, which works as a standard Ubuntu software package repository.
PPAs give developers the opportunity to distribute packages to a much wider user base for testing than is normally the case. Packages published in a PPA are easier to deploy and keep updated in complex environments. Users who are interested in those packages can make a single configuration change to their systems to enable them to install packages from that PPA.
“Many developers want to modify existing packages, or create new packages of their software. The PPA service allows anyone to publish a package without having to ask permission or join the Ubuntu project as a developer,” said Christian Reis, who leads Launchpad application development. “This removes a significant barrier to contribution in the free software community. We hope that PPAs will make it easier for developers and development teams who have excellent ideas to get their work into the hands of users for testing and feedback. The PPA service is a build system, a publishing system and a community experience all in one.”
Software in Personal Archive Packages will be built for x86, AMD64 and LPIA architectures against current versions of Ubuntu.
Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, is a global organization headquartered in Europe committed to the development, distribution and support of open source software products and communities. World-class 24×7 commercial support for Ubuntu is available through Canonical's global support team and partners. Since its launch in October 2004, Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users around the world. Ubuntu will always be free to download, free to use and free to distribute to others. With these goals in mind, Ubuntu aims to be the most widely used Linux system, and is the center of a global open source software ecosystem.
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