Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

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Arjen Balfoort
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Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 08 Jul 2016 11:40

I'd like to propose the replacement of the Software Manager with Gnome Software in the EEs (and the next stable versions of SolydXK).

Our current software manager is a python 2.7 by Linux Mint. It has some dependencies that I'm not too happy with and there doesn't seem to be much development on it.

I installed Gnome Software on SolydK EE (it's in the Debian testing repository) and it didn't install too many dependencies. It has about the same functionality as Mint's software manager and users can even give a rating. I only had to install busybox-static before installing gnome-software.

What do you think?


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san-claudio
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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby san-claudio » 08 Jul 2016 12:41

I do not think much about it.
I have a SolydX EE 9 64bit on a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 since February 2016 dual-boot with Windows 7 Pro for now it runs very well.
There's just Google Earth I can not install a dependency is missing deposits.
A concern on the interface for 2 months example with network-manager and another right and left click the graphic was not good !!! ???, an update has increased from LightDM and it fixed the problem .. .I think it came from there ...

It works much better than the SolydX 8 64bit on a Dell M4300 but it is not comparable Lenovo's superior CPU ...
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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby grizzler » 08 Jul 2016 15:01

Schoelje wrote:Our current software manager is a python 2.7 by Linux Mint. It has some dependencies that I'm not too happy with and there doesn't seem to be much development on it.
Really? Eight releases in the last two months, according to the changelog. True, most weren't exactly earth-shattering changes, but what exactly would you expect from this kind of application?
I installed Gnome Software on SolydK EE (it's in the Debian testing repository) and it didn't install too many dependencies.
It wanted nine other packages on my SolydX EE system. Ten lines of dependencies in the control file. Only two in solydxk-softwaremanager's, but that's python, so most of those will have dependencies of their own, which don't show up there.
It has about the same functionality as Mint's software manager and users can even give a rating. I only had to install busybox-static before installing gnome-software.

What do you think?
As I don't use this type of program myself, I have no preference. I am getting more and more ticked off at GNOME in general, though, but that's just me...*) ;)

______________________________________________
*) I'm probably still mad at the GNOME developers for destroying a very nice desktop environment, but they keep on doing it, with things like nautilus, gedit and evince becoming more brain dead with every new release. So whenever someone suggests something GNOME, I'm really apprehensive...
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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Zill » 08 Jul 2016 15:54

grizzler wrote:... As I don't use this type of program myself, I have no preference. I am getting more and more ticked off at GNOME in general, though, but that's just me...*) ;)

______________________________________________
*) I'm probably still mad at the GNOME developers for destroying a very nice desktop environment, but they keep on doing it, with things like nautilus, gedit and evince becoming more brain dead with every new release. So whenever someone suggests something GNOME, I'm really apprehensive...
+1

IMHO, Synaptic is the "Rolls-Royce" of package management GUIs. What is the point in providing an inferior imitation?

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby kurotsugi » 08 Jul 2016 18:37

well...people said "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". in general if the mintinstall is functional, personally IMO I see no reason to replace it. especially with something gnomy, since we are closer to plasma which stand as exact opposite of gnome. IIRC gnome-software is a packagekit front-end just like apper in KDE. I think it would be better for KDE to use apper instead of gnome-software.

sadly, I can't tell you which one is better since I'm an "enthusiast" and just like other enthusiast, we do most of our system management on terminal. my last experience with mintinstall is that it was so amazing...in a bad way. it's terribly slow. I quickly turned into terminal and never go back. though, it was very long time ago so perhaps it's better now.

summarize : no need to replace it. but if you really want to replace it, IMO apper is better for KDE while the xfce version will happy with any replacement. I do love synaptic but I can understand why we should we avoid it as long as possible. gnome-software or any frontend of packagekit will suffice.

PS: IIRC gnome-software only use packagekit as plugin. packagekit itself actually has it's own gui frontend. please correct me if I'm wrong. if it's true that packagekit has it's own gui, then rather than apper or gnome-software, packagekit would be a better replacement since it's distro/desktop agnostic and less dependency.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Zill » 08 Jul 2016 19:01

kurotsugi wrote:... I do love synaptic but I can understand why we should we avoid it as long as possible.
Why? Synaptic seems like a great GUI application to me!

