Suggestion: Change Software Boutique to Third-Party Software Boutique and install ubuntu-software(gnome-software) by default

This suggestion is for Ubuntu MATE 17.10 or the future 18.04. Ubuntu-software (gnome-software) is the default software application in the many editions (Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu, Lubuntu). It would be nice to have it installed by default and use Ubuntu MATE’s Software Boutique only for Third-Party applications that are not available in Ubuntu’s Repositories (skype, viber, chrome, wire, caffeine-ng, etc…) or software which isn’t shown in gnome-software (like ubuntu-restricted-extras).

I know that Software Boutique has come a lot way and this is kinda of a step back, but there are those advantages that I can think of this change:

  1. Gnome-software is as user friendly as Software Boutique
  2. It contains most of the GUI available applications
  3. It supports snap packages, which are quite a few from what I’m seeing at my 17.10 installation (I’m seen that software-boutique has some efforts for snap support, but it seems like dual unneeded effort).
  4. It actually works now that the maintainers are making use of PackageKit instead of the broken apt hacks that they were doing until now (I’m not an expert, but that’s my understanding from what I’ve seen in artful-proposed changes, but I could be wrong).
  5. Removing software that is shown in gnome-software from Software Boutique is needed because the duality is really bad thing, especially for new users. I’m not really comfortable to recommend Ubuntu MATE to new users, because I have to explain them that they need first to look for applications in Software Boutique and if they don’t find it there, then they need to install gnome-software and search there (or use terminal) which seems really confusing.
  6. It can install deb packages, so no need for Gdebi anymore.

I know that the purpose of Software Boutique isn’t to include all software, but just a few of the most used/needed. However, when Software Boutique started, no one could have guessed that gnome-software would be such a success (used both by Fedora as default and almost every Ubuntu flavor). So, I believe that Software Boutique’s purpose needs to change to something more like Third-Party installer (I believe similar approach have some other distros like sparky linux which has a Third-Party software installer for additional software which doesn’t exist on Debian, if I remember correctly).

I would be glad to do some Pull Requests for software and open an Issue for additional discussion at the project: ( when it’s ready and has enough info so that I can understand how I can contribute. But, I thought that it’s better to create this forum topic first, in order to know what is the approach/end-goal/vision that you have for Software-Boutique. Tell me what you think.



I like it just the way it is. :slight_smile:


If you were to look at the default audio/video player… it’s only purpose is to playback media… that could be replaced quite easily and argued “yet another media player??”. In the case of a software manager, Software Boutique is the unique star attraction of Ubuntu MATE, going one step further to personally recommend applications that work well and cater for a variety of people and interests, as opposed to just providing a utility for searching/installing software. These are different visions even though at face value, they just list and install software.

(That said, I haven’t used GNOME Software so I can’t comment on how well it does at discovering applications)

The advantages are valid for the current “stable” Welcome/Boutique, but this is changing in the 17.10 cycle by adding in those desired features:

  • Searching the archive outside the curated collection. #5
  • Support snaps, and others (maybe web apps?) in future. #3

It may look like duplication, but under the hood, they are just utilising the same libraries (PackageKit, Snapd, etc) but its front-ends and toolkits is what stands them apart. As Software Boutique is in-house, there’s less chance of surprise if upstream decide to change something that we (the community) didn’t like. :slight_smile:

Implementation of snaps within Software Boutique (“2.0”) was also advantageous at the last Snappy Sprint as some key bugs were uncovered in glib-snap that affected Xenial. These were fixed that week. Also at the event, there was a Fedora packager who expressed interest in Software Boutique potentially being branded for Fedora distros, as PackageKit does supports RPM and they’re not entirely a fan of GNOME Software.

aptdaemon might be what you’re referring to here. This backend is obsolete in Debian (Software Boutique uses this at the moment) and it’s planned to be dropped in the 17.10 - 18.04 cycle… so it’s got to go!

TL;DR, I think Software Boutique will stay, it’s bespoke to Ubuntu MATE :slight_smile: I do see where you’re coming from though.


This answer covered it all :slight_smile:

I hope that you succeed with that vision of Software Boutique! I will be watching the development process!

1 Like

I, too, would like the ability to replace the current Software Boutique by a Third-Party software, especially since it currently doesn't seems able to install Flatpak. (And I usually prefer Discover (from KDE) & Ubuntu-Software/Gnome-Software to what Mate currently ship, even with all its progress.)