Announcing the Ubuntu Application Review Process

Are you an application developer who would like to see your application appear in the Ubuntu Software Center and available by millions of Ubuntu users? Today we are announcing a new process we are trialing which is easier and more accessible for application authors to get their apps in Ubuntu.

Recently we formed a community-driven Application Review Board that is committed to providing high quality reviews of applications submitted by application authors to ensure they are safe and work well. Importantly, only new applications that are not present in an existing official Ubuntu repository (such as main/universe) are eligible in this process (e.g a new version of an application in an existing official repository is not eligible). Also no other software can depend on the application being submitted (e.g. development libraries are not eligible), only executable applications (and content that is part of them) are eligible, and not stand-alone content, documentation or media, and applications must be Open Source and available under an OSI approved license.

The process is simple:

  • Prepare your app ready for review.
  • Submit it for review.
  • Await feedback and if the feedback is positive, your application will be added to the Ubuntu Software Center.

Would you like to learn more about how to get your app in the *Ubuntu Software Center?

Go and read this page to find out more.

  • Mathieu

    I got really excited about this announcement until I read this line :

    The application and it’s files should be packaged under /opt.

    It’s the only line that I have a problem with and maybe I should stick to the traditional procedure : submitting to Debian and waiting for the app to be pulled by Ubuntu on the next release.

    I’m currently working on Lutris ( ) which is an Open Source replacement for Steam and it’s getting close to it’s first stable release. (I hope I can get it out on the 10/10/10 btw 😉 After the first release there will be a bug hunting and sort-of Paper Cuts session going on and hopefully it will make it on time for Natty Narwhal where it will sit where it belongs : in /usr/share 😉

    Quickly has been really helpful at the beginning but now as the project is evolving I tend to remove the Quickly bits and I get my inspiration somewhere else (mainly from Ryan Paul and mpt’s code). Nevertheless, Quickly has been a rock solid backbone to get the project started, Didier Roche and Rick Spencer have done some amazing work here.

    About the Application Review Process, some things were not clear to me. Are the apps going in an additional repository ? There’s already main, restricted, universe, multiverse, backports and partner so this one would be called community or something approaching ? It seems to me as if it’s a super-ppa where the apps get maximum visibility in the software center instead of hiding in Launchpad.

    And since the apps go in /opt and can’t be system libraries, will they be subject to Ubuntu’s 6 month release cycle ? I mean, can you apply several times for the same app within a release cycle ?

  • ethana2

    Whoa whoa whoa, only open source applications?! So if Adobe wants to get Photoshop CS6 into Partner repos.. there’s still a way for them to do that, right? Would they just work with Canonical?

  • Aoirthoir An Broc


    I read the page and your post here. ALL of this looks great and looks to Ubuntu moving in the right direction. One key point though, is does any of this require us signing the COC?

    Kind Regards, Aoirthoir

  • Jef Spaleta

    Getting a PPA requires signed the CoC. And putting the package into a PPA is a prereq for review submission.

  • Aoirthoir An Broc

    And let me clarify. I understand what is meant by “Content is suitable under the terms of the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct”, that is reasonable. You don’t want an app distributing things that will give Ubuntu and Canonical a bad rep. So that’s not what I am speaking about in this case.

    Specifically I mean do we the developers have to sign the CoC?

  • Aoirthoir An Broc

    Jef, thanks for the clarification. We’ll be taking other routes then.

    Kind Regards, Aoirthoir

  • simon

    will developers be able to push updates for their apps?

  • Shane Fagan

    There is a big reason for putting it in /opt have a look

    The repo is and it is live at the moment but there is nothing in there yet.

  • Shane Fagan

    They would have to go into the partner repo.

  • Shane Fagan

    There is no reason not to sign the coc now that that line about sabdl was removed. Everything else is really common sense and if your app doesnt adhere to the coc its not getting into the new repo anyway.

  • Shane Fagan

    Its for one single release of the app. If you need to push an update you have to submit it for review again but we havent talked properly about this yet.

  • Owais Lone

    Nice. Have been waiting for this.

  • Aoirthoir An Broc

    Shane you said “There is no reason not to sign the coc”. Is not wanting to sign it reason enough? I believe our personal choices should be respected in this matter. Of course Ubuntu’s choice can remain to not distribute the software of such persons (including me). And now that we have clarification of the matter our software will remain outside of the Ubuntu Software Center and Repositories. This is cool and just the way of it.

  • Benjamin Humphrey

    What’s all this bullshit about open source applications only?

    You guys want to attract quality paid applications for your distro or not?

  • Owais Lone

    Why is it “you guys” and “your distro”. Man, you ARE drifting away.

  • ethana2

    Evidently the nonFree apps already have a process for getting into Partner repos. ..I just don’t think it has nearly as much community input yet. I personally would like to see that change.

    Closed betas for proprietary applications on Ubuntu for Partner repo acceptance? Heck yes.

  • Killerkiwi

    “No new updates to existing apps are allowed”

    Why? as long as the app fits into the other categories why cant it be an update?

