During the Ubuntu Live Conference in Portland, Ore., Canonical announced the beta release of its Launchpad PPA (Personal Package Archive) service, a new way for developers to build and publish packages of their code, documentation, artwork, themes and other contributions to free software.
Canonical, the company that backs Ubuntu, uses Launchpad to help develop Ubuntu. The Launchpad program itself is a set of integrated tools that support collaboration and community formation. These include a team management tool, a bug tracker, code hosting, translations, a blueprint tracker, and an answer tracker.
Its best feature, the bug-tracker, works by trying to track separate conversations about the same bug in external project bug trackers, such as Bugzilla, Roundup, SourceForge, and the Debian Bug Tracking System.
In this new free offering, individuals and teams can each have a PPA. With this, groups can collaborate on sets of packages, and solo developers can publish their own versions of popular free software. Developers upload packages to a PPA and have it built for multiple architectures against the current version of Ubuntu.
Each user gets up to 1GB of Personal Package Archive space, which works as a standard Ubuntu software package repository. Free PPAs are available only for free ("libre") software packages.