This is coming about two weeks later than I would have liked, so the next pre-release is likely to come in two weeks to make up. Similarly, the monthly bugfix release for Muon Suite 1.3 is two weeks late. For that, I’ll likely just skip this month and release 1.3.2 in two weeks, as there haven’t been any serious bugs that need immediate attention. (Thankfully)
Anyways, I am proud to announce the first alpha release for Muon Suite 1.4. The Muon Suite is a set of package management utilities for Debian-based Linux distributions built on KDE technologies. Packages for Kubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” are available in the QApt Experimental PPA. Here’s what’s new:
Muon Discover is the experimental new frontend in the Muon Suite. It was written by Aleix Pol Gonzalez as part of his employment at Blue Systems, and it’s pretty nifty. You can read more about it here.The idea is to create a Muon frontend that makes finding new software super-simple, and doing so with a little bit of flair. It’s no secret, that even though the existing Muon Software Center has some “bling” here and there, the interface is somewhat spartan.
Muon Discover will eventually replace the Muon Software Center, but not just yet. Muon Discover is young, and its interface is written entirely in QML. KDE has not issued a set of comprehensive UI guidelines for QML usage on the desktop, and currently Muon Discover is using the Plasma QML components for several of the controls in its interface. While we wait for a set of guidelines, the classic Muon Software Center will remain the default application installer, allowing Muon Discover to mature in the process. The QML Desktop Components (slated for release sometime around Qt 5.1 or 5.2, or so I have heard rumored) and KDE Frameworks 5 will likely be a big part of KDE’s QML standardization, so expect Muon Discover to replace the Muon Software Center in around that time period.
Muon Software Center
With all the buzz around Muon Discover, you may think that nothing has been done with the Muon Software Center. Well, never fear, as there are several cool new features and user experience improvements that have been made for Muon Suite 1.4.
- Thanks to work done by Aleix, the Muon Software Center no longer has to reset the view back to the main page when it reloads the APT cache. This provides for a much smoother experience whilst installing multiple applications.
- A progress view has been added for displaying currently running and pending transaction.
- All Muon frontends now use the KDE proxy, if set. (Before it only used the system proxy and APT proxy settings) Priority goes: KDE proxy, APT proxy, system proxy.
- Additional pages of application reviews can be fetched now.
- A busy throbber has been added to the main page to provide feedback during launch.
- Application views can now be sorted by Name, Rating, Buzz and search relevancy.
- By popular request, non-application packages can be toggled for application views. (Though you’re still probably better off using the Muon Package Manager for package management.)
- Ratings are cached locally so they can be accessed in the absence of an internet connection.
Muon Package Manager
The Muon Package Manager has not been forgotten, either. Highlights for the 1.4 release mainly include tools for better handling Multi-Arch packages on 64-bit systems.
- By default, when a package is available for both the native and foreign CPU architectures, only the native package is shown. Installed packages of any architecture are shown. This means no more duplication of most every single package in the archive polluting the Muon package view.
- A new architecture filter has been added, allowing you to filter packages by their architecture.
- The new Debian package categories “Education” and “Introspection” have been added to Muon’s category filters.
- A package’s archive component is now displayed in the technical details tab. (E.g. universe, main for Ubuntu packages)
Muon Update Manager
- Technical package items in the “System Updates” category are now displayed by their package name, as the description is not always descriptive enough.