There’s one use case that I’m very interested in, and that is getting new users with the correct environment to build and start hacking on software or using other software tools. For instance, on www.packagekit.org in the FAQ section, we can have a link to install build files to start hacking on PackageKit.
Now, this .bundle file is handled by gpk-install-bundle that parses this file and causes the appropriate packages to be installed if they are not already installed. This rocks as we can get GTK+, Xorg hackers up to speed with the minimum of fuss and confusion. It also lets people put links on webpages to “install all the stuff you need” when writing a “how to use a scanner in GIMP” howto.
So, what does a .bundle file look like?
# Just a package on all versions of fedora that can provide the dependency.
# If there are multiple packages then the user will be asked to choose
# Just for Fedora 9, install two development files
# On any distro, install the package with this file
# For each architecture on Fedora 8, install one of the two different compat files
You’ll notice the distro-id in between the ()’s – this lets a packager fine tune the package name, where for instance in Debian the package is called policykit and Fedora PolicyKit. You can specify a granularity of distribution, distribution-version or distribution-version-architecture – PackageKit will process all the entries that apply. It’s of course better to not specify a () if possible, as this lets the file work on as many distributions as possible out of the box.
There’s also no version checking – intentionally – the distro should be specified and have the correct data. If there’s an optional package not in earlier versions then you can do something like this:
# Fedora 9 does not have Unique
# Rawhide is fedora 9.90
There’s also no description of the bundle that needs translating and verifying – they are just lists of packages, files and provides that might be useful. All the translations come from the distributions metadata, and it’s up to the user to verify the package lists that are asked to be installed, so there are no signing or trust issues.
Note: this isn’t designed to replace one click install, it just does something that is similar in a different way.