Friday, September 16, 2011

Installing Synaptic in Ubuntu Oneiric - Will you need it?

One of the controversial changes (there are many others also) in Ubuntu Oneiric was the removal of Synaptic Package Manager, one of the most powerful GUI package managers for Debian based distributions. While Ubuntu Software Center has improved a great deal with the recent releases, it still can't handle all the jobs that can be done easily by using Synaptic.

Why Synaptic is a better choice

Well, this simple list of tasks that can be done by Synaptic additionally compared to USC is all I have got to say:
  1. Fix Broken Packages
  2. Lock Package Versions (there might be a few packages that you don't ever want to upgrade, e.g. Grub in case of Wubi installs)
  3. Custom Filters for different kinds of packages
  4. Package Upgrades (both online and offline)
  5. Package Reinstallations
  6. Sort Packages by Status (e.g. automatically installed, manually installed, residual config, etc.)
Even the Section (category) wise sorting of packages in Synaptic is far better than Ubuntu Software Center, even though that is the main thing USC has been focusing on.

What Synaptic can't do

Synaptic misses at least one feature from USC and that is: It doesn't yet support purchasing paid software from the repositories. However, this feature might not be coming any time soon to Synaptic as it is Ubuntu specific, whereas Synaptic isn't an Ubuntu specific software.

Installing Synaptic in Oneiric

Synaptic is still in the official repositories - as many other apps not included by default -, so either search Ubuntu Software Center for 'Synaptic Package Manager' and install it or get to a Terminal and run:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Once installed, you can search the Dash for 'Synaptic' and start it, or go through the menu in classic Gnome as usual.

Related Posts:

Installation , Oneiric Ocelot , Package Manager