Software – A Better Software Manager for Linux Mint

📅 December 23, 2016
coverLinux Mint is a superb operating system, but its default software manager is rather lacking. We can install a better software manager that looks sleeker and is easier to navigate than Linux Mint’s Software Manager.

This article shows how to install the gnome-software program, which is the same user-friendly software manager seen in Ubuntu and Xubuntu. Yes, we can use it in Linux Mint.

Which is Which?

“There are several software managers to choose from. Which one do I use?”

Open Synaptic and search for gnome-software. Finding the correct package might be tricky at first because there are different software managers available:

  • mininstall – The default software manager for Linux Mint.
  • software-center – The older Ubuntu-style software manager.
  • ubuntu-software – Practically a duplicate of gnome-software
  • gnome-software – The improved software manager
a

mintinstall is the default Linux Mint software manager called Software Manager. It is functional but not exactly the prettiest or easiest to use.

``mintinstall`` is the default Linux Mint software manager called **Software Manager**. It is functional, but not exactly the prettiest or easiest to use.

software-center is the older Ubuntu Software Center found on older Ubuntu distributions. It still works today in Linux Mint, but installation can be tricky. For details, see How to Install the Ubuntu Software Center in Linux Mint 17. (The colors appear quirky due to the current theme, not the program itself.)

a

Software — the software manager we are going to install. This is the cleaner, modern version that is found by default in Xubuntu. Installation is simple, and usage is easy in a clean-looking interface.

Installation

Did that help distinguish among the programs? Search for software in Synaptic to see more choices. The program we want is named gnome-software, but I also installed ubuntu-software. I could not see a difference between the two programs.

a

Install gnome-software from Synaptic. Any dependecies will be resolved. This installation is in Linux Mint 18.1 MATE. We can see that mintinstall is already installed because it is the default software manager for Linux Mint.

Running

After installation, you are ready to use the new software manager. No text file configuration necessary.

Software’s location in the Mint menu can vary by distribution. For Linux Mint Cinnamon, go to Administration