WARNING! This article has been written a long time ago. It may no longer represent the current views of the author!

Linux as a daily driver

I think that after the year in which I have convinced my SO to use Debian as her daily driver on her laptop I can call it a success. At least partially.

In this year I think that I have grown more humble as I have witnessed many times her explaining the differences between Linux and Windows world to people that really don't care about technology beyond using it as a tool or a cool gimmick that is sometimes useful (think your grandparents or typical arts/history/humanities students). I could never do this better than her. I really wish I could.

But this really comes through after my explanations that are for the most part - in-depth but sometimes missing the spots where the depth is really needed.

And the biggest mistake I've made is that I didn't show how to install software. Apart from showing Synaptics GUI for APT and hoping that it'll be enough. But the UX and discoverability in that program is utter garbage - I stopped using it (in favour of commandline) really soon after starting my journey through Linuxland.

Only recently I found out about a better program to show to people that aren't really inclined on reading tons of documentation just to find that you cannot simply install Photoshop downloaded from the Internet on your machine running Linux - which is the case in Windows world.

In Mint there is a simple mintinstall package that is part of that distro - that has quite pleasant interface and an OK discoverability of the possibilities that lay in repositories - just one click away! Too bad I cannot simply install it on Debian (or any other distro)

Here we have gnome-software, which is a really cool application in itself but I find it lacking in at least two ways:

  • it is tied to the GNOME 3
  • it seems that the integration runs really deep, which might be confusing for some of the potential users I have in mind (using other desktop environment e.g. XFCE and installing Gnome Shell extensions isn't really compatible; but the extensions are listed as possible packages to install)

Considering my options I am thinking that it would be really cool to have an application that is distro-/environment-/package manager- agnostic, that could be used as a go-to application for users new to the Linux world that wouldn't necessarily be an app store in the way Ubuntu Software Center is.

So I started thinking about my dream "app store for linux" which would be:

  • community curated
  • aimed towards new users mainly, BUT also at veterans who want to find replacements for some proprietary/windows applications
  • can be used offline
  • offers integration with the distro package manager (or points to simple installation guides / makes out-of-distro installation possible)

And I think that the basic version of such app could be possible / easy to implement. I hope that a day will come when I'll be able to use it.