The Ubuntu MATE community has had this discussion several times. I’ve never shipped Synaptic by default and here’s why:
- It is a power user tool. Power users already know it exists and how to install it.
- Synaptic is bewildering to users familiar with the App Store paradigm where they just search for software and install it. Why does anyone running Android or iOS care what the app dependencies are? Users just want to know if the app is any good and install it.
We created Ubuntu MATE Welcome and the Software Boutique at a time when the Ubuntu Software Center was default. We shipped Ubuntu Software Center until Ubuntu MATE Welcome was a viable replacement. Ubuntu MATE Welcome and the Software Boutique are now part of our “unique selling point”. It is hard work maintaining and developing software of this nature.
I do not recommend you adopt Ubuntu MATE Welcome or Software Boutique for 18.04. Other distros and flavours have expressed interest in doing the same and right now we are decoupling the Software Boutique from Welcome and will add the ability to “white label” it. Until that exists, both are hardcoded for Ubuntu MATE.
You can ship
gdebi for people who download debs, it works well and it was updated to support PolicyKit during 17.10. You’ll also need to update your default mime types via
defaults.list to make it the default handler for
There are several advantages to GNOME Software, and Software Boutique needs to catch up in a couple of regards.
- It is seeing significant development both upstream and by Canonical, which will ease your support burden. And trust me, be prepared for the support overload and look for ways to mitigate that as much as possible early on.
- GNOME Software via the Ubuntu Software meta package is tightly integrated into the Ubuntu platform.
- Software can be installed from the archive and bundled apps such as Snap and FlatPak.
- GNOME Software supports bios and firmware updates, and this is quite simply brilliant IMO.
I agree with @popey and his comments about retaining the well understood Ubuntu Unity experience, to some extent. I think you should evaluate what direction you want to take the project in and gather feedback from your user community about what they’d like to see.
But, don’t make drastic changes upfront for your first release. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you to stitch this new flavour together. You are effectively inheriting a working OS, your focus should be on re-delivering that OS.
I feel you’re putting the cart before the horse a bit. First order of business is get your seeds and meta packages in order. Get Ubuntu Unity in the official build infrastructure. Make sure your developers apply (and get) Per Package Upload rights.
Decisions about themes, software centers and default apps (while extremely good fun) should wait until you’ve got the flavour building ️
The fewer things you change for 18.04 the easier it will be for you. This is a lesson learned from Ubuntu MATE. Our first two releases were really about getting the platform defined, we didn’t focus on carving out features that gave Ubuntu MATE it’s character until 15.10.
Do not misconstrue my comments as pouring water on your enthusiasm. I’m very excited about this project and really want to see it succeed. So my comments are offered in an effort to assist your success