I understand that it isn't as "cute & colourful" as some of the alternatives but it is very powerful and easy to use, albeit after a (very!) short learning curve. And it is fast... ;-)

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby kurotsugi » 08 Jul 2016 19:22

EDIT: yep. packagekit has it's own gui called 'gnome-packagekit'. simulation shows that the only dependency added to my system is gnome-packagekit-data. OTOH gnome-software has quite a lot added dependency.

my system is offline so I haven't installed them yet (I'm using my phone now). however, compared to gnome software, packagekit gui indeed seems very basic. I hope other can give better review about them.

@Zill: cosmetic stuff you mentioned above, and also about functionality. people used to use google and apple market so they expect that linux will give similar interface and functionality. synaptic is far from that.

example, 1. open synaptic and look for ardour, lmms, audacity. synaptic only said, it's a DAW, it's an audio editor, it's a multimedia studio. the explanation is too vague. all of them is actually a DAW, audio editor, and multimedia studio but at same time they have different functionality. none if it described on synaptic.

example 2, amarok, audacious, rythmbox, banshee, etc. none of the description would help you to decide which apps is suited to you.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Zill » 08 Jul 2016 19:29

kurotsugi wrote:... people used to use google and apple market so they expect that linux will give similar interface and functionality. synaptic is far from that.
vive la différence!
"Linux is not Google/Apple" (delete as applicable) ;-)

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Zill » 08 Jul 2016 19:46

kurotsugi: I just had a quick comparison of some of your example applications with the SolydXK Software Manager and Synaptic and both, not surprisingly, seem to show similar basic information about the package.

Apart from the pretty graphics, the Software Manager does have some reviews, which may, admittedly, be of help to some new users.

However, a user can always do a quick web search to find detailed information and comments about any particular application or functional requirement.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby kurotsugi » 08 Jul 2016 20:03

the people who using it, however, is same. please remember that we are marketing linux not only for linux fans but also for those people who use android, windows, and macs. android and chrome OS is in fact a linux and mac is our sibling from the same mother UNIX. I think we shouldn't think like that. did linus ever thought "linux is different. no need to improve my linux"? I think not. neither did any linux developer. that's why the development never stopped at certain point.

it seems that you misunderstood my words (or perhaps I'm the one who misunderstand). I'm not saying that we want to bring google app market to linux. what I meant was we need to bring the functionality in those stuff to linux as a method to improve linux. also note that I'm still a devoted user of terminal and synaptic, just like you. however, at the same time I could understand from the developer point of view that we need to improve linux.

EDIT : those are just examples. there are other case where synaptic is lack behind gnome-software or similar stuffs. my point is that those stuff can do what synaptic can do + other functionality. it's actually all benefit with no loss in term of functionality, which actually means good for us.

though, I can't stand with their speed. synaptic is still the one, at least for me :lol:

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby SolydForEver » 08 Jul 2016 20:09

Coming from Mint I must say I like the Software-manager. It starts a bit slow, waiting time after having typed the password is pretty long.

I fully agree with Grizzler on his statement about Gnome. When Gnome 3 was born I wrote an e-mail to Gnome telling them my opinion about it. The answer was that they would sue me when I continued bashing Gnome. Since then it is only KDE for me.
So, Schoelje, please don't ruin SolydK with Gnome stuff.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby ilu » 09 Jul 2016 15:31

There's 3 kind of users:

1. Those that are willing to dig a little deaper. For those synaptics is great because it's not too complicated but allows you a glimpse "behind the curtain". You can easily see which packets will get installed and you can see how repos are organized. They will know how to look up a program on the internet.

2. Those that don't administrate their own system. No problem because their admins will know how to use synaptic.

3. Those that have to be their own admins but need some kind of handholding. That's the group we are discussing here imho. For them synaptic might be unintuitive and they might be overwhelmed and not know how to choose given the short descriptions. But the software manager doesn't help them any. The descriptions are exactly the same (where should anything different come from anyway?). The total number is 70.300 packages :-)
What's worse is: informations about packages are only in the fine-print and they are wrong too. I just checked for blender and software manager tells me all packages are already installed whereas they are not. This might be a bug, I don't really care, because I think the software is useless, even dangerous for the audience I'm discussing here. It hides the important information and recommends dangerous stuff.
You'd think the ratings might help a bit in choosing but there are too few to make this a reliable source of information and some are dangerous. For example: The first thing coming up under system tools is bleachbit with a lot of positive reviews. The description tells every MSWin user that you really need this (although, under Linux, you don't) and a lot of reviews say the same. But no newbie should even consider using this.
Also, by choosing a kde or gnome software, you might accidentally drag half the desktop onto your machine without realizing. No "really sure about this long list of packages?" after clicking "Install". That could pose a practically unsolvable problem for people with older machines.
The interface of synaptic tells the user: be careful what you do and think before you click. That's good.
The SM gui tells: everything is easy-peasy just go ahead. That's bad.

My opinion: Go ahead and remove the software manager but don't replace it with anything that doesn't have clear and obvious functional advantages over synaptic. Generally XFCE people don't care much for eye candy but KDE people might.
I had a look at gnome-packagekit and it's not better, not even in the eye-candy department. Can't test Gnome Software because I can't find it in the repos. For KDE I'd think using KDE stuff is always better than gnome stuff so if apper has the necessary eye candy why not use that for KDE and only synaptic for XFCE?

Best solution for group no. 3 would be a list with selected apps (for KDE and XFCE) - we already have that in SolydXK welcome. We could add more areas and I have some ideas for improvements but I am still not able to realize them in code :oops:. Everybody who needs very specialized software searches the net anyway and then can use synaptic.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby tek10 » 14 Jul 2016 04:00

From my very early days using Linux, I've preferred researching applications via browser, then install using Synaptic over any other Software Managers. The current Software Manager works fine when I want to browse some comments and Gnome Software works fine for that as well. Seems like a reasonable replacement to me.

Synaptic should always be part of SolydXK as well.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Fargo » 15 Aug 2016 23:10

Not sure if this is still an active topic, but here is my 2 cents. As others have voiced their opinion on Gnome, I too am not to fond of Gnome. So I would rather not see it. But person bias aside, here are some other thoughts...

1) I've always used Synaptic. Its easy enough to use and just provides the info I need. However, I can see where a 2nd package manager might be nice for new users. The new KDE Discovery in Kubuntu and other KDE5 distros is very nice. KDE 5 is coming and we really need to look towards that. I think the current software manager is fine for the current release. But I expect at some point in the near future we will see Debian freeze the next release and then we can see what KDE 5 offers for software managers. As others have stated, XFCE users are tycially less concerned with eye candy and Synaptic alone might be the prefered solution on that side of the isle.

2) Regarding XFCE - Now forgive me if this is off topic. I like XFCE, I really do, but I wonder if at some point in the future SolydXK will want to consolidate the base of the two desktops more. I'm talking about Qt vs GTK apps? It seems to me it would be easier to maintain SolydXK if the 2 desktops had more in common at the base level. If that is the case, it may be wise to consider LXqt in the future instead of xfce. In which case gnome apps will become fewer and fewer.

I've been to the webpage of the whisker menu designer. https://gottcode.wordpress.com/2013/06/ ... sker-menu/ The guy who designed the xfce whisker menu prefers qt. Maybe if we ask nice he will create a qt port of whisker menu for lxqt. It seems to me lxqt on top of kwin with whisker menu would be nice setup.

I was just looking at the new OpenMandriva LX release today. They are focused on KDE, LxQt and Hawaii for their 3 desktops. I really like this trifecta for different desktop options. With the qt base under all of them it seems like an easier way to maintain different desktops on top of a consolidated base.

Sorry if I am too far off topic. I just see a constant battle between qt and gtk apps and wonder if we might be better off to consolidate at a more base level instead of trying to keep two dissimilar bases appearing the same.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby ilu » 16 Aug 2016 00:06

@fargo: A lot of people like XFCE because they don't want to have those highly integrated systems like kde or gnome, not even the systems basis. It's not just about the DE. But let's not start a general discussion over preferences. This was just about Gnome Software.

@Arjen: I tried to find out about Gnome Softwares dependecies and couldn't - it seems not to be in debians repos? While searching for dependencies I stumbled upon pages that insinuated that Gnome Software is not just a tool but some kind of store (like Google and Apple)? https://wiki.gnome.org/Design/Apps/Software? It seems to include software from outside our repos? And to support the developers installation preferences? 3rd party stuff, adding repos, cloud storage, account creating included? Such systems would soon get unsupportable (not to mention that users risk losing control over their systems). They were even discussing to claim a certain percentage of every donation made towards a programs developer. What kind of BS is that?

I might have gotten it all wrong. I can't believe this is really what you propose.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Fargo » 16 Aug 2016 00:38

ilu wrote:@fargo: A lot of people like XFCE because they don't want to have those highly integrated systems like kde or gnome, ... .
Yeah, I can appreciate that. I thought the new KD5 frameworks was more modular now than GTK. I thought you could build an even more independent system with KD5 but maybe I am wrong. Sorry to get off track.

Back to Gnome software. How does systemd play into this? Is systemd going to be so tied into gnome dependencies that all distros using systemd will eventually be compatible? Maybe that is why they feel they can create a gnome store and not worry about dependencies.

Also what about things like ubuntu snaps, flatpaks and appimage? Should we be considering these 'universal apps' things as we consider a new package manager?

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby kurotsugi » 16 Aug 2016 01:30

at same part we've discussed about what should be included in xfce suite and some of the conclusion was :
1. xfce and kde are designed towards different market. kde is for full fledged desktop user while xfce is for those who want light and small system but still usable.
2. apps in both suite could be changed if lot of user demands for it or there's a situation which needs to be addressed. this software manager case is one of the example.

in short, the apps in both suite could be changed but not the XFCE and KDE. XFCE is made with GTK but it's actually neutral (not gnome-ish or KDE-ish. it's still using the old GTK2 technology). it could be integrated with both KDE or gnome so there's no actually problem with it.
Back to Gnome software. How does systemd play into this? Is systemd going to be so tied into gnome dependencies that all distros using systemd will eventually be compatible? Maybe that is why they feel they can create a gnome store and not worry about dependencies.
systemd is already tied into gnome but it doesn't have any relation with the gnome software (maybe it haven't yet :lol:). another example would be network-manager-gnome (nm-applet) any DE could use gnome software just like they could use network-manager-gnome.
Also what about things like ubuntu snaps, flatpaks and appimage? Should we be considering these 'universal apps' things as we consider a new package manager?
we haven't discussed them yet. we haven't even discussed whether if we support them or not. the package manager obviously can't handle them so I think we need to discus them in different thread.

luckily, AFAIK appimage could be used in solydxk or any linux desktop :3

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Crewp » 16 Aug 2016 22:17

IMO only have synaptic in SolydX
And as far as SolydK, well I do not use KDE, but I have heard that KDE 5 is a big change from the last version. So there I would wait. And as suggested above, use something different there.

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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 31 Aug 2016 07:22

I've re-read this topic after a few weeks of absence and I must say that I really like the discussion.

Although Synaptics has similar functionalities, the current Software Manager is there for the new-to-Linux users that could use a little help with choosing the right software for their needs. Granted, the comments given by users are mostly of poor quality but the stars given to software is still a better indication of the software's quality then no indication at all (although I personally think that the stars only should be enough). Unfortunately, only Mint users can comment or give stars to a software package and that's my main consideration of replacing the Software Manager: it's not brand-less but branded for Linux Mint. For me, that's now a more weighing argument than its dependencies.

That said and considering your arguments I've decided to keep the Software Manager until there is a better alternative with the same functionality that is right for this target group.

On a side note: if I had to migrate all our Gtk+ applications to Qt, that would be a tremendous amount of work: http://wiki.lxde.org/en/Migrate_from_GTK%2B_to_Qt


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Re: Replace Software Manager with Gnome Software

Postby Fargo » 31 Aug 2016 19:21

Schoelje wrote: On a side note: if I had to migrate all our Gtk+ applications to Qt, that would be a tremendous amount of work: http://wiki.lxde.org/en/Migrate_from_GTK%2B_to_Qt
So whats your point. :D Haha just kidding.

I realize its a labor of love and porting everything to qt could turn that love to hate. Although, I thought everything you did was in Python. Does python use Gtk? I would never expect you to take on the project of porting other peoples programs to qt. Unless of course there were issues with the software to begin with and they were vital to SolydXK. Then it could be a consideration if that was the direction SoldyXK was going. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

What about Muon? I think it has 2 components. Muon package Manager and Muon Discoverer software center. I think discover is more like what you are looking for. I realize this is more KDE centric, so I'm not sure how it will work with SoldyX, but as discussed above, maybe SolydX users are more of the no frills type of user and prefer Synaptic...

Oh just had another thought. What about Linux Lite. It seems to me I read somewhere they have developed their own package manager and some other tools. Maybe they are worth looking into.


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