The purpose of this site is to provide information to the APT and APTcc backend of PackageKit and the integration in Debian. PackageKit tries to make simple and common software management tasks easier and smoother among all/most distributions. Therefor it provides a distribution neutral DBus interface.

The Smart backend is not covered here.

Current State

PackageKit backend is shipped in Debian Sid and set as default in Kubuntu.

Code

The development takes place in the git repository of PackageKit:

git clone git://gitorious.org/packagekit/packagekit.git

Debian & Ubuntu packaging can be obtained via Git:

git clone git://anonscm.debian.org/pkg-packagekit/packagekit.git

Or via APT:

apt-get source packagekit

Packages

Binary and source packages for Ubuntu can be obtained here:

https://edge.launchpad.net/~packagekit/+archive

Packages for Debian are available. (See ITP #468132) You can find them in the Archives

Discussion

The main place for discussion is the PackageKit mailing list:

http://lists.freedesktop.org/mailman/listinfo/packagekit

The discussion of unresolved issues was archived to wiki:/Discussion.

Debian Integration

In the following you will find a list of unique dpkg/apt features and how they are addressed.

APT backends

PackageKit has two backends for APT. One called "APT", which is Python-based and one called "APTcc", which is written in C++. The default PackageKit backend in Debian is set to APTcc, as it has less bugs, a lower memory usage and supports debconf.

Non-Interactiveness

By Hughsie's Law a running task (PackageKit transaction) is not allowed to wait for user input. But this is the case in several situations using dpkg/apt (debconf and conf files).

Standard In

By Debian Policy it is no longer supported to prompt for input on stdin in maintainer scripts. The APT and APTcc backend has got a time out of 10 minutes before it cancels a hanging script to handle broken packages.

Configuration File Conflict

PackageKit defaults to keep the current configuration and showing a message to the user about the configuration file conflict. There is an effort to change dpkg to use Debconf for handling file conflicts.

Media Changes

Using CD-ROM or DVD as installation source is supported by PackageKit since 0.4.7 version (released in may 2009).

Debconf

PackageKit has support for debconf if the APTcc backend is used. See http://blogs.gnome.org/hughsie/2010/11/02/packagekit-and-debian-2/ for details.

Apper (PackageKit KDE UI) creates a debconf-kde instance ( ?DebconfGui() ), which receives a path to create a socket on /tmp. The path is then passed to PackageKit which pass to the APTcc backend which sets an env var that debconf uses to communicate to debconf-kde.

For clients that use PackageKit-GLib2 (such as pkcon and GNOME-PackageKit) a socket is automatically created and passed to the current APT backend since PackageKit 0.6.10.

If the client closes the debconf window, it will default to non-interactive frontend of debconf, allowing unattended upgrades to happen.

Codec Installation

The corresponding bits of the APT backends reuse the gnome-app-install infrastructure.

Applications

PackageKit is used by GNOME-PackageKit and Apper in Debian at time, the Software-Center might use PackageKit as backend in future too.

There is a prototype of gnome-app-install using PackageKit instead of Synaptic. A screencast can be found here.

The Listaller Project provides a PackageKit plugin which adds support for the distro-agnostic Linux software installer "Listaller" to PackageKit. (Integrating Listaller seamlessly into all applications which make use of PackageKit)

Anjuta, Totem, Nautilus, Zero-Install, Dr.Konqui and many more applications can make use of PackageKit. See http://packagekit.org/pk-users.html for reference.