[Dev] GNOME Software, archlinux-appstream-data, and Flatpak

Freemor freemor at freemor.ca
Thu May 31 10:37:50 GMT 2018

On Wed, May 30, 2018 at 08:46:48PM -0400, bill-auger wrote:
> On Wed, 2018-05-30 at 19:29 -0400, Christopher Davis wrote:
> > GNOME Software uses Flatpak and the system package manager.
> this next statement is perhaps nit-picking, but that wording is too pretentious
> not to be made clear - i dont imagine the gnome people would agree with it as
> worded - until the day comes when gnome releases it's very own distro, then
> gnome would have no grounds to define the "system package manager" - in the
> context of a distro, the 'gnome software' program and gnome itself are third-
> party software - 'flatpack' is yet another unrelated third-party software that
> the 'gnome software' program makes use of for it's own purposes, which should be
> entirely orthogonal to anything that "the system" is concerned with - in other
> words, if this program is capable of installing software without using pacman
> and installing it to the same system locations as pacman might install that same
> software, then this program should be blacklisted for that reason alone, because
> it leads to system instability - i had to mention that because i have seen pip
> do this, and it is a real mess to cleanup
> [1]: https://labs.parabola.nu/issues/1035

I share Bill-augers concerns about a foreign package format and package manager
that uses that format with regards to making the system unstable. npm has
recently had issues with malware, pip can and does make a confusing mess, as
bill-auger mentioned. Etc.

Even if flatpacks get installed to a users home dir there can be confusing
support issues as the user could now be running conflicting versions of various
software and all too often the request for help is "thing Z is broken, help"
and it may not come out until well into trying to support then that "oh, yea..
I installed Z, D and F via flatpak". On top of user support requests there
would be the maintenance burden. Maintaining a flatpack blacklist, the appstream,

I can appreciate that some users desire a GUI based package manager. But pacman
is really quite easy to use if people take the time to learn. So I fail to see
the advantage of adding this and mostly see the many downsides both to people
developing/maintaining Parabola and to users of Parabola and those that support

If Gnome software can act as a GUI the pacman without the foreign flatpak
support, then I'm all for that. But adding another headache for maintainers and
supporters and another avenue for new comers to shoot themselves in the foot I
think we can all do without. 

Also is it just me or is it hard to get useful detailed info on flatpak. I've
spent time on flatpak.org and have yet to find good technical documentation.
Even their "under the hood" section of their docs is way short of technical
details. Wikipedia's entry is similarly scant on details.

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