After 3 weeks of hard work, where experienced app developers have been writing some really awesome apps, and in which new developers have not only started from scratch but also produced equally awesome software, we’re nearing the end of the contest. Here are some heads up notes to get your apps in shape and submitted by next Monday.

Live countdown banner by Brandon Holtsclaw

Get your submissions ready

Just a quick reminder to send your apps by next Monday: you’ve got the full weekend to finish off the final touches, but your app should be readily packaged in a proper PPA and submitted to MyApps by Monday, including the participation details file. Quoting step 4 on the main Ubuntu App Showdown page:

As the final step, you’ll get to publish your app in the Software Centre to be distributed to millions and rated and reviewed for the community vote. We ask all participants to package their apps in a Personal Package Archive (PPA), which Quickly makes really easy:

  • Set up a PPA on Launchpad
  • Run the following command to package and upload your app: quickly submitubuntu
  • Your application (1) must be published to a PPA (2) run out of /opt, (3) only have dependencies in the Ubuntu 12.04 archive, and (4) must work correctly. Fortunately Quickly eases this with the above command. If you choose not to use Quickly and you are manually packaging it, if your application does not adhere to the above points, it will be rejected.
  • IMPORTANT! While submitting your app, fill in the App Showdown Participation Details and upload it in the ‘Your application‘ field in MyApps


One of the good things about the contest, is that it’s also helped us to road test and stress out the app developer process. As such, we’ve confirmed that some parts work very well, and we’ve also uncovered some bugs along the way. If you are using Quickly, and you are affected by any of these bugs, here’s a small troubleshooting guide to help you out.

Submitted apps package fine, but fail to build on a PPA

You’ve probably hit this bug in Quickly, which means that the quickly submitubuntu command does not work as expected and fails to produce a valid package. But don’t worry, there is a fix queued up that you can install straight away. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Ubuntu Software Centre
  2. Click on the Edit > Software Sources… menu entry
  3. Ensure the Pre-released updates (precise-proposed) entry is checked (see image below)
  4. Click on the Close button to save changes
  5. You can quit the Software Center now


  1. Open a terminal
  2. Type the sudo apt-get update command, followed by Enter
  3. Type the sudo apt-get install quickly-ubuntu-template command, followed by Enter

This will install the fixed Quickly package, which will enable you to use the quickly submitubuntu command as usual.

After I package my app, static Quicklist entries or command-line parameters are gone from the desktop file

If you are using static quicklist entries or command-line arguments in your desktop file (the latter is not very common), you’ve hit another bug in Quickly.

As a workaround, you can do the following:

  1. Open a terminal
  2. Run quickly package --extras
  3. Edit the rules file in the debian folder of your project and fix that sed line
  4. Now run: debuild -S
  5. And finally run: dput ppa:yourusername/ppa ../projectname_*_source.changes


If you are getting signature errors, ensure you’ve added the following at the end of the ~/.bashrc file:

export DEBFULLNAME='Your name'
export DEBEMAIL=''

Note that:

  • The values of DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL should match those of your GPG key.
  • You’ll need to restart the terminal for the changes to have effect, or alternatively run source ~/.bashrc to reload the file
  • You should check that the debian/changelog file has got a valid e-mail that matches DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL too
  • You might need to update the version number in the debian/changelog file. In any case, ensure that there is no -public suffix, or anything else with -

I’ve got another issue!

In that case, use Ask Ubuntu! The site has been exploding with questions during the contest, and we’re getting lots of good answers for them too – Ask your question on Ask Ubuntu ›

Looking forward to start voting next week on all of your cool apps!

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  • xz21

    No week3 wrap-up? :( :( :(

    • David Planella

      Don’t worry, we’ll probably do one next week after all submissions have been sent :)

  • MetalGodWin

    My contribution is almost finished. Tried Quickly first, but as I’m new to python I got confused with all the gen. code. So I decided to build from scratch w/o quickly & glade. But now w/o quickly and its submit functionality I have no idea how to pack and add to ppa and too Ubuntu… Haven’t rly looked into it yet either. Hopefully it won’t be too hard.

    • David Planella

      You might also want to have a look at porting your finished app to Quickly and still take advantage of all the packaging commands.

      Simply run ‘quickly create nameofyourapp’ and then copy your project files to the new folder and replace the files you need from there and integrate your app to the file layout. Remember not to modify the original file except from the part below the comment line.

      • Rikard Johansson

        Thanks, trying that right now. Been at packaging from terminal for hours now. *tired*

  • Piotr Zagawa

    What about me? I did not have setup ppa yet, but do this in hour or two. But the “problem” is, I have C++/GTK project, that builds with gcc/make. Are there any things I should watch for?

  • Asdfjkhurh Asldfkjhasdf

    Well, nice! I really like this contest but I feel that *they who can* “push” the applications *they* want. Example: OMG! Ubuntu does single posts for entire applications that participate in this contest, and thus, they promote specific applications. Moreover: Ubuntu app developers *like*specificapplications and not everyone posting a screenshot with their app. Providing that they support developing programs for Ubuntu, shouldn’t they encouragef everyone? See:! Only 5 apps have +1. What’s going on? Sorry if I’m over suspicious but… I want a fair play :P

    • David Planella

      Judges are independent individuals who will review all apps and vote according to their own opinion, not influenced by anyone else. Disclaimer: I am a judge in the contest.

      It is in every app developer’s hand to do promotion for their app.

  • dega1999

    what about this new quickly bug? I’ve got this from last update (yesterday)

  • Piotr Zagawa

    The process of creating C++/gtkmm softwarefor linux begginer like meis REALLY EASY comparing to setting up PPA and configuring all this stupid traps you have prepared for developers. There are just OBSTACLES – things to make hold you to NOT publish your software for Ubuntu. UsereXperience ZERO factor.

  • Vance Turnewitsch

    I’m curious about the deadline. The post says submit apps “by Monday,” but the counter shows 2 days (as of 11:46 EDT) left. Is the deadline Sunday night EDT or Munday 12PM EDT?

    • Piotr Zagawa

      good point. I did not find information in rules doc, what kind of time one must use. I don’t know where you found EDT time. Maybe you can stick to your local time, or UTC or anything else?

      • Vance Turnewitsch

        I used the time from the countdown timer and applied it to my local time zone (EDT). I didn’t calculate universal time; but surprisingly the contest is over. :( I was positive yesterday at 12PM EDT the timer said one day twelve hours… Oh well.

  • Piotr Zagawa

    You should really consider possiblity of uploading projects as they are. Too many people have problems with PPA, creating packages. And I too. Created good c++/gtkmm software, and I still can’t build package to ppa. Thank you, Canonical for such a great, clear, easy to use tools for that.

    • Piotr Zagawa

      Ok, I have done it. But it is not easy task for a beginner. That is, task itself is easy, but too many misleading information, too many options in building source package makes it hard for a first time.


      Packaging is just terrible… if you don’t do it using a tool such Quickly, pray. It’s just terrible to develop .deb packages using things such debuild or dh_make. And in my case, I did it, but anyway, I was still unable to upload my app to a PPA.

      I love Quickly, even if it’s still buggy, because it allows you to just develop the necessary things, and that’s something which I can’t say about XCode, Visual Studio or MonoDevelop. Quickly is just great!;)

    • David Planella

      As Francisco is saying, we know that packaging is difficult, which is exactly why Quickly was created and why we recommended it for the contest.

      The requirement of PPAs instead of just code branches was made to ensure all apps at least built and could be installable in a package. There is work enough for a volunteer community (the Ubuntu App Review Board) to fix those packages. If submissions were just project branched, they would have to do the packaging for the 130+ apps that made it to the contest, which is why we think it is a better idea for the app developers to do the packaging themselves.

  • Sandeep Reddy

    ” While submitting your app, fill in the App Showdown Participation Details and upload it in the Your application field in MyApps” Can someone explain this line?? Shouldn’t the deb package be uploaded in the field. Where do I submit the details text file? Please help…

    • Christopher Kaster

      I’ve submitted this textfile instead of an .deb package. I thought they could build the app themself with the ppa ;).


        It took me some minutes to discover it… meanwhile, I’ve uploaded a .deb :P

        Also, the PPA *always* try to compile the app… so yes, they can.

  • Anubhav410

    Since morning I’m trying the upload my app but it shows a Server Error(ErrorID: ) 2382satsuma27438

  • Sean Davis

    Does anyone know if the contest is over or if there is still time remaining? According to the countdown banner on this page, it looks like there is still time remaining.

  • SIFE

    When I finished up my contribution, I find the banner above, why just not upload the source code as like.
    I wish really to extend the contest more two days, so the people who fail to build they projects with APP can upload their projects as source code directly to the server.

  • Lucio Messina

    and does anyone know at what time the contest ended?
    I submitted an app the 9th of july, at 18:34

    Will it participate in the contest?

    Thank you for the reply