It’s time once again!
The Muon Package Management Suite is a collection of package management applications that make package management easy on Debian-based systems, whether or not you know what “package management” means. The alpha releases of both the Muon Suite and the QApt library Muon is built on are available for immediate release. Packages for Kubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” are available in the QApt Experimental PPA rather than the regular QApt PPA, due to the pre-release nature of this… uh… release. Packages of interest are the “muon” and “muon-installer” packages for the Muon Package Manager and Muon Software Center.
Here are the highlights for 1.2 alpha:
Muon Package Manager
- The History view as seen in the Muon Software Center can now be accessed from the Muon Package Manager, either through the “View” menu or the “crtl + h” keyboard shortcut.
- Added an option to the configuration dialog to make APT treat a package’s “Suggests” as dependencies. For those who don’t care about disk space. ;-)
- Make changes in the configuration dialog that require root authorization turn the apply button to a key when changed, like in other KDE applications.
- Added an option the the configuration dialog to totally disallow the installation of untrusted packages entirely.
- A package in the package view can now be de-selected, hiding the details widget, by ctrl-clicking on the package.
- Multiple packages can be marked at once via a right-click menu.
- Packages can be locked at their current version via the right-click menu.
Locked packages have a little lock emblem on the package graphic. Additionally, a “Locked” filter has been added to the status filter box.
Ever been in a situation when you’ve needed to install packages on a computer without internet access? In version 1.2, the Muon Package Manager makes it easy to do this. First, mark the packages that you wish to install as normal. Go the “File” menu and select “Save Package Download List”. Next, take this file over to another computer with Muon and select “Download Packages From List” from the file menu. After pointing it to your USB stick, Muon will happily download your packages and place them on your USB stick. Lastly, take your USB drive back to your internet-less computer and go to “File -> Add Downloaded Packages”. Once this is done, you can hit “apply” and install your packages as normal.
Muon Software Center
- Installed packages now have a checkmark emblem, as shown here.
- Minor speed optimizations dealing with entering software categories.
Application usage counter:
A usage counter utilizing the Zeitgeist event logging framework has been added to application pages. MSC can show usage statistics for any application that supports sending events to the Zeitgeist daemon, such as Kate with its Zeitgeist plugin. Support within KDE applications is as of yet limited, but with work on Zeitgeist integration in other high-profile KDE software such as Phonon, this feature will become more and more useful as time goes by and more KDE technology adopts Zeitgeist support. In the near future I plan to add a “Recommendations” view based on most frequently used mimetypes as reported by Zeitgeist. (Zeitgeist support is optional, and preventing Zeitgeist support from building can be achieved by either not installing libqzeitgeist or passing “-DENABLE_QZEITGEIST=0″ to CMake, not that you’d want to ;-) )
Reviews and Ratings:
Arguably the biggest feature for the Muon Software Center in 1.2 is support for the Ubuntu Ratings and Reviews API. Previously, PopCon usage statistics were used to determine ratings given to all applications in the MSC. This was really a bit unfair, though, since it could mean that a perfectly good application that wasn’t widely used would get a seemingly low amount of stars. Using the ratings from the Ubuntu application ratings server means that ratings from normal people determine how many stars an application gets.
Read-only support for full application reviews has also been implemented. Support for submitting reviews is a big project that will probably not get done in time for the release of Muon 1.2. A lot of this is due to the fact that there is as of now not really a suitable way for C++ Qt/KDE applications to interface with the Ubuntu Single Sign On service, which is necessary to submit reviews. Work on an SSO interface was started by the unstoppable Harald Sitter during his Ubuntu One GSoC project last year, but the SSO API has since changed and the KDE SSO stuff will need a fair bit of work before it is useful again. If all goes well, I hope to help remedy this via a GSoC project of my own through Ubuntu come this summer. Working SSO bits would also help pave the way for commercial app support like the Ubuntu Software Center has. Until Ubuntu SSO has been sorted I’m afraid you’ll have to use the Ubuntu Software Center for review/rating submittal, but for now we can still enjoy the reviews and ratings of others in Muon. :)
Another small feature that you can see from the above screenshot is that the Addons and Reviews widgets can both be hidden.
Due to being busy with school I never got a chance to finish the rest of my QApt Utils blogs. The astute can explore the packages on my PPA, but for the rest of you who don’t care to go poking around in PPAs I’ll blog tomorrow about all the new QApt utilities that I never got around to blogging about.
Detailed changelogs for Muon and QApt can be found below for those so inclined: