PackageKit and APT

PackageKit is the name of the system package abstraction. Why PackageKit? Well, I was getting jealous of all the other cool stuff happening with daemons ending in Kit and wanted my own. And, if I type the word “manager” once again I'm going to have to rip my hands from my arms. :-)

There is a wiki page with all the use cases so far and some UI designs. Feel free to add comments or suggestions at the end of the page.

I've spent most of today working out a asynchronous DBUS API that can work with all of the use-cases, and starting a system activated daemon that can manage the sequential jobs. The daemon now 80% works, and I'm just writing a “dummy” backend with a “do nothing but take time doing it” role for testing. The other backends (yum/apt) are in the source tree but are currently empty files.

I only know a little about APT, so now I need your help. I need a way of searching for installed and not-installed software. I think I need either:

  • a C binding for APT (I'm guessing that doesn't exist)
  • a way of APT letting me search for “power” and returning tab delimited output.

The output would ideally be one line per entry:
gnome-power-manager<tab>GNOME Power Manager<tab>GNOME Power Manager is a system daemon that eats lots of power
power-pacman<tab>Power Pacman<tab>Power Pacman is a cool game where a dot eats other dots

The same thing for YUM would also be great as well, although I'm focusing on the apt backend first as I think it's the easier target for now. Thanks!

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

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