Add a link to synaptic in software boutique



I’m not sure if search functions will be added to the Mate software boutique. In my case, I’ve been using Ubuntu for quite a while, and I was already familiar with synaptic package manager. New users wont have that familiarity. Sure, they could go online, but they might not even know the correct terms to search.

what if there was a statement, or something at the bottom of the list that said “Cant find what you’re looking for? click here to get synaptic (or whatever) package manager, and search for it!”

The people that are going to find a GUI boutique package manager most useful (IMHO) aren’t going to just search apt via the command line.

Why Doesn’t Mate 16.04 come with a complete package manager?


There is a search function in the Software Boutique - look for the magnifier icon upper right.

Synaptic is included in the boutique listed in the “More Software” category


Hi @leoh_Jones, This is purely for the discussion aspect of this topic.

As a fellow synaptic user I hesitate to send new users anywhere near it unless it gets some serious work. And I don’t mean things like Mint crippling synaptic for experienced users trying to prevent new users from hurting themselves within the Mint scheme of package management.

I mean… have you noticed synaptic now has more bugs than the Amazon and seems to be getting worse with each incarnation?

Heck, I have to maintain a backup of /root/.synaptic/filters so when the filter editor corrupts it, I don’t have to create it from scratch. :rage:

Just my thoughts. Highly opinionated of course. :grin:


My experience with Synaptic has not uncovered any bugs. Would you mind sharing what bugs you’ve discovered?


Hi Bill,

I have to say I have used Synaptic for many years and never ever have had a problem with it!.

I do agree with you about Linux Mint though, they deliberately make it hard for the beginner so they don’t hurt themselves I suppose?. :smiley:


Hi @pfeiffep, I should maintain a list sometime. Just off top of my head…

In that left pane, select Origin. Examine the list from any place and notice occasional duplicate entries, 2, 4 times is common. They all have them but I see LP-PPA… particularly bad.

I’m trying to remember the package I was seeking just the other day. “Search” refused to find it by exact name yet it was there. It may come to me.

Quick Filter goes funny when in or changing out of the xapian index “Rebuilding…” mode. I’ve noticed only restarting synaptic gets it in sync again.

I already mentioned custom filters going ape - the editor corrupts that file and a whole bunch take on the filter of the last one edited. Trying to fix the corrupted filters makes it worse. I have to restore that backup I made.

Typical of the little but complex things. Don’t follow through, of course. Here goes…

Custom Filters “All” (but Origin “All” does it too).
Quick Filter enter: apm
Select libapm-dev, right-click “Mark For Installation”
Dialog window comes up “Mark additional required changes?”
Look at the background list in the main synaptic window - it changed!
Some do, some don’t. Didn’t used to do that.


Hmmmmm!, maybe I don’t use it as extensively as you Bill!. :slight_smile: It seems to do all I require of it though!. :smiley:


Possibly I don’t notice any problems is because I don’t use “Quick Filter”

Concerning duplicate entries using the Origin - each of my entries is a bit different


Here’s what I see:

The duplicates are packages. Like 4 x atril-common. Of course I’m curious if you see same. :relaxed:


On the subject of bugs, I’ve noticed opening Synaptic starts using a lot of CPU “nice” usage for xapian index re-building itself. Not sure why. :thinking:

As mentioned by @pfeiffep, the Boutique does have Synaptic under More Software . It also states the “Can’t find what you’re looking for” in the last paragraph on the first page that appears that advises where more software can be acquired. :heavy_check_mark:

The Software Boutique does have a search function (in the latest update opt-in) but only for the software within the Boutique. This isn’t designed as a replacement software centre / package manager.

Instead, it’s supposed to be easy for new users who just want the “best” variety of programs that work well in Ubuntu MATE. Originally there was Ubuntu Software Center, but I’m sure a lot will agree it was quite a hog, slow and lacked most desired stuff like Steam, Google Chrome, Skype without having to enable things tucked away in other areas.

I mentioned in your other thread that 16.10 may introduce the ability to search packages in the archives, kind of like Synaptic but much simpler. This isn’t a guaranteed feature, just an idea.



As the Ubuntu Software Centre is in decline I think it would be useful to point users to synaptic as an alternative. However, a new user would find synaptic somewhat dificult I imagine, so something like a pop-up window with a brief “how-to guide” might be worth considering.

I know some users do not care too much for the Ubuntu Software Centre. I owe it a lot.

Link to some of the programs I found via the Ubuntu Software Centre.

