Throughout my career at Synology, I have received feedback from our customers, typically ones like: “I really want to try the new features in Audio Station brought in by this beta release. But I am hesitant to risk the upgrade to the beta DSM. So when will your DSM come out of beta?
In the future, our customers will have the option to become lucky beta testers for the applications they have interest in, without taking the risk of upgrading the whole DSM. In DSM 4.0, more originally built-in popular applications have been separated from DSM and are available in the Package Center. You can now receive updates on these applications when they receive new features or bug fixes.
A bit of history
The first package available in Synology DSM was actually SlimServer (now named Logitech Media Server). Before that, there was no official way to add extra applications to the DiskStation unless you "rooted" the device by ssh/telnet to DiskStation. The popular SlimServer actually had been ported to DiskStation by flipflip in his SSODS implementation. We observed at that time some shortcomings such as the following:
- Synology DiskStation’s hardware adopted multi-architecture approaches for different segment requirements. Customers sometimes needed to wait for the porting from third-party developers, or even worse – it might not have happened at all. We wanted the most popular applications to be run on all our DiskStation models.
- As third-party packages evolved with time, we needed an easier way for users to update the package.
This is why we had a working package management system in DSM 2.0 and ever since then, users have been able to enjoy their music from Slim Devices from the day they receive their new DiskStation.
This model worked quite well, and third-party developers and Synology created many packages using this package system.
New Package Center and Modularization of built-in applications
The new Package Center Application was created in DSM 3.2 with the following goals in mind:
- Users are not required to download package files from Download Center on the Synology website. You just open the package center, browse and select the packages you want to install: everything is then ready to launch from your DSM Application Menu.
- Any updates of packages will be automatically delivered to users. Users just decide whether they actually need to upgrade.
DSM 4.0 continued this trend with more built-in applications becoming packages. One of the benefits for users is that they can receive immediate fixes for critical issues as we usually run over a longer testing cycle when we want to release a new version of DSM.
Another benefit is that it opens the possibility I mentioned at the beginning of the article: in the future, users of DiskStation might just install new beta applications without performing full DSM updates.
Third Party applications
Companies or third-party developers interested in porting or developing their applications on DiskStation are encouraged to take a look at our third-party developer guide. It contains very useful instructions to compile and package your applications using our toolchain.
Synology DiskStation is quite suitable for applications that perform backup, synchronization or media management and streaming. Developers can easily access a large base of users who are serious about their data, ranging from consumers or prosumers to enterprise IT masters.
We also encourage developers to contact our product management team. If you feel your applications are fit for our customers, please get in touch with Synology. I do believe listing your application on Synology Package Center could create incredible opportunities for your business!