GNOME Software Center and YOU!

Do you maintain an application that people use? Do you want people to be able to install it easily in the GNOME Software Center?

If both of those are true, please read the newly finalised AppData specification and ship one tiny extra file in your tarball. People will love you for doing it, and I’ll really appreciate it. Maybe post 3.10 we can do a GNOME Goal for all the core GNOME modules, but of course this applies to GNOME, KDE, XFCE and random standalone apps.

Published by


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.

12 thoughts on “GNOME Software Center and YOU!”

  1. Hi Richard,

    Will this document become a spec, as is the Desktop Entry one ?

    If yes, I’d recommend dropping implementation details as “Additionally, we will penalize apps that do not ship the extra metadata by showing them lower in the search results”, that are just choice of the tool which will handle the data.

    Regarding GNOME, the translation of the file appData will be handled like any translation we have currently right ?


    1. Not sure. If it does, I guess I’ll have to split things up a bit. At the moment it’s just a recommendation from yours truly.

  2. Is it possible to generate this file and add an application to the GNOME Software Center at runtime?

    1. I’m not sure I understand? We need this data before the app is installed so we can show some decent UI. This means having the data on a server somewhere, or in the distro metadata.

      1. I was wondering if we could add some kind of support for Firefox Web Apps in the GNOME Software Center.

  3. Hi Richard,

    I’m the developer of Haguichi, an application famous for it’s regular appearance in GNOME Software Center mockups. ;D

    Sure I want people to be able to install my application easily in the GNOME Software Center! But after adding this extra file to the source tarballs, how is Haguichi supposed to end up in the GNOME Software Center? Haguichi is currently not even present in a single “official” distribution repository, but only in user driven repositories [1]. Will GNOME Software Center use a different repository or support installation from source tarballs? Or is your message geared to “package maintainers” instead of actual “application maintainers”?


    1. Hi,

      We’ll be scanning the .appdata.xml file of any package shipped with the distro. GNOME Software will never support source installs, so there might have to be an additional whitelist of data to collect if the package is not in any kind of central repo.

    1. I’m pretty sure the app author has to submit it as part of the application process, or was written by the Ubuntu employees. I can’t use the data there as the licence is not specified. Also, from a logical point of view, relying on a downstream for an upstream project is kinda odd.

    2. The Ubuntu software center Publishing guide shows that it’s an online process, where any application listed in the Software Center is explicitly published via their web interface — nothing’s automated. So, it seems like more of an Android / iTunes model, and entirely incompatible with the functionality being developed for GNOME Software. (Though, if they were interested, the Ubuntu Software Center people could probably leverage .appdata.xml data to streamline some of their publishing process, rather than making app publishers provide all of the required metadata manually.)

Comments are closed.