Thursday, January 04, 2007

Spoiled on Synaptic

Thinking a bit more about my post yesterday on why I can't ever think of switching to Vista, one reason genuinely comes up tops in my list: Synaptic. I don't just mean the Synaptic interface, though, but the whole infrastructure to which it is a front-end to. That includes Ubuntu and Debian repositories and the Advanced Packaging Tool.

With Synaptic, almost all the essential applications that I need are just a click away. There's hardly any need for me to search through the web for appropriate packages or the required libraries. Synaptic takes care of downloading and configuring the software. After that, the software is ready for use, no reboots necessary.

Synaptic is to Ubuntu/Debian as iTunes is to the iPod.

This seems to be the most sensible way of managing software. Before, I'd have to get the software on CD and run the installer (whether Redhat Package Manager or InstallShield, it doesn't matter). Inevitably, something breaks.

Synaptic is by no means perfect, but it works for me 99% of the time.

Even Microsoft ought to be able to pick up a thing or two from Synaptic. Instead of distributing the software via CD or individual Internet downloads, why not retrieve all the necessary software from secure servers and manage everything from one single console?


  1. That's right, with repositories, you can add even commercial software, like what we currently have in Ubuntu. However, we still consider Synaptic as a power user tool, that's why Gnome-App-Install exists, although, you can say it is definitely a (simple) frontend for a (more complex) frontend.

  2. What can I say? I'm a power-user! ;-)

  3. I see a loophole on this though; it'll be like video game publishers fighting for shelf space - everyone wants to be at the front row since everyone thinks their product is essential, making a new kind of business for MS: premium repository space and exposure ;-)

  4. Well, there's that. The commercial/promotional consideration is bound to screw something up.

    However, the Ubuntu/Debian repositories seem to get along swimmingly on a more egalitarian terms, even for its 17,000 applications.