KDE Software Installer - alternative package management for Kubuntu/Debian

Adept is the graphical package management program included with Kubuntu, which is also available for Debian and other Linux distributions that use the apt package management system.

While Adept does the job for most software management tasks, it isn't exactly the quickest application when it comes to starting up.

KDE Software Installer is an alternative program for installation of applications from the Debian and Ubuntu repositories. I thought I would put it through its paces briefly.

I downloaded the .deb file for Kubuntu Hardy Heron, and double-clicked it to install. Once installed, it goes into the System category on your K menu, and is labelled as Add/Remove Applications (much like the GNOME version of Ubuntu's default package installer).

Installing the new software installer

It does not replace the Add/Remove Programs entry, however, on the root of the K menu, which still launches the standard Adept installer. This could potentially be a little confusing as to which program is which.

Once you have got the new App Installer launched, the interface looks like the following screenshot.

Main screen of KDE Software Installer

Compared to the standard Adept installer, it is slightly simpler and more compact. Unlike with Adept, the categories on the left in the new program fit nice and neatly even at small window sizes, which makes the application feel less cluttered.

In addition, many of the more advanced options that Adept offers, including editing the Sources list are hidden, making it more suitable for newbies and people that don't want to have to think about the details of what they are doing.

The categories on the left instantly show their contents and the speed claims over Adept Installer seem to be founded in my experience. Launching the application is quick enough that you don't notice, and there is no long wait to load in software information and populate the interface.

To make it even quicker, this program also supports minimising to a tray icon. The little green arrow in the interface makes the application disappear, all but for a rocket tray icon, which you click to restore. I'm not entirely convinced that having this hiding functionality is really necessary or particularly useful, but it does work as advertised.

Enough about the interface - how well does it actually do the job of installing packages?

Ticking a program in the list to install makes its entry highlight in green.

Green highlight on app tick

Clicking the Apply Changes button then shows you a handy preview of all the changes you've queued before allowing you to kick off the download and installation.

Unfortunately, the application's handling of getting administrator rights to do the installation is poor at best currently. After you OK the download, the application window turns into a giant terminal with the standard sudo prompt in it. Users that have used sudo before will know what to do, but for newbies (which this application up until this point does a great job at catering for) may be a little intimidated by the geekiness of it all.

There's also no graphical progress beyond this point - you literally now watch the result of command-line apt.

Command line apt inside a GUI window

Once the normal installation process is done, you are prompted to press Enter and then return back to the app. There's a distinct lack of positive visual confirmation here.

If the installation process were as simple and pretty as the selection of packages, this alternative software installer would be perfect for newbies who don't want or need to know the intricacies of Debian package management to install stuff.

Don't get me wrong - it's still a great program if you want a graphical interface to apt with less cruft and aren't scared by the scrolling text. If you currently use Adept, but are frustrated with its far-from-quick operating speed, it's great.

I just think that with some work, this could be a great program for making the process of installing software packages that little bit more friendly.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold - http://peter.upfold.org.uk/

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: KDE Software Installer - alternative package management for Kubuntu/Debian

  1. xadras (guest)

    # Posted on 09 May 2008 at 06:21 PM

    In the new version 0.5 there is a full grapical installer/remover

  2. Міша (guest)

    # Posted on 24 January 2009 at 04:01 PM

    Many words, but none of them identifies the actual NAME of the program. How do I start it up, if I am not in front of the machine and can't navigate through the K-menu?

  3. someoneee (guest)

    # Posted on 30 December 2009 at 09:14 AM

    also, the link is broken, so i am not able to download it. and on http://linux.wuertz.org i cannot see that this app is mentioned.

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