[Mono-devel-list] Looking for people to do Mono/autopackage integration

Mike Hearn m.hearn at signal.QinetiQ.com
Wed Jul 27 10:22:05 EDT 2005


One thing that pains me about desktop Linux is when I see very nice 
products and websites like this:






They look every bit as professional and clean as a commercial MacOS 
software site, but when you click the "Download $COOL_APP" link you get 
a tarball!

I noticed that often these sort of programs, where effort has clearly 
been put into usability and "end to end" slickness, are written using Mono.

That's fine by me, but for an easy to use program with an easy on the 
eye website there should be easy to install packages as well. For 
programs written in C and C++ there is already a growing community of 
developers who provide their own binary packages using autopackage:


Which is used by both quite small projects like Supertux or Stellarium, 
and also by high profile projects like Inkscape, Gaim, AbiWord and 

Briefly, autopackage is about easy to use installer/package hybrids on 
Linux. There is a Flash demo available if you have never seen 
autopackage before, as well as much documentation material on the 
website itself. They're a cross between Windows style self-contained 
installers and Linux style standardised packages. Another way to think 
of them is as binary equivalents to the well known configure scripts.

There isn't anything C/C++ specific about autopackage. PyGTK apps 
already use it too. It could just as easily be used to ship Mono apps, 
and I think the two complement each other nicely.

What does this mean, specifically?

* We're looking for developers who know the Mono platform well to help
   us tune autopackage for distribution of Mono apps/assemblies. It's
   likely that very little work is required, but convenience APIs for
   installing things to the GAC might be handy (there are already many
   such convenience APIs for menu items, ELF shared libraries etc)

* People who are willing to work with developers of applications like
   Tomboy, Cowbell, Stetic, Blam!, Sonance to package their apps

* Autopackage supports dependency resolution. Some users on some distros
   don't have any easily accessible packages for the Mono runtime, or if
   they do they may not know where to get them. By packaging not only
   applications but also the runtime and the various Foo# bindings, this
   problem can be mitigated: distros that ship Mono out of the box don't
   change and the packages will use whatever is already installed. For
   users on distros that don't ship it, autopackage can depsolve the
   runtime onto the users system.

* It'd be nice to have tutorials and examples of how to package Mono
   applications. Right now there is a lot of documentation on packaging
   C applications (and more is coming - a full tutorial on packaging
   GNOME Launch Box is in the works), but _none_ whatsoever for Mono
   apps. Education is key.

If you're interested in helping bring these two worlds together, then 
please either contact me in private, post to the autopackage-dev mailing 
list, or you can use the web forums we provide.

To summarize: the Mono community is doing a great job of writing neat, 
useful apps that present themselves in a professional manner. Let's 
extend that to the last step and make the whole experience as easy as 

thanks -mike

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