Fedora App Market Proof of Concept.

August 19, 2010

Yesterday someone was talking about installing apps in fedora and how it was hard to figure out what to install/try b/c there were too much STUFF in fedora. They suggested an ‘app store’ like functionality. I explained that all the resources to do something like that exist in the infrastructure yum and friends offer now. I decided to prove that concept a bit.

The concept of an ‘app’ is pretty amorphous but I decided to just use what Colin Walters said was his definition of an ‘app’ – which is any pkg containing a .desktop file. So I just whipped up a simple tool to dump out an xml-file of a format yum is already familiar with based on that criteria:


Running that generates an xml file with only the ‘apps’ defined.

Great. Then I wrote a yum plugin to access and use this data.

and I stuck it in this repo

1. copy this file into /etc/yum.repos.d/

2. run: yum install yum-plugin-appmarket

Now yum will have a few new commands available to it:

app-install    Install an App
app-list       List Apps
app-remove     Remove an App
app-search     Search for an App

Some examples:

yum app-search yum

won’t turn up ‘yum’ but it will turn up ‘yumex’.

Fancy, huh?

Now, the concept of an app can be refined in many ways but this is just to prove that the infrastructure has been available.

6 Responses to “Fedora App Market Proof of Concept.”

  1. Interesting work! I know Richard Hughes has been working of something similar, but in PackageKit rather than at package manager level. Have you tried to coordinate something with him ?

  2. PackageDB also has this App Store vibe to it.

    Apps are defined just the same, as packages containing .desktop files. The search on PackageDB’s frontpage defaults to Applications now; here’s an example: https://admin.fedoraproject.org/pkgdb/apps/search/tanks

    There is also an ‘Install application’ button on the Application page.

    • Leif Says:

      That’s pretty neat. Somehow I’ve never stumbled across that apps page. This sort of thing (app search, most popular apps, etc) should really get exposed through the front page of the new Fedora redesign.

  3. Michael Says:

    Afaik, Mandriva’s tool, rpmdrake, also search in graphical software by default, ie packages that contain a desktop file. One issue is when people search with it, and forget to remore “only graphical application”, ie, some people will search for apache using such interface in the long run.

    • Jef Spaleta Says:

      Michael, the answer to that is a UI rework. For example have a completely separate interfaces for “Applications” and for “Software” instead of having a preference dialog to switch between the two different search scopes in the same interface. There really maybe a place for a UI interface that is dedicated to “Applications” with no option to search beyond that without opening up an entirely different dialog with a different layout and presentation. Just a thought.

  4. Mads Kiilerich Says:

    Slightly related, I will mention a couple of things that my carpenter friend would love to see:

    – that Applications menu entries had a context menu with “uninstall”

    – that Applications menu folders had a context menu with “install” that made it easy to install applications that would appear in that folder

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