New software selection using Software Center

Len Ovens len at
Sun Jul 15 15:59:37 UTC 2012

On Sun, July 15, 2012 4:01 am, óÅÒÇÅÊ äÁ×ÙÄÏ× wrote:
> I've attempted such thing with True App Center concept already, see
> The problem Unity has with this is that application suggestions are
> cluttering application lists and getting in the way; there also should be
> a
> clear distinction between installed and not-yet-installed apps. I'd love
> to
> see a design that solves both issues, but creating one is not an easy
> task.
> IMHO Ubuntu Studio is not the project to work on that because it doesn't
> seem to have any designers or coders to spare.

You are right, what you envision is far beyond UStudio's ability. I also
agree with your analysis of Unity (one of the better explanations of why
we don't use it actually). Both Unity and G3 (G#?) are infants with many
teething problems for work beyond the average user. I am sure in a few
years things will start to work better.

However, we are working with artists and artists have favorite tools. We
could try to ship everything under the sun... or in every repo, but that
just leads to a mess. Even with the idea of just shipping enough to cover
the workflows, that is just one of everything, the menu had to be split
and reworked to keep it from being unusable. That is problem one (and

So we have tried to pick the best apps to ship. I personally think we have
done a good job. But none of us expect anyone to just work with what we
ship. Everyone of us has added apps. Now we come to problem two The tools
for finding an artist's "what I really need is..." craving. There are two
apps available to do this. (you are right we don't have the resources to
make another app) synaptic and software center. Synaptic has been around
for a long time, has search, sees _everything_ and allows easy trouble
shooting by showing depends, etc. Software Center is newer and purposely
only shows desktop GUI apps in an easier use format (not worth arguing
about how easy as this is subjective). What both suffer from is
automation. They don't know what apps are useful to certain people and so
they show everything. The user ends up spending time going through
hundreds of apps looking for what they need.

So, what can we do with the resources we have? We have already changed the
menu to work with our set of workflows in a logical way. (we should really
start bugging devs to include categories in the *.desktop files that make
more sense, but... not enough people) We do know what apps we do not ship
that might be useful for certain uses or workflows. We call these
supported apps. If we drop an installer for each one in it's menu spot, it
both takes a lot of work and clutters the menu up with apps the user
doesn't need as if they were there.

Software Center, while still developing, does have the ability to do what
we need. It is there now. The UI is easy to follow in the way we would use
it. It allows the user to just see the apps likely to be important to
them. That way there is just one menu item in any one submenu that covers
any applications likely to be needed for the tools that might be in that
submenu. We can also include any of the apps in that installer that can
safely be removed. (some apps are a part of ASLA for example but only deal
with one kind of hardware that many uses will never use... I will never
use echomixer or any of the rme tools for example, but should not remove
the package they are in)

So working with what we have, this was what I could come up with. More
ideas within this framework would be great.

Len Ovens

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