Finding New Software in openSUSE: A New Way?

Amid the bad news of the openSUSE forums getting hit by an invader, came some potentially great news for future openSUSE users. Being the eternal optimist, I want to focus on the good stuff. Perhaps that begins by mentioning that the openSUSE forums are back up and running.

Earlier last week, longtime openSUSE developer Roger Luedecke proposed a new, more user-friendly “app store” for getting new software on openSUSE systems. Noting that the distribution already has a “halfway solution” to the problem of discovering and installing software on openSUSE at download.opensuse.org, Luedecke goes on to say (emphasis mine):

However, there are a number of areas where this interface falls short. The most glaring can be that often the applications lack a description or have one so short as to be nearly useless. Another significant point is the lack of user reviews. Reviews help flesh out things that may be missed in a description, as well as provide tips at a glance on what the new user should expect. I believe reviews would be reasonably easy to implement in the current domain, and getting more robust descriptions should not be terribly difficult.

Yet Another Shopping Cart?

Another problem with the current Download setup is that you have to find and run install packages one at a time. Luedecke believes (and I hope he’s right) that openSUSE could allow users to create a ‘cart’ to select a bunch of packages and then check out. The software would then package everything in the cart, downloading and installing it all with one set of confirmations. This would make installing new stuff from the web as easy as installing packages with the Zypper command line interface, or the YaST software management module.

YaST 2.12.27-2
YaST 2.12.27-2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good descriptions also simplifies the search for high-quality replacements. If it were up to me, I’d add an “Alternative to” field to the description, so people looking for a Photoshop replacement could easily find The GIMP (perhaps a lame, obvious example, but you know what I mean). The AlternativeTo site could offer a database to pluck from.

Reading through the comments on this post, you’ll find some responses from those resistant to change, but I really hope this happens in a reasonable time frame. Will keep an eye on this in the meantime.

Comment Fodder

If you’re a Linux user (of any distro): How do you discover and try out new free/open source software? Does your distribution make it easy to get new stuff that meets your changing needs?

If you don’t use Linux now: Do you worry that you won’t be able to find the type of software you need? Have you been frustrated when trying to find a replacement for your favorite application? Anything else holding you back?

 

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Big Linux Day: openSUSE 13.1 and Ubuntu Dev Summit

Tux, the Linux penguin
Tux, the Linux penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy to report that I’m typing this little missive from my freshly updated Firefox web browser on openSUSE Linux 13.1. While I do that, the YaST Software Management module is busily adding an array of new software from community repositories located all over the globe. As I’ve noted 1000 times before (most recently in this post), YaST stands for Yet another Setup Tool, and remains the most wonderful thing about openSUSE.

Release News

Here are the inevitable set of links:

And here’s your download link

Meanwhile, Ubuntu Developers Meet Virtually

While most of the excitement may have surrounded the new openSUSE release, Ubuntu developers gathered around their computers for the November Ubuntu Developers Summit (UDS). I missed most of Mark Shuttleworth’s opening keynote, but hope to catch up with it later. It appears that he took some probing questions from attendees (when I came in to the feed, Shuttleworth was “denying the premise behind your question;” but I don’t know what the question was.) You can see the video (link above) at the UDS site.

I also lurked at the Documentation team round-table, where some planning got done. I will likely have more to report on this in the coming days. The Summit goes through Thursday.

Got questions about openSUSE, or Ubuntu Touch? Always happy to answer them here. Have you attended a developers conference (or hear Shuttleworth ranting)? Feel free to share your experiences!

Another Sunday Grab Bag

It’s been a slightly weird weekend, and I don’t have anything specific to talk about. So here are some random thoughts and descriptions.

Storifying the openSUSE Summit

The openSUSE Project logo
The openSUSE Project logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was fun! I curated every Twitter post and G+ reference to “openSUSE” all weekend, and made a story of it here. Sadly, I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with tweets to choose from. Perhaps the wi-fi wasn’t that good. I hope next year, they can stream it!

Indirectly, the summit also put me into Twitter a lot more this weekend than in the recent past. Upside: There’s always so much to assimilate, and fun to have.

Monday is the release date for openSUSE 13.1. Watch for the announcement here, and then go get it.

New shoes and jeans

My wife took me shopping yesterday. I think she had more fun. My work shoes have pretty much worn out, so I got a new pair, plus a belt and four pairs of jeans (buy one, get one half-off) at Kohl’s. It had to be done, but it took too long.

Making Real Progress on the book

It’s still not quite ready, because I keep adding things that readers need to know, but my to-do list tells me I’m around 90% done with Chapter 9. Perhaps I’ll finish the app developer chapter in time for the Ubuntu Developers Summit this week!

April in November: Weather in the Midwest

Yes it rained pretty much all weekend here in Milwaukee. Thankfully, we avoided the worst of it (kind thoughts to folks in Illinois and elsewhere with tornadoes and such), but I missed getting to walk outside!

Quite a team that Omidyar and Greenwald are assembling

173
Jay Rosen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cast of media reformers that are banding together to create a new media gained another Big Name today: Jay Rosen of New York University and the PressThink blog. I haven’t read this thing through yet, but everything I hear builds my excitement for this project.

Maybe there was something else to talk about, but seems right to quit here. Hope you all had a nice, restful and/or productive weekend.

Big Week for openSUSE in North America

Geekos!

Your humble scribe is slightly exhausted as the week comes to a close, but I note these items with great joy: