I meant to do this a month ago, but with school and finals and UDS things sort of slipped away. There’s been a lot of work in that month though, so it’s not a total loss.
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. Packages for Kubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” are available in the QApt Experimental PPA. I’m working on packages for maverick which should be available soon.
At the recent Ubuntu Developers Summit I sat down with Aurélien Gateau, mastermind behind the “Common user interface mistakes in KDE applications” blog series, for an hour to go over the Muon Package Manager and Software Center UIs. It was a very productive sprint, and I have managed to make most of the improvements that we discussed.
The other big bit of UDS news is that the Muon Suite has been chosen to be the default package manager for Kubuntu 11.10, the Oneiric Ocelot. By the time Kubuntu 11.10 is released the Muon Suite will have had its first birthday. In this year I believe that the Muon Suite has vetted itself, proving to be a robust package manager as well as a stable set of applications. With my Kubuntu developer hat on, I believe that it was a good move to wait a bit before jumping on the “latest and greatest” for its shininess value, though I can’t deny that it would have been neat to have the Muon Suite included a bit sooner. (Everybody seemed impressed with my impromptu presentation at UDS, so I think the shininess still stands. )
Here are the highlights of this release:
Muon Package Manager
- General status bar layouting improvements. These improvements allowed me to remove the frames around the status bar labels.
- Space-saving improvements were made to the package detail tab widget. The sides and bottom of the tab widget frame were removed, leaving less borders around the edges. The marking buttons were moved to the line with the package short description, and the “screenshot” button was removed since most packages don’t have a screenshot, and the Muon Software Center handles this functionality much better. The support label was also moved to the package description view. The end result gives much more space to actual detail content, wasting less on chrome.
Muon Software Center
The big feature here is the replacement of the old application launcher dialog that appears when you install new software. With 1.2, instead of a dialog popping up when you install a new application, a notification message within the Software Center window appears, giving you the chance to either run the single application you installed, or to open up the “classic” dialog if there was more than one piece of software installed at once. All-in-all it is a much less intrusive and much more elegant way to do the notification.
For those a bit more “in the know”, this is the new KMessageWidget class written largely by Aurélien that is to be included in KDE 4.7. Muon ships a copy of the trunk version of KMessageWidget for systems without KDE 4.7, but when built against KDE 4.7 the system version is used.
It is currently known that review loading inside the Software Center is broken. The move of the Ubuntu Review and Ratings server from staging to production broke a few things, and need to figure out exactly what changed to get the feature working again. I got ratings working again, but reviews still need a bit of massaging.
The 1.1.80 release also brings various bugfixes, some of which will also be included in this month’s bugfix release for the 1.1 series of the Muon Suite. Detailed logs of what has changed since 1.1.65 can be found here and here, for LibQApt and Muon respectively.