  • mg

    1) What about bug fixes or security updates? Doesn’t this require pushing updates? Can the developer push out the latest version with the fixes, or are minimal patches to be applied (and do these patches have to be reviewed as well)?

    2) Is there a process for moving from this special program to being part of the regular repositories? Would this be coordinated with Debian to make sure the same thing gets moved into the Debian repos?

    3) What happens during a distribution upgrade? Does the package simply get removed and have to be re-installed, does it get upgraded, does it get left as is, etc.?

    4) What happens if a package gets moved to main or universe? Does the ARP version get removed on the next distribution upgrade?

    5) What happens if someone does a distribution upgrade and the package breaks (e.g. due to dependencies)?

    6) You said “development libraries are not eligible”. What if they are libraries that are intended to allow the user to write their own applications?

    7) “Application integrates into the Applications menu” – What if it’s a server app with a web management interface? Is it acceptable to have a menu link launch the default web browser with an appropriate URL?

    8) Can ARP packages be added at any time, or only when a new distro version is released?

    I have some unpackaged applications that I would like to eventually get into the main repos. I would like to eventually get them into the regular repositories for both Ubuntu and Debian, and this sounds like an interesting intermediate point along that road.

  • Matthew East

    Benjamin, that’s not an appropriate tone or language to comment with. Please be respectful when you raise points for discussion.

  • Flimm

    If your application meets all these requirements, why not just submit it to REVU, or Debian? I can’t see what this initiative brings to the table.

    I’ve submitted an application to Ubuntu through REVU over a year ago. It’s still sitting there, with no comments, although it is out of date now. I’d rather have some Ubuntu developers dedicate more time to sponsoring packages rather than launch a new repo which is basically universe, but with more restrictions.

  • saulgoode

    “No other software can depend on the application being submitted”

    Is this just unfortunate wording or is the actual intent to exclude applications which can be employed by other programs for their functionality?

    Are no command line utilities to be accepted? Will submitters be expected to disable all piped, D-BUS, or network access to the application’s functionality?

  • Shane Fagan

    1) Well there is a quality standard here that we have to look at. The apps getting pushed to the new repo should be very stable but not in the other repos already. If there are big bugs you can ask for it to be reviewed again to fix them but we would prefer that there would be no updates.

    2/3/4/5) We would like if the package got pushed to the repos for the next new version of ubuntu so in terms of handling of that it should be just be a distro update but if its not it should be still in /opt for use but if it breaks then we can push a newer version of the app to the next distro version id say.

    6) We want to push one singular package to this repo no libraries it should be a stand alone app but can obviously depend on libraries in the repo already.

    7) Well as long as its not to a link thats inappropriate (you still have to adhere to the coc). But the idea of that line is so you have to use tech in ubuntu like the app menus and not use the notification area for example. Since we are removing the notification area soon it would just be breaking the distros style.

    The idea of the ARB is to push apps post release. If you want something in before release you should go to main or universe.

  • Shane Fagan

    You can do command line programs but the idea is that its going to be singular apps. Fire and forget kind of stuff. That are developed quickly and can be made using things like quickly and do some purpose and probably pushed to the repo for the next release.

    You can use the D-Bus and network stuff if you want. Like if you wanted to push to zeitgeist for example its all good. The idea is that it should be at heart stand alone little things.

  • twilightomni

    If you want to use Ubuntu’s infrastructure to distribute your app, you should be willing to agree to their conditions for doing so.

    This is not an unreasonable requirement. Quid pro quo. If you want to use the service, agree to the terms.

  • David Bruce

    What’s the point of this? How is this better in any way than pulling from Debian Sid? I can see that it hypothetically might accommodate the wishes of an OSS project that wanted to be in Ubuntu but not Debian (which seems bizarre IMHO), but I don’t see any other upside. Meanwhile, this repository would apparently have no security updates or just plain bug fixes and feature development.

    It seems like a pointless step backward from where we are now.

  • David Bruce

    Oh I see – “the idea is to push apps post release”.

    So it is sort of like Debian’s backports. I guess that makes more sense.

  • Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho

    What is this big reason? Your link does not mention it. Generally /opt is used for packages outside the system package manager’s control, but these are .deb packages, no?

  • usama

    i love very much to use ubuntu but in tunisia all uses of people windows…i have difficultie to use because all application and there extension is not identique to ubuntu..solve my problem please..if i can download the backeg of ubuntu to be identique for my application…im student on third university informatique

  • fumble

    That sounds like a really bad idea. Stuff that is developed quickly is exactly the kind of thing that will have bugs and will therefore need updates.

    Better to just employ people to read debian-mentors and sponsor things.

  • Shane Fagan

    /opt is meant to be for all programs outside of the default install except libs is what the standard says from what I remember. Just think of program files on windows being separate to the windows folder where all of the system files are.

  • Shane Fagan

    This is just a way of bridging the gap between ppas and users really. The developers work on their apps and when they are happy its feature stable and doesnt crash every time it runs they might want it available to the default users. So then you apply to the extras repo and get people seeing your app that wouldnt be discoverable if it was just in the ppa.