Solving the .desktop problem in Gnome-App-Install

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Solving the .desktop problem in Gnome-App-Install

Robert Stoffers
Hi all,

The Docteam just had a meeting were we discussed how we would write
about installing Ubuntu packages in our documentation for Dapper.
Currently there are several methods of installing packages in Ubuntu,
and depending on what we write about we cannot just use
Gnome-App-Install as a one stop shop without limiting our scope. The
problem then will be forking of our work and another Ubuntuguide.org
appearing, which is a situation we want to avoid.

To solve this problem we believe Gnome-App-Install needs a way of
installing packages that do not include a .desktop file. The solution
does not need to be complicated, a simple dialogue box that allows the
user to enter the package names then uses apt-get/synaptic/etc in the
background would suffice, the user can just copy and paste the package
names from our docs into this dialogue box to install them.

We also realise that Synaptic is available from within Gnome-App-Install
by clicking on Advanced but it is hardly an ideal solution.
Gnome-App-Install is an excellent application, however this small
addition would make Gnome-App-Install so much more useful and cause
package management in Ubuntu to be easier to deal with.

Regards,

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Robert Stoffers
Author/Maintainer - Ubuntu Starter Guide
Ubuntu Documentation Team

Email - rstoffers at g mail dot com



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Re: Solving the .desktop problem in Gnome-App-Install

Matthew East
On Sat, 2005-11-05 at 12:02 +1000, Robert Stoffers wrote:

> To solve this problem we believe Gnome-App-Install needs a way of
> installing packages that do not include a .desktop file. The solution
> does not need to be complicated, a simple dialogue box that allows the
> user to enter the package names then uses apt-get/synaptic/etc in the
> background would suffice, the user can just copy and paste the package
> names from our docs into this dialogue box to install them.

I'd like to support this idea: if gnome-app-install is to be the primary
or only package manager available from the menus, it is very important
that users who wish to install a package without a .desktop file (for
example gstreamer0.8-mad from universe) are not forced to search
gnome-app-install first, then go to advanced and search synaptic, but
can do one easy search which saves them this waste of time. It's a small
feature addition to GAI, but would ensure that GAI is actually a
realistic default package manager.

From a documentation point of view, it is absolutely impossible to
document anything useful without either (a) recommending the user to use
synaptic all the time, or (b) the implementation of something along the
lines of what Rob has suggested.

To give an example, if you check out
http://help.ubuntu.com/starterguide/C you'll see that where the guide
recommends the user to install a particular package, it will almost
always be a package without a desktop file. You will readily appreciate
that going through every application to see if it can be installed from
GAI is difficult. Not to mention the fact that recommending users to
install specific packages using different methods is incredibly
inelegant.

Hope this makes sense!
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