[arch-general] Announcing pacpak

pelzflorian (Florian Pelz) pelzflorian at pelzflorian.de
Tue Jul 12 06:44:00 UTC 2016

On 07/12/2016 09:29 AM, Chao Feng via arch-general wrote:
> Florian,
> What is the target user of pacpak? Arch users or App developers?
> I think Flatpak and Arch rolling release model mainly fix the same issue: 
> Shipping cutting edge softwares quickly and stay close with upstream.
> Arch users will find flatpak less necessary as long as the package is rolling 
> out quickly enough. 
> For pacpak, it will be great if it could archive below working flow: 
> 1. Upstream develop software on Arch, stay cutting edge.
> 2. Developer build packages using pacpak.
> 3. Those packages does not target Arch user, but other distro users.
> 4. Then app becomes a rolling application. And the running environment is just 
> a subset of Arch linux. Security issues are fixed as quickly as us (Arch 
> linux).  
> Feng Chao

Flatpak is also about more isolated sandboxing with the app not seeing
all other software, configuration files etc. on the operating system. I
believe this is its core feature for Arch users. I want this sandboxing,
but still use the well-maintained Arch packages, so I started pacpak.
Therefore, the target group I had in mind for pacpak are Arch users, not

On the other hand, Flatpak’s target group does include developers who
want to bundle their app with its dependencies to run on any GNU/Linux
system. When I started this e-mail thread, I wrote about this as well
and confused many people. However, it is also relevant to Arch because
Flatpak would become a competition to Arch packages with the added
feature of sandboxing. pacpak is meant to avoid this competition and
instead integrate both.

Now your idea is to use pacpak to create Flatpak apps for other distros.
This is of course possible, but there are many issues:
· Currently there are official non-Arch Flatpak platforms for X.org,
GNOME, KDE etc. They are intended to be one centralized base on top of
which all apps are built. Competing with them is bad for users, because
when some apps would use this platform and some apps the other platform,
both need to be installed.
· If Arch really should compete with them, then there needs to be a
centralized official Arch platform for all of X.org, GNOME, KDE, etc.
The alternative is every developer shipping their own Arch platform,
which means end users would need to fill up their hard disk even more.
· There is a contradiction of goals here. With the official platforms,
cutting edge software can be shipped as a Flatpak by its creators. With
an Arch base, maintained software would be used as a base for
unmaintained software.

I don’t think we want to make the effort to compete here. Developers
should use the official Flatpak platforms, not Arch. Only if a single
user or organization wants to use an Arch app on another distribution,
pacpak is appropriate.

Florian Pelz

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