At the begining I spent countless hours going through the different software packages, reading the reviews, sometimes following up on tipps to consider using another program instead (that’s how I found out about “radiotray”). Synaptic has two major drawbacks for a beginer; some of the package names are non-intuitive and there are no reviews to guide a new user in making a choice.

Nonetheless, if you install something via synaptic it almost always works well afterwards. :relaxed:


Hi Bill,

your list looks nothing like mine?, do you have duplicate and/or 3rd party PPA’s?:


I can see that too, but I always ignored it, because I never install from the list in the origin pane. If I need to look at the origin filter for some reason, I just take note of the package name and then perform a search on it.

Other than filtering by Origin, I can’t see that behavior anywhere else. Synaptic remains the one stop for Linux software installation and perhaps to this date arguably one of the best Debian applications ever developed.

Synaptic is a solid and essential tool for computer management and frankly I always feel a bit sad (i’ll confess sometimes even angry) when it is referenced as an advanced tool that newcomers should stay away from. The result is that statement instills fear, and so when the so-called inexperienced user wishes to install some software not available in whatever software showcase application their distro offers, they end up doing it in the worst possible way; by downloading any available binaries from the developer website. Add this is especially true of prior Windows users. Many problems today happen because of software that wasn’t properly installed because it didn’t go through the APT infrastructure in the user computer. I should know; I lived through it when I first started on Linux.

Synaptic needs and deserves a better reputation. It is not as advanced as it is claimed and it is an easy application to explain and understand. On top of that it is brilliantly designed because its advanced features and well hidden away and are not essential for everyday use. A newcomer can acquire the necessary knowledge to make use of Synaptic in just a couple of hours. If that much. Really!

Synaptic needs to be pushed forward, not hidden away. A whole lot of exploratory opportunities of the good software for Linux out there is lost if we keep proclaiming synaptic shouldn’t be a beginner’s tool. I can understand the rationale behind not having it pre-installed on Ubuntu-MATE, but I don’t agree with it. Besides, there’s far more damaging tools on the terminal and on the GUI that we could even consider non-essential that are nonetheless installed on first run.

Being “user-friendly” is something that we (the linux community as a whole) should tone down a little and rethink. Because I fear we have moved away from a genuine and valid principle by starting to incorporate other aspects that have nothing to do with user-friendliness. There is more to the word “complexity” than just a blanket admission that it doesn’t belong in a user-friendly environment. That’s too simplistic of a notion and reductionist. Many times complexity fits in a user-friendly environment and is in fact desirable. By removing Synaptic, a user has in fact a lesser user-friendly environment from which he can instantly explore and install Linux software in a convenient and easy way.

My 13 cents


We’re talking slightly apples and oranges. I would love every new user to use synaptic. I’m saying it’s not ready because it slipped backward in recent years from, IMHO, distro integration updates creating bugs. The original site hasn’t been updated since 2009 ( ) so I’m sure it’s completely maintained by distro teams. The original was very polished but that’s long gone.

This doesn’t keep me from using it, searchable history is well worth the trouble, but I’m also sad its previous stability just isn’t there. Trying to remember some bugs it only crashed 2 times when switching modes.

Since I use synaptic as my view of the software AND repositories, things like the multiple entries are very sad. My use of Custom Filters is probably more than most, despite having to fix config corruption now and then.

Thanks for your 13 cents, I read every word, I’m a cheapskate at about 5 cents. :relaxed:

@wolfman, Take a peek at my synaptic screenshot. You need to select “Origins” and one of the locations as shown. Not “Sections” and not “All”.


My mistake, @Bill_MI. I actually included that as a side note and not meant as a direct reply to you. Only the first part of the post was a direct reply and I should have made the separation more obvious. My apologies.

The original site hasn’t been updated since 2009 ( ) so I’m sure it’s completely maintained by distro teams. The original was very polished but that’s long gone.

It is still being actively maintained. There’s been three pushes this year; 2 code maintenance pushes and 1 bug fix. However the source code is under Bazaar versioning and it seems the team doesn’t follow a release cycle. Everything is pushed to the development branch. The last “release” was in 2005, however there’s been countless fixes to the source code since then. So I think distributors just pull the development version from the repo. (source:

You are right though that some distributors may apply their own patches to the pulled version. If you take a look at the top contributors, they are all distro maintainers of one type or another. (source:

However that duplication we see on the Origin filter (I cannot speak of the other bugs you’ve found), I’m pretty sure doesn’t happen for instance in Mint at least until 17.2 or Debian stable, IIRC. So it may be that we are looking at an Ubuntu-MATE specific problem, and it would be perhaps worth filling a bug report.


Hi @Bill_MI,

yes!, I now see what you mean!: :confused: