In the past articles, I have talked about applications which received lot of focus and updates. Well not all since I missed an important one which is the Ubuntu Software Center (USC). The USC is a critical component of the Ubuntu experience since it make the life of users new and experienced to Ubuntu much easier. And naturally, it has been one of the key areas of focus for the Ubuntu developers for this cycle.
Some of the features targeted were,
- Better Startup time (Landed!)
- Better integration into Unity (To land in another 2 weeks)
- Support for multiple screenshots (Landed!)
- Better application syncing between computers (Yet to land)
- Videos (Yet to land)
Better Startup Time
The startup time for USC in Oneiric was around 10-12 seconds. At present the current build of USC starts in 2 seconds. This is an improvement by almost 83% in the startup time.
Better Integration with Unity
With this release there has also been attention to Unity integration for most default applications. And USC is no exception to this. Applications which are installed through the USC are automatically added to the Unity launcher. This behavior can also be disabled with the option shown in the view menu.
In addition to this, when you start to install an application, the application icon now adds itself to the launcher with a nice sleek animation. You can look at the icon on the launcher to know its installation progress while you work on other applications. This is actual code waiting for the merge proposal to be accepted. You can however see the video posted by Bilal Akhtar, the Ubuntu developer who made this. This update is intended to available with Unity 5.8 since the merge window for Unity 5.6 is closed. Here is the video link.
Support for Multiple Screenshots
You can now see multiple screenshots of applications to get a better idea of how the application would work. This is certainly handy, however it would be better if there was an application to virtually simulate or try the application before anything is actually installed on your system.
Videos and better application syncing between computers
This is yet to land to Ubuntu Precise. However,there has been much news about this and hence can be ruled out for this for this cycle.
Other new features
The Ubuntu Software Center now shows the recommended applications based on your usage. At a fresh install of Precise, you are shown a button to show the recommended applications based on your usage. Only after pressing this button does it actually show you recommended applications. This way, you have the freedom to share or not share your application usage. You can see the recommended applications category presented in the home screen of the USC.
When you choose an application to install, the USC now shows other similar applications installed by other people. This should enhance the discovery of other new applications. You can see a screenshot of it here.
Well, I think the USC is on its way to becoming a truly professional application and becoming a key item of difference between Ubuntu and other commercial operating systems out there.