Ubuntu Software Center coming to Debian

I just uploaded aptdaemon 0.11-1 and software-center 1.1debian1 to Debian unstable. They are currently waiting in NEW, and will hopefully pass it in a short time. I plan to replace gnome-app-install with software-center for Squeeze, but you can currently have both installed.

Ubuntu Software Center (or just ‘Software Center’) is a new graphical user interface for installing and removing applications; replacing gnome-app-install. Under the hood, it uses aptdaemon which exposes an interface to APT via D-Bus; i.e. something in the direction of PackageKit. At a later stage, the Software Center shall replace Synaptic, Update Manager and various other programs related to package management.

The aptdaemon package is completely compatible to the Ubuntu one, and could thus be synced directly to Ubuntu without any change (if Ubuntu supports “3.0 (quilt)” source packages now, I have not looked into this). The software-center package is based on the latest Ubuntu lucid package; and contains some generalization (e.g. replacing ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ with ‘Software Center’) at some more places. It still needs some work in the documentation and some parts of the program will have to be adjusted for Debian aswell. We also do not have a debianized icon yet; this will be worked on later.

21 thoughts on “Ubuntu Software Center coming to Debian

    1. Most of it is already branded simply ‘Software Center’. The name ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ is currently used in the about dialog and the help; but I guess we can rename everything to ‘Software Center’. It will take some time, but I hope to have it ready as a X-mas present. So the current upload is branded in some areas, but it will change.

      1. Hi Julian

        I thought this would happen eventually.😉

        There’s a lot of sharing between Debian and Ubuntu, but there will always be some packages in Debian and not in Ubuntu, and vice versa. So “Is XYZ available in the Software Center?” is an ambiguous question. But “Is XYZ available in the Debian Software Center?” or “Is XYZ in the Ubuntu Software Center?” are unambiguous.

        So I think it would be better — both for Debian and Ubuntu — if the Debian version was called “Debian Software Center” (or something else entirely) rather than just “Software Center”.

  1. Please look at the UI issues. I know software needs use if it’s to mature, but this software needs maturing and it needs UI issues resolved, not to mention FAR greater flexibility, before it is a serious contender outside of the ultra casual-user/new user arena.

      1. It all remains to be seen then. I still dislike the install path, though I know it’s an ‘easier’ UI, as an intermediate user it frustrates me greatly. Similarly to my most frequent irritation with Web 2.0 site redesigns – steps are added to a process where additional steps are not needed. While change is not always for the worse, no matter how uncomfortable we may be with said change, I’ll do my best to reserve opinion until I see a more mature version of the software.

  2. Why is it already decided to replace Synaptic?

    Shouldn’t that decision be made if/when it’s actually capable of doing so?

    Is there some advantage here over Synaptic that makes it automatically the best choice?

    1. The original description is: “In later versions, it will grow to replace Synaptic, gdebi, some parts of the Computer Janitor, and possibly Update Manager, as well as allowing software purchases.”

      And the advantage is the fact that it uses PolicyKit and aptdaemon instead of the libraries. But we’ll see what the future brings.

      1. > And the advantage is the fact that it uses
        > PolicyKit and aptdaemon instead of the libraries.
        > But we’ll see what the future brings.

        I can see that additional daemons running idle in the background (“background”, for “the casual” user and D-Bus seem lately to be indicative of “without any no documentation at all”) are even further cluttering up the system. I can also see, that it will add a few layers of communications, and hard to see protocols. Unfortunately I fail to see, what good such a daemon is good for at all.

        $ ps auxw|wc
        186 2242 18356
        $ # “Ubuntu”

        Very far from KISS. And since KISS is also a aesthetic system quality, having 186 processes running on a plain desktop system with only 11 user visible applications is quite ugly.

        I’d argue that one of the main dangers of Linux is
        that it is acquiring all the bad properties that
        Windows had in the past: nothing is documented,
        nothing is transparent, everything is binary or in
        some undocumented protocol that can’t be dumped into
        a text editor, nothing is meant to be touched by the
        user directly, but only through some GUI thing( which
        connects to a message bus, which connects to a daemon,
        which changes some registry, which triggers some
        helper, that … etc.)

      2. Tomáš,

        > I can see that additional daemons running idle in the
        > background (“background”, for “the casual” user and
        > D-Bus seem lately to be indicative of “without any no
        > documentation at all”) are even further cluttering up
        > the system. I can also see, that it will add a few
        > layers of communications, and hard to see protocols.
        > Unfortunately I fail to see, what good such a daemon
        > is good for at all.

        D-Bus is well documented. If you have any other examples, please tell me.

        The daemons are executed by D-Bus when they are requested and are not running all the time. I guess they also stop after a certain time without actions.

        > $ ps auxw|wc
        > 186 2242 18356
        > $ # “Ubuntu”
        >
        > Very far from KISS. And since KISS is also a
        > aesthetic system quality, having 186 processes
        > running on a plain desktop system with only 11
        > user visible applications is quite ugly.

        The number is wrong, because you also count in kernel space stuff like audio drivers and so on.

        > jak@hp:~$ ps auxw | grep -v ‘[^a-z] \[.*\]$’ | wc
        > 110 1380 12046
        110 processes on my machine which runs postgres, dnsmasq, sshd, hal (which is to be removed), apt-cacher-ng and other daemons (and 15 processes for chromium). 63 processes are run as normal user and that’s completely OK, given that I have 15 chromium processes, 6 programs in the notification area, 4 applets and 3 terminals running.

  3. The thing that distinguish Debian the most, its their great package management such as Synaptic.

    I don’t like the idea at all of purchasing software from this Software Center, i have never seen such thing on Debian, and i think it doesn’t need it as well.

    I think that before uploading this to Debian Sid/Unstable, the community should decide if we want/need this kind of software to be ported to our valuable Debian Distro.

    If the community approves this, since Ubuntu call all their software (Ubuntu, this, Ubuntu that) taking most of their software from Debian, we MUST rename this to Debian Software Center.

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