Synaptic is the graphical front-end that was created to use the powerful, command-line tool called “apt-get”. “apt-get” was originally created by the Debian community, designed to handle the “.deb” archive format for installing/un-installing packages in Debian or Debian based GNU/Linux distributions.
In my experience there aren’t that many who can be as powerful (extremely stable) as “apt-get” is. But for ease of use they came up with the Synaptic and it’s also one of the most widely used package managers by almost all the Debian based distributions.
Since Ubuntu is based on Debian, from the beginning Synaptic was included by default. But starting with Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, Ubuntu developers came up with a highly simplified package manager called “Ubuntu Software Center”.
Time passed by (like 2 years) and slowly the USC underwent few UI changes, until recently Canonical decided to completely remove it from their standard ISO disc image starting with Ubuntu 11.10 (which was released few hours ago). But luckily it’s still in the official repositories thus you can easily install it nonetheless.
You can install Synaptic in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot by using the below command in your Terminal window.
sudo apt-get install synaptic
Concerning the “birth” of USC, I do remember Mark Shuttleworth saying recently (can’t remember where, in a recent interview) that other than selling Ubuntu (yikes :P) he has other ways of monetizing it and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
They have a solid Cloud-based infrastructure, Ubuntu certified computers… now USC with third party developers and their commercial products. I don’t know how it’ll affect us, say 10-15 years from now… but right now it seems “OK” and somewhat innocent. (Seriously, Canonical has to pay the developers, one way or the other) .
Anyhow, concerning, USC, this is un-achievable for Canonical with Synaptic standing on their way. So I guess they started creating a whole new package manager with a completely new UI which was called Ubuntu Software Center.
It still has long way to go, because it still needs somewhat more system resources to perform its tasks, not as fast as Synaptic etc. But with the Ubuntu 11.10 introduction … well they’ve done some major improvements to it.
I don’t think this is the only reason but I guess that a “success” (in a business module for instance) in any given situation is measured by its ability to act as a “part” that helps people to achieve their desired identity rather than to become the identity itself.
For instance, a drummer thinks he’s all special and awesome. So does the base dude (or the dudie 🙂 ), Guitar geek, the organist, the singer etc. They all “submit” to each other and work in collaboration … the “peace” continues. Because to each, others identity is not a threat, in fact, others are actually helping him/her to become who he/she wants to be.
The problem arise if the drummer wants to become a singer or vise versa. Because when it becomes hard to “become” … we become vicious and refuse to submit. So we fight.
So, for our little “Ubuntu band” to continue and mark their existence, they have to get rid of the hackers. Because they’re the usual complainers… “Ubuntu did that!, gonna do this!, freedom at threat, people!” etc (In a way they have all the right in the world, after all, it’s their baby 🙂 ).
The easiest way to do this is to design an extremely user-friendly OS, lots of features, less and less commands-line usages… and to arrive at a place where “hackers” are completely out of their element. Meaning that they no longer can type a command and feel powerful, it would only make them look stupid because now there’s an “awesome” GUI for that instead of the Command-line.
But I think that if we want to achieve real free… fr… the … “hey, wha was I talking about again?”…