It’s almost half a year since the last major release of Ubuntu Tweak. In the 0.7.x release, I polished the UI of Ubuntu Tweak, and also brought back the App Center & Source Center that you miss.
Installing and managing apps are really common tasks for an utility tool like Ubuntu Tweak. that’s why I brought it back and continue to work on it.
Now in Ubuntu Tweak 0.8, a new exciting thing is introduced: the “Apps”, combination of App Center & Source Center.
Apps In the Old Days
Back to 4 years ago, when Ubuntu Tweak was in version 0.3.4, I first introduced the “Add/Remove” to let you install the most commonly used apps, and the “Third Party Software Sources” to let you use the most commonly used sources.
If you’re an experienced user of Ubuntu Tweak, you may still remember this screenshot
And this one is the “Third Party Software Sources”, really simple.
After years of development, the “Add/Remove” has become the “App Center”, and the “Third Party Software Sources” has become the “Source Center”. both of them support syncing data from the remote server, keeping the data always up-to-date without updating Ubuntu Tweak itself.
This is Source Center now, in Ubuntu Tweak 0.7.3.
But, it still has a lot of problems:
- Not easy to use: you have to enable the source, update the cache, then install the updated app;
- Not always up-to-date: due to the lack of my maintenance work, it is not always up-to-date and some sources are out of date.
So, I need to redesign this feature, to make it easier to use, and also make it the best place to install the latest and coolest apps for Ubuntu.
Now, Ubuntu Tweak 0.8 is coming, the first step to achieve this goal.
Apps in Ubuntu Tweak 0.8
Open the Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.0, you will get the changes immediately, the “Apps” tab is the place where you will play with the apps, the apps that are not possible to install from Ubuntu Software Center, or not the latest version in Ubuntu Software Center.
When you enter the Apps tab, you will see the interface like this. Left side is the categories for app, and the right side is the app icons. Click the target category or app you want to operate, like “Google Chrome Stable” (The stable version of Google Chrome)
Next, you will see a simple page with the basic information of Google Chrome Stable and a source and a “Not Available” button.
So what’s this? It means, Google Chrome is not available in Ubuntu official repository, and you have to enable the “Google Chrome Official Source”, then you can install it.
Now check the “Google Chrome Official Source” box, then the “Not Avaiable” button will become “Update”, click it, the next step is what you expect to happen: update the source and install Google Chrome for you.
If you try to update an app which is already installed, the operation is the same way: enable the source and click on the update button. Like the Chromium Browser, you have to choose to install a development version or a stable version, rather than the out dated version in Ubuntu repository.
Yeah, that’s all. Isn’t it easy and simple to use? Although it is still not perfect and there’s also much space to improve, you won’t need to open terminal again to install the apps now after the combination of “App Center” and “Source Center”.
And, this is totally “an online feature”. It means, if you don’t have Internet connection, you will not be able to use this feature. On other side, every time you use it, it is new. You don’t have to sync the data manually, you can just forget this task.
By now, you can still use the old App Center and Source Center in Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.0, use Source Center to purge the source and downgrade the apps, until all the features are ready in the new Apps.
The “Apps” in Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.0 is still the early implemented version after planning for a long time. It has a lot of problems yet:
- It is too simple so that you can only install one app for one time;
- It currently only supports English;
- There’s still no way to vote, to report broken apps/sources;
But just like others thing I’ve done before, when in Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.1, 0.8.2 and 0.9, until 1.0…, everything will be ready.
I hope you understand and help me to make Ubuntu Tweak better.
Download and try Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.0
Do remember that Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.0 is not fully adapted to Ubuntu 12.10, so there may be some issues when you try it under 12.10 for tweaking something.
Here’s deb link:
And the release notes.