To install some applications, we need to add a repository to the system. Why didn't the creators just put them into the Main or Universe repositories, though those applications have GPL license and they are not new (Grub Customizer for example). What is the cause of that?

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    Upstreams pushing software to distros was rare until recently. Historically, software distributors have pulled software from upsteam projects and packaged it for their distros. Developing and packaging are different skill sets.
    – user535733
    Feb 12, 2017 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


Software in main is supported by Canonical. Obviously they're not going to support every arbitrary piece of software on the internet. Software in universe is inherited from Debian, where a select group of people, designated as Debian Developers, take responsibility for the maintenance of the packages they upload (even if the actual packaging is done by others). Obviously, they don't have the capability to maintain packages for every piece of software on the internet.

What do people do who can't get Canonical or Debian Developers to support their software? They must find other ways, which include creating their own repository. The introduction of the PPA by Ubuntu relieved a lot of pressure on community volunteers to maintain packages, and at the same time, freed developers from a lot of the constraints imposed by the release policies of distros.

Remember that what you want may not be what somebody else wants. By sticking to a stable set of software and allowing PPAs, while the users have a slight overhead of maintaining the list of repositories, they get a lot of flexibility in getting what they need. Developers get flexibility in providing updates. Maintainers are relieved of the pressure of having to keep up to date with every arbitrary piece of software on the internet.

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    As someone who has a package in the repos, the procedure is painful
    – hytromo
    Feb 12, 2017 at 9:45
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    There is also Launchpad, which many developers use as their base for PPAs. Feb 14, 2017 at 12:43

In the particular case of GRUB Customizer, it is not packaged in Debian simply because no one has done the packaging work. There is a Request for Package bug opened for it, so anybody who is willing (and able) to do the packaging is welcome to do it. And it is not in Ubuntu because it is not in Debian.

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    And it is not in Ubuntu because it is not in Debian -- this is not necessarily true. Canonical, if they want, can easily package it and put it in the main repository...
    – heemayl
    Feb 12, 2017 at 3:38
  • @heemayl I don't dout that they can, but why should they take resources away from what they're currently doing to work on that instead? Many of those who want/need GRUB Customizer have little problem with getting it on their own. (I neither want nor need it, though I could get it easily enough.) Like perhaps most others, I prefer that they work on tasks that bring greater benefit to more users. Feb 12, 2017 at 5:03
  • @user2338816 That's a different question. My point being -- something not in Debian, does not imply nonexistence in Ubuntu.
    – heemayl
    Feb 12, 2017 at 5:15
  • @heemayl How is it different? I.e., I see your intention better, but it simply shifts the target to a different group in similar constraints. Feb 13, 2017 at 4:17
  • @user2338816 Heemayl is saying it's possible, you're saying it's improbable.
    – wjandrea
    Mar 12, 2017 at 1:25

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