Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu Software Center (initially Ubuntu Software Store) was released with Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and it currently has only a few of the features it was designed for, being just stage 1 out of 4.

The Ubuntu Software Center is a graphical utility for package management in Ubuntu. In version 1, it builds on the basic philosophy of Add/Remove Applications with an easier-to-use design. In version 2, the primary goals are to take the place of Synaptic and apturl, and to include ratings and reviews of software.

Let's take a deeper look to what we'll have with Ubuntu Software center version 2 and more.

The features Ubuntu Software Center should bring with Lucid:

- Ratings and reviews:

ubuntu software center ratings

ubuntu software center review login

There is already work in progress for this feature which gives users the possibility to rate applications and post 'comments' (reviews). Also, everyone will be able to offer suggestions to the packages maintainers. The users will need to have a Launchpad account.

Third-party repositories packages can also offer these features (ratings and comments), but the meta data will have to be directly integrated into the packages.

- Extended functionality: Currently, you can only install applications through Ubuntu Software Center. The new version is planned to replace Synaptic (advanced package manager) and gdebi (package installation manager). To replace Synaptic, a new category will be included in the Software Center. This new category should contain packages that are not software and it may also use a more complete search engine.

- Sub-categories integration: currently, there is one a main category which is insufficient given the amount of software and packages available. For better organization, software should be divided into different sub-categories.

- History: Version 2.0 of Ubuntu Software Center could include a history of items installed, removed, updated, and otherwise changed since Ubuntu was installed. However, this wasn't scheduled so it depends on contributions by volunteers.

ubuntu software center history
(Ubuntu Software Center History mockup. More, HERE).

- Finally, The theme will also be improved and an interactive demonstration of how to launch the software you’ve just installed should be available.

Ubuntu Software Center planned changes for Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04

Ubuntu 10.10 (Stage 3):

- Provide the ability to purchase software from within the Center.
- Establish and convey a trust level for software in PPAs, and let you easily add PPAs within the Center.

Ubuntu 11.04 (Stage 4):

- Improve sharing and tracking of software within the Center. For example:
  • Overviews of installed software by license, cost, or maintenance timetable.
  • Discovering software by what your friends have installed.
  • Downloading a package once for installing on many computers.
  • Incorporating AptOnCD.
  • A visible history of past installations/removals/purchases, including the ability to undo specific changes.
- Investigate and, if appropriate, implement specialized interfaces for browsing and installing particular classes of package (fonts, screensavers, etc).

And this is how Ubuntu Software Center should look like after stage 4 (well, more or less):

Ubuntu Software Center 4.0

However, it seems that Stage 4 is not the last one, as mpt points out in a comment (thanks!).

And a final note: the Ubuntu wiki states that "The version shipped in Ubuntu 10.04 should be at least 2.0." so we may see a newer Ubuntu Software Center version (meaning more features) in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

What do you think about the upcoming Ubuntu Software Store features? Would you do things differently? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

Credits / Further reference:

Logithèque Ubuntu et Lucid Lynx (French)
Ubuntu Wiki
Thanks to the additional info from mpt.