[aur-general] PKGBUILD for an .AppImage

Eli Schwartz eschwartz at archlinux.org
Sun Oct 14 00:56:32 UTC 2018

On 10/13/18 8:06 AM, Tom Hale wrote:
> The advantages I see of packaging an AppImage are:
> * Automatic updates

Not only is this not automatic when using pacman or even when using an
AUR helper, the AppImage format has the ability to self-update via a UI
exposed within the application itself (see libappimageupdate) using a
manifest embedded within the AppImage. It also supports binary deltas.
Updates can be automatically run in the background or triggered by a popup.

> * GUI integration (eg appname.desktop file and icon)

appimaged will monitor your system for AppImages, and integrate them via
desktop files and icons.

> * Easy access to man pages, help docs and changelog

I have rarely ever seen a pacman package that makes use of changelogs,
and the ones I do see, are invariably changelogs for the PKGBUILD
itself, not for the program.

Please do explain how AppImages as sources, over any other type of
source, are *more* likely to have any of the three. I wasn't aware it
was customary to provide those in AppImages. Probably due to the format
being all about isolation vs. natively integrating with the system.

> * Easy access to files (eg skeleton config files) specified in the help
> docs

What applications actually provide skeleton config files? The defaults
will be buried in program logic and written out by functions that
interpret the format in the first place -- skeleton configs would be
rather bloated and pointless according to that logic, and if you just
want documentation on the default values, then most programs either
document that, come with options to reset to defaults, or in the
worst-case scenario, allow you to blow away your settings.

There's an incredible degree of inconsistency within the general
application ecosystem, between programs which have no default config
files and only write out the settings which are non-default, programs
which have an embedded scripting language in which all configuration
must be *programmed*, programs which store their configurations as some
weird binary format (I'm looking at you, gtk/gnome), or simply programs
where the defaults are obtained by blowing away your configuration, then
starting the program.

Occasionally, a program even comes with skeleton config files. o_O
Although one of those programs, GnuPG, actually stopped on the grounds
that they get stale and since they're nothing but documentation, they
should simply ship as documentation, not skel files which contain copies
of the documentation. This is a healthy attitude.

Eli Schwartz
Bug Wrangler and Trusted User

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