phasing out of Synaptic?

Pasi Lallinaho pasi at
Tue Nov 4 15:19:19 UTC 2014

On 2014-11-04 14:51, Liviu Andronic wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 12:10 PM, Sean Davis <smd.seandavis at> wrote:
>> Using the Software Center does not require a Launchpad account, but signing
>> in gives you the ability to sync packages across multiple computers and
>> purchase some non-free software (several games, legal codecs, etc).
> But that's the point, really. It's as evil as Google requiring a Gmail
> account to install software on Android phones, even if it concerns
> only a subset of packages in Xubuntu's case. With Synaptic no such
> "must sign-in" restrictions exist, and in an open-source environment
> this really is how it should be.

You can not install the mentioned non-free stuff with Synaptic, so there 
really isn't a drawback with Ubuntu Software Center (later: USC) here, 
the contrary really: USC brings you two more features: allowing you to 
install even more applications (the non-free stuff mentioned) and 
syncing to other computers.

> Xfce is one of the last refuges from
> corporate takeover in the open-source world, and I would hope Xubuntu
> to share (at least partly) Xfce's philosophy and drive. So far we've
> been spared from the Apple-ization at Xfce, be it smartphone
> user-interface or closed iTunes-like environment, and I expect Xubuntu
> to stay true to that.

As I said, and as is implied, there is no sign-in required for Xubuntu, 
or USC (which Xubuntu) uses, it's only exclusively used to get access to 
extra features.

Xubuntu is not a direct output channel for Xfce; if we disagree with 
something that's in Xfce, we can and will consider dropping that feature 
or component. That's even written in our Strategy Document [1]. We do 
share many of the ideas with the Xfce team, and heavily participate in 
Xfce development, but expecting us to "stay true to the Xfce truth" 
generally does sound a bit off.

>> It might not be the best for power users, but thankfully searching for
>> "Synaptic" provides Synaptic and Muon, so users can still find and use what
>> they want.
> Sure, but again that's the issue, really. "Default" users will simply
> be confronted with, well, default package selection. If you present
> users with USC by default, they wouldn't know that other means to
> installing packages exist.

The documentation points out that users can use APT for package 
management and points to the APT manual.

> And this isn't just about power users. If
> you were a novice, how would you know beforehand that a saner way to
> install packages, that requires no pesky sign-ins and tied to very
> specific internet services, exists?

Again, no sign-in is required for USC, and it's not tied to any specific 
internet service, except the mirrors you download the archives from.

> And how would you know that the
> damn thing is called... yup you guessed it... "synaptic"? No one knows
> this other than long-time power users...

USC and other package managers have search features which can also 
search in the package descriptions. In this regard, Synaptic is no 
better than USC.

And furthermore, in the same spirit, how would anybody know the vector 
image editing software is called Inkscape?

> I know that it must come across differently, but I'm doing my best not
> to rant here. :) I guess my proposal would be that if Canonical
> insists (read: forces) subsidiary projects to use USC by default,
> perhaps we should consider also shipping Synaptic at the same time. I
> understand the shivers that shipping two default tools for the same
> job must provoke in developers, but in this case it is a necessity
> IMO. It is after all an essential bit of the OS.

Canonical does not force us to ship USC. I don't completely understand 
who are you proposing to seeding Synaptic for?

For novice users, I would say USC is better than or at least as good as 
Synaptic in the majority of cases. Is Synaptic as intuitive to them as 
it is to you?

For power users, we already have apt-get (and point that in the 
documentation, if they aren't power users enough to know that it's 
installed). If a power user prefers Synaptic, they ought to know how to 
install it and will to that in 5 minutes. If there's a power user who 
doesn't know about Synaptic, they should be able to find it in a 
reasonable amount of time; if not, I'd argue they're not really a power 



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