Ubuntu App Centre – Replacing Add/Remove, Synaptic, Gdebi, Update Manage

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Ubuntu developers are currently developing a centralised “App Store” to simplify the dding/removing /updating/configuring of software within Ubuntu.The name of this application called "Ubuntu App Centre"

The Ubuntu Software Store will be a single graphical interface for package management in Ubuntu. In version 1, it will take the basic philosophy of Add/Remove Applications and make it even easier to use. In later versions it will grow to replace Synaptic, gdebi, some parts of the Computer Janitor, and possibly Update Manager. Having a single interface will make handling software easier, socially improve security, hopefully free space on the CD, and provide a prominent showcase for Ubuntu and partner software. The implementation is based on Add/Remove Applications (gnome-app-install), but may use PackageKit for some components.

The team behind it have set out a preliminary road map for the development of an Ubuntu ‘App Centre’ that stretch over the next four releases. (9.10 –> 11.04 ) with the full replacement the current Package Management tools by App Centre being introduced during 10.04 and refinement/new features being added to it after that.

Goals for ‘App Centre’ in Ubuntu 9.10

1 Include in Ubuntu 9.10 a simple and fun interface for finding, installing, and removing software. This will likely involve:

* A new name.

* A highly graphical “main entrance” or “front page”, that allows browsing software by category and subcategory, and perhaps includes featured and/or popular applications.

* Fast and error-tolerant search.

* Attractive, informative, and easy-to-understand presentation of individual software packages within the interface (with this presentation also being used for apt: URL links to graphical applications).

* Interactive demonstration of how to launch the software you’ve just installed.

* The ability to continue browsing available software, and queue up installation/removal requests, while other changes are being made.

* Better security than the current installation mechanism (i.e. use of PolicyKit instead of gksudo).

2 Increase use of apt: links by Ubuntu enthusiasts, software projects, and ISVs, replacing terminal commands or standalone downloads. This will likely involve:

* A redirector Web service (e.g. redirecting from http://apt.ubuntu.com/package-name to apt:package-name), with helpful handling of error cases, to better cater for people who are not running Ubuntu when they follow the link (and to better cater for forums and other CMSes that do not allow direct apt: links).

* Prominent and highly understandable information on ubuntu.com about how to get your software (whether Free or non-Free) packaged for Ubuntu.

* An apt: evangelism campaign for projects that already have their software packaged in the Ubuntu repositories.

3  Fine-tune the interface presented when software updates are available. This may involve:

* When updates are presented automatically, collapsing the list of updates by default, concentrating instead on the existence of updates and the choice to install them now or later.

* Presentation of the new better descriptions of security updates.

4  Establish a system within Launchpad for registered users to suggest a better description, category, keywords, and/or screenshot for a software package, and for the package maintainer to incorporate those changes into a new version of the package, so that end users can find the software more easily later.

Ubuntu App Centre mock-up’s from Ubuntu Wiki

Below are some ‘mock-up’s taken from the ‘App Centre’ wiki page which show the first glimpses (subject to user approval)  at what the unified centre may look like.

1.0-available-home[3]

1.0-available-category[3]

1.0-available-application[3]

1.0-in-progress[3]

You can check the progress of this application on Ubuntu wiki page from here and here .I hope this would help more and more people to move back to ubuntu.

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20 thoughts on “Ubuntu App Centre – Replacing Add/Remove, Synaptic, Gdebi, Update Manage

  1. When is Ubuntu going to start preferring aptitude over apt-get? From what I’ve heard about aptitude, it seems like a much better interface to debian package management.

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  2. I’m all for this. But the concept art seems to make the App Centre look a lot like iTunes. :/ But I would love to see this in the next release or two (after karmic of course).

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  3. Although I like the idea of a centralized application for installing/upgrading/updating packages. I HATE the name, any name with the word Store in it does not belong in a Application name. All the software available in Ubuntu is free and the word store implies that the user might have to pay for it.

    I DO NOT LIKE THE NAME!

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  4. I have to agree with IdleOne

    Maybe something like ‘Software Centre’ or ‘Software Manager’ or even ‘Software Console’ would be a better idea imo.

    I think that maybe the Ubuntu devs are trying to come up with something that reminds people of the iPhone ‘app store’ or the Android store.

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  5. Where did you saw Ubuntu App Store? It will be App Store like. Otherwise the name is Ubuntu App Centre. The only negative is that uses word “App”, which yes, associates as App Store. People will easy understand where to click if they want new software. And oh, surprise! it’s all free!

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  6. Well, is it not that people use store incorrectly, in place of shop?

    A store is a place like a warehouse, where things are stored. This is what I think when I hear store, I very seldom hear store used for shop in conversation.

    In a technical sense, software store is a perfect name. A central location where the software is stored.

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  7. Find excellent the idea of centralizing app stuff on one place. I think ubuntu (and gnome in general) needs this kind of work – that is simple but no one likes/wants to do. But, i need to agree with IdleOne: don’t like the “store” in the name. Would prefer “Centre” (or “center” in american).

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  8. Calling it an App Store of course brings up the context of Apple’s, which has been widely copied. This is clearly not for the people already comfortable with Linux, who will probably still use apt-get most of the time anyway. This is for the masses, the people who bought their first smartphone because they saw an iPhone commercial. I think Ubuntu is jumping on a good bandwagon here, and by identifying with app stores that everyone already knows, they save tons of time in explaining to noobs. This is the sort of thing Linux in general needs for more widespread adoption.

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  9. Looks like the software manager that linux mint has been using for some time.

    As long as they don’t go the direction of Yast on Suse….that thing is a horrible pile of cow dung.

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  10. the idea of storing all these stuffs into one is good. however, find another word(s), i do not like “store”.

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  11. The concept is ofcourse very compelling and welcomed as I myself struggled with linux/ubuntu to get my head around all these options to install software in ubuntu.

    The thing I find strange is why re-invent the wheel. linux already has the very capable aptitude. Why not just build this new app-center as UI frontend for aptitude (it does have its own semi-gui). Aptitude dependency resolution is much more capable than that of apt* and accorindgly its uninstall capabilities are really solid (no need even for janitor)

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  12. Well, at first blush in Ubuntu 9.10, well, sorry, but I don’t like this new Software Centre. I landed here trying to find a way to get back to Add/Remove.

    First, no ratings. I like the ratings. Being able to sort by ratings is a good thing.

    Second, it’s slow as it starts installing right away. I’d rather pick my list and then let it go. Oh, and the checkbox and info pane approach is much easier than this follow-the-link idea.

    Third, because it starts whilst I’m searching the lists, it keeps asking for my password, over and over.

    I’m trying to keep an open mind here, but it seems like quite a regression from what was. It looks pretty but I’m hoping there’s a choice of going back somehow.

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  13. I found out you can just install addremove, the old system. Just use the Software Centre to search for “remove”. It puts the launcher for it under System – Administration. Pretty easy actually.

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  14. Having been using 9.10 for awhile now, I have mixed feelings about the Ubuntu Software Center, as it is presently named.

    My biggest problem with it is that it does not give you any information on the size of the download. I understand that is probably not an issue for many people, but my only option for high speed internet is satelite which limits daily downloads.

    So unless I know the program is not very big I use synaptic. I find myself using synaptic most of the time. Why should I bother looking in the USC when I will have to look else where to find information before I download.

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  15. I don’t like this new “Software-Center” at all. I prefer the old “Add/REMOVE” since it was easier, faster and much more user-friendly.

    Now I am forced to navigate though this “app-center” for each program I want to install or uninstall, instead of (pre)select everything before. The new “Software-Center” is basically time-wasting.

    The new “Software-Center” might look fancy but it is a hugh step back in user-friendliness.

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  16. For those who want the old, usable, user-friendly, informative, fast & intuitive “ADD/REMOVE”:

    sudo apt-get install gnome-app-install

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