If I am not mistaken, programs like Spotify or Steam are not included in any of the Ubuntu repositories (main, restricted, ...). And I guess they will never be?

Correct me if I am wrong.

If I am right, is there a ppa that provides a collection of closed-source, non-free software and takes care of updates?


First of all, a PPA is just one form of a software repository. PPAs are special ones, as they're hosted on Launchpad and must comply with the rules there. A general software repository (privately hosted) can hold whatever packages someone put in there.


Is there a ppa that provides a collection of closed-source, non-free software?

No, PPAs will accept source-only uploads as a policy, by design. The binaries will be built "in the cloud" of Launchpad and both binaries and sources are published in the PPA. So, unless Spotify or Steam are releasing all relevant code (and comply with all packaging+licensing requirements), it will not be possible to publish this in a PPA.

Please refer to "How do I submit a binary?" on Launchpad and this very similar question: "Can I upload binary packages to a Launchpad PPA?".

Abusing PPAs

As mentioned by @dobey, one could make a source package consisting of binary blobs (precompiled binaries), with no need to compile at Launchpad anymore. However, this is rather a hack and outside the terms of use for Launchpad PPAs. source in "source package" does not mean anything in such a case. Having several of these packages to just to "collect" several pieces of software for the convenience will not exist very long.

Other types of repositories

Software vendors can (and already do) publish this in a private (binary-only) repositories (e.g.Google Linux repositories), or, Canonical may include them in the extras and/or partner repositories. This is how Skype and Adobe Flash Player are being distributed by an "official" Canonical-maintained repository, easily accessible for all Ubuntu users. Also, the MyApps project as proposed by @dobey is an example for a way closed-source software can be maintained in a repository. However, for MyApps, this has to be on the initiative of the vendors.

  • This is actually not how Flash is distributed exactly, at least. The flashplugin-installer package is in multiverse, not a special "Canonical" repository. – dobey Dec 29 '12 at 15:14
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    @dobey Not true. There's also adobe-flashplugin in the partner repositories. The flashplugin-installer package is nothing more than a shell script downloading the binary stuff from Adobe. – gertvdijk Dec 29 '12 at 15:16
  • What about google chrome ppa? It is not opensource – Tachyons Dec 29 '12 at 15:17
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    @Tachyons You must be confused with Chromium. It's not the same as Google Chrome. Chrome is based on the open source Chromium project. The first Google hit about a Google Chrome PPA is a private repository by Google (see the dl-ssl.google.com URL in this link) – gertvdijk Dec 29 '12 at 15:18
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    The question isn't asking how to publish software. It is asking how to get software of a certain type. These lengthy answers about what types of repositories there are, how to publish apps, etc… simply distract from the correct answer. And a source package with pre-compiled binaries is not a "hack" as you put it. It's exactly how the packaging of proprietary apps, and binary data, works. – dobey Dec 29 '12 at 18:42

There is no specific PPA for finding such applications. If you wish to find proprietary applications, you should look in the Software Center.

This is exactly what MyApps publishing to the Ubuntu Software Center is for. If you have a proprietary app you'd like to see available on Ubuntu, you should suggest to its maker or publisher, that it should be published in MyApps. Alternatively, if you own some proprietary software which you'd like to make available to Ubuntu, then you should do so via MyApps.

  • But the question is about ppa, Myapps portal uses ppa in behind the scene only – Tachyons Dec 29 '12 at 15:15
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    The question isn't about PPA. It's about a repository. MyApps is the repository where propreitary applications should be published. This is the correct answer to the question. – dobey Dec 29 '12 at 15:16
  • @Tachyons Don't tell lies. Read this. – gertvdijk Dec 29 '12 at 15:23
  • @dobey: After rereading the question this appears to be the correct answer – Tachyons Dec 29 '12 at 15:29
  • Good answer if you're the developer. But the question is about "gathering" of all sorts of closed-source 3rd party applications in one repository. In MyApps, your submission will no get passed the review process if you just upload the latest Skype release in there for example. – gertvdijk Dec 29 '12 at 15:31

If I am not mistaken, programs like Spotify or Steam are not included in any of the Ubuntu repositories (main, restricted, ...). And I guess they will never be?

Yeah , they are not included in official Ubuntu repository,

If I am right, is there a ppa that provides a collection of closed-source, non-free software and takes care of updates?

Normal ppa do not allow closed source packages, still such apps can be included in ubuntu in 3 ways

  1. Create their own repository: In this method softare vendors can make their own repository in their server, But the user have to manually add the repository ,Eg: google chrome

  2. Via canonical partner repository: In this method apps are published as per special agreement with canonical, Eg: adobe reader,skype etc

  3. Myapps portal: This is the latest and prefered method include apps in ubuntu software center, If steam developers interesed in it, they can submit steam to my apps portalEg: Braid

  • You don't need source, or ownership of software, to put it in a PPA. You need right to redistribute is all. – dobey Dec 29 '12 at 15:08
  • @dobey "You don't need source [...] to put it in a PPA" - You're simply wrong here. See the links in my answer. – gertvdijk Dec 29 '12 at 17:06
  • @gertvdijk You need a source package. You don't need source code. For example, artwork and game data packages may simply be entirely made up of binaries. – dobey Dec 29 '12 at 17:09
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    @dobey: Technically it is possible to can include compiled binaries in the source package, But if it is closed source ,it is against terms and conditions of launchpad – Tachyons Dec 29 '12 at 17:26
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    @downvoter: Let me know what is wrong in my answer and help me to correct it :) – Tachyons Dec 29 '12 at 17:27

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