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From Chris Anderson <>
Subject Re: Desktopcouch, per-user instances of CouchDB
Date Tue, 19 Jan 2010 03:18:02 GMT
On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 6:54 PM, Elliot Murphy <> wrote:
> Hi!
> In Debian there is a debate about whether to accept one of the
> packaging changes that was made to CouchDB in Ubuntu: splitting the
> init script into a package called couchdb, and the rest of the binary
> files into a package called couchdb-bin. This allows Ubuntu to avoid
> the system-wide CouchDB being started during boot of a default
> desktop/netbook install, while still allowing Ubuntu One to make use
> of per-user CouchDB instances. I am seeing an argument claiming that
> CouchDB development "does not support" per-user couchdb instances, and
> claims that the work done in Ubuntu to allow per-user instances of
> CouchDB to be started on demand without ever starting a system-wide
> CouchDB instance is a fork. I am baffled by the claim, but it
> persists.

I'm very happy that Ubuntu One is using CouchDB.

I don't know enough about Debian packaging to understand that issue.
It seems to me that `sudo apt-get install couchdb` should get me a
CouchDB running on port 5984. It sounds like this is what you

On a side note, I've heard a lot of people ask how to get to the Couch
that is running on their Ubuntu machine. I think making this dead
simple will help dispel any notions of a fork (and encourage app

I think per-user CouchDB's are a good idea. I'd like to see them
implemented within Erlang, based on the Host header like httpd's
name-based vhosts.


> The Ubuntu One team has built a library called desktopcouch
>, with some specifications
> about how desktop applications should store and share records in
> CouchDB
> Desktopcouch exposes a D-BUS service which takes care of starting a
> per-user instance of CouchDB on an ephemeral port, putting log files
> in the right place, and configuring OAuth. We've contracted with some
> CouchDB developers to make various enhancements to CouchDB to support
> this. We've also integrated Evolution, Firefox, and Tomboy with
> CouchDB (via desktopcouch), and are encouraging adoption of CouchDB by
> Getting Things Gnome, Gwibber, and submitted patches to Raindrop to
> use desktopcouch rather than a system-wide instance. Additionally,
> applications developed using the Quickly tool automatically store
> their preferences via desktopcouch, and have easy Gtk widgets which
> persist data to CouchDB, and we've built a GUI tool for pairing
> CouchDB systems between desktops to make it trivially easy for folks
> to set up their own replication. We haven't yet written conflict or
> merge widgets, but plan to soon.
> It was my impression that this use of CouchDB by Ubuntu One and
> desktopcouch was accepted and supported and not at odds with the core
> CouchDB development team - certainly not a fork. If anyone on the PMC
> objects to the desktopcouch project and what I've described here,
> could you let me know?
> --
> Elliot Murphy |

Chris Anderson

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