Ubuntu – How to get the software into Ubuntu


As a developer of free software, I want to get my application into Ubuntu.

Should I provide a source tarball and ask for packaging? Or should I create a package myself? Should I target Ubuntu directly, or should I try to get into Debian and then into Ubuntu automatically?

Best Answer

  • There are a number of paths that a package can take to enter Ubuntu. The overview of Ubuntu development targeted at "upstream" developers like yourself might be a useful place to start, but I'll try to give you some pointers as well.

    Through Debian

    Generally, if you are publishing free and open source software going through Debian first is the best path. This way ensures that your package will have a dedicated maintainer. It also will reach the largest number of users as it will be available in not just Debian and Ubuntu but all of their derivatives as well. Some useful links for requesting/providing new packages in Debian:

    • Work-Needing and Prospective Packages - Information on how to file "Intent to Package" and "Request for Package" bugs as well as list of open ITPs and RFPs.

    • Debian Mentors FAQ - debian-mentors is for the mentoring of new and prospective Debian Developers. It is where you can find a sponsor to upload your package to the archive.

    • Debian Developer's Reference - Debian Developer's Reference's section on new packages. The entire document is invaluable for both Ubuntu and Debian packagers.

    Directly into Ubuntu

    In some cases, it might make sense to go directly into Ubuntu first. Some helpful links:

    • The Ubuntu App Developer site - for lightweight desktop applications, you can submit them directly on the My Apps section of developer.ubuntu.com, the App Review Board will review them and they will be published in the Software Center.

    • Packaging Guide - an introduction to how to package for Ubuntu.

    • REVU - a web-based tool to which Ubuntu contributors can upload new packages for review by Ubuntu Developers for inclusion into Ubuntu.

    • Sponsorship Process - After entering Ubuntu, you can maintain your package through the sponsorship process.

    Personal Package Archives

    Beyond the official Ubuntu and Debian channels, Launchpad offers you the ability to distribute Debian packages directly to your users through its Personal Package Archives or PPAs for short. One particularly useful aspect of a PPA is that you can provide daily builds of your software for testing purposes.