New Application Stack in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)

Ubuntu 10.04, which will appear next April 2010 as Canonical’s long-anticipated third LTS (Long Term Support) release, will feature substantial changes in the lineup of applications installed by default.  Here’s a look at the biggest ones, with some thoughts.

Judging by the controversy over the replacement of Pidgin with Empathy, many Ubuntu users do not take kindly to decisions to modify the application stack in a default installation.  Even when the change arguably does not compromise important features and despite the fact that 35,000 applications are always just an “apt-get install” away–for those who have the bandwidth, at least–change tends to spawn a lot of ire.

That’s why the revisions in the works for Ubuntu 10.04, listed below, are likely to be a topic of passionate debate.
Goodbye, GIMP

One of the biggest changes planned is the removal of the GIMP image editor from the default install, on the grounds that it takes up a lot of space and provides functionality that the average user doesn’t need.

Personally, I won’t miss the GIMP much.  It’s an extremely powerful tool for those interested in heavy-duty image manipulation.  But most people, whose editing needs center around getting the red eye out of their photos, have little need for it.

Moreover, it’s one of the more unfortunately named applications of the free-software world that Ubuntu would do well to disassociate itself from.
Farewell, F-Spot

Update: although there had initially been discussion of removing F-Spot for Lucid, the developers ultimately decided to keep it.  Thanks to Darcy for pointing this out in comments below.

The F-Spot photo manager is also slated for removal, which is long overdue, in my opinion.  Written in Mono, the application isn’t doing anything to help resolve the legal and philosophical dilemmas plaguing the Ubuntu community.  It also has a habit of failing to detect my camera, and organizes photo collections in a way that makes them difficult to export to other applications or folders.

In addition, like GIMP, F-Spot suffers from a poor name.  Beyond not making sense to most people, “F-Spot” is just one letter away from another kind of spot that we can’t discuss on a family-friendly blog.

With all these downsides, the replacement of F-Spot by a more functional, better named, Mono-free application like gThumb will be a welcome change.

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15 Responses

  1. Potato says:

    “Moreover, it’s one of the more unfortunately named applications of the free-software world that Ubuntu would do well to disassociate itself from.”

    Huh? You’re nuts. The GIMP has a great name. It’s short, easy to say, it’s spelled like it sounds, and probably contributed a lot to making the program as popular as it is. Are iPod or Wii bad names too?

  2. techno-mole says:

    That’s typical, just as I get my graphics tablet working perfectly with GIMP they go and drop it from the next release, I guess I will just have to install it from source, although I should imagine it will still be in the repo’s ?
    I don’t think they should drop it though, I use it for various photography related job’s and find it to be very good, I have added extra stuff to it, but in my opinion it is as good as the version of Adobe elements that I have.

  3. David says:

    They are ruining the standard desktop. GIMP is great and easy to use, same for Pidgin. Empathy is just rubbish as I could not get it to work properly.

  4. yegorich says:

    What about replacing F-Spot against digiKam? Dispite of being a KDE app, it integrates very good in GNOME. And it offers a lot of interesting functions and has plug-in interface.

    I’m also against removing GIMP from the standard installation. It is a great tool and I found it always useful to have it at hand.

  5. siomyn says:

    when I was still waiting when pidgin can use a webcam ..

  6. cm says:

    @techno-mole You won’t have to install from source, gimp will still be one click away in the repos.

    I love the gimp too, but I can see where it is probably not used much by most people. I don’t mind installing it after the fact…

  7. Matthew says:

    “Written in Mono, the application isn’t doing anything to help resolve the legal and philosophical dilemmas plaguing the Ubuntu community.”

    I’m really disappointed in this FUD. The only arguable “legal and philosophical dilemmas” associated with mono concern portions related to Windows compatibility (i.e. Winforms). Applications like F-Spot in Ubuntu have absolutely nothing to these “dilemmas”.

  8. Jonathan says:

    How many people are actually put off using the GIMP and f-spot because of their names? Less than 1%? Poor precious darlings.
    The GIMP is an excellent program that can easily be installed from the repositories, pity it’s not made the cut but those that want it can easily get it. Shame OpenOffice is so damn huge but I guess it’s needed in the default install.

  9. ackondro says:

    Check out Ubuntu B-Sides, it will include apps that are very good, but not fit for the basic desktop space. Basically it is a meta package that pulls in a bunch of apps that are awesome, but aren’t fit for the CD.
    It includes GIMP, mire, gnome-do and more. I’d list them out, but their bazaar server seems to be angry at me, so I can’t get them
    Then all it is is a
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:b-sides
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install b-sides

  10. erro says:

    Removing GIMP from the default install is just lame! Yes, most people do not ‘need’ it as a defualt app, but it was just one more thing that made Ubuntu Linux that much more awesome than MS Windowz … an Operating System with a full Office suite and Graphic design and manipulation application. Makes me seriously wonder what they are going to skimp on next?!

    Pidgin needs to get back in and Empathy can just be canned for all I care. There is more functionality with Pidgin like, oh right … IRC!

    F-Spot … never really liked it … always use gThumb … and NO, I do not think throwing a KDE app like digiKam is at all a good idea!

    Please Canonical don’t go the way of Windows 7 and just start skimping on the default content of the OS — PLEASE!!!

  11. slumbergod says:

    Bad news keeping F-Spot. They should work on ditching all mono apps since they are so controversial (except for mono fanboys, of course).

  12. Makurosu says:

    This decision isn’t the end of the world in my opinion. It should make Ubuntu a little smaller if you need a smaller footprint.

    If you use these programs, then just install them. Easy. I do think that there should be some sort of stock photo editing program though. I don’t use F-Spot and never have, so I don’t know if it’s any good. But I use the Gimp almost every day. So, I’ll just install it along with the list of things I always do when I setup a machine with Ubuntu. I don’t see what the big deal is.

  13. Geoff says:

    The GIMP will still be available in the repos. The decision came because the footprint is still intended to be small–on a CD rather than a DVD like so many other distros. GIMP is very powerful, I don’t personally use it at all. Empathy, I am very disappointed with. It was even worse before the official release of Karmic. Crashed on about every other IM. It’s getting better. It has a long way to go in order to catch up to Pidgin. There’s more to do with the inclusion of Empathy in GNOME going forward than maybe Ubuntu. Although, Ubuntu is taking advantage of the Telepathy framework to make IM more integrated in the whole of the OS experience. I hate it now, but I do see and agree with the long-term vision.

    I think Ubuntu is really moving far and fast. To think how far it’s moved in a year or even five is mind blowing. Ubuntu is good now. It will be great in five years. By then some people may actually have heard of Ubuntu–maybe even Linux for that matter. I’m looking forward to the 10.04 LTS release. I’ll be alpha testing on Thursday with a spare machine I play around with. It’s the best I can do to give back to the community and to really prepare for the end of April.

  14. Simon B. says:

    “The GIMP” is not a great name. Try asking ten people in your nearest town/city centre. At best, they might think its an animal or similar to an imp. With “The” at the front, it appears very self assure, the one and only for image manipulation. I think GIMP has a chance to come back as default install if they manage to get an average grading of “ok” by new non-computer nerds. I.e. the city centre test again; bring a laptop and let them try GIMP and some other popular image programs (MS Paint, Picasa, OS X-whatever, etc) and see which are acceptable to the beginner. There’s no reason GIMP must adjust to the stupidest users, but even less reason that stupid users must get stumped by default installed programs.

    In either case, there’s been complaints about non-democracy of the UDS. I watched most of the UDS videos, because I’m hopeful that Ubuntu will manage to put the user in focus (more than OS X) and with less walled gardens. You guys who complain, did you try to influence the UDS “democratic” process? Maybe its time for some voting rights for Ubuntu users? And wannabes like me could have a fractional vote or something. And perhaps launchpad karma could be burnt in exchange for extra votes?

  15. Simon B. says:

    @ ackondro
    Great advice! Now lets pressure Canonical into adding some such repositories in the default install. Perhaps via launchpad so volunteers and Canonical staff will be able to block the package in case of emergency security issues or similar. And then it’s up to the volunteers to get it fixed and going again.

    My fave idea:
    Or perhaps a link that opens an overview screen (Synaptics on steroids) about the trustability, support channels, maturity etc about the software you’re just about to install. I claim that training “stupid users” in copy-pasting commands from web pages is dangerous – more and more users don’t understand the commands they copy, and there exists safe-looking commands that compromise root.

    There’s been some talk of having several “Suites” available in the “Add/Remove programs” window. A “Graphics Suite” would include GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, etc.
    Perhaps now is the time to get more democratic influence on what gets included there.

    @ Makurosu
    It’s really sad to hear that also you “need” to do a lot of stuff before a fresh Ubuntu feels at home to you. The default install needs to cut down on the manual steps that you need to take in order to feel at home. I don’t mean include everyting, but make it easy (a single command line, or a small amount of clicking and typing in a GUI) to get that stuff done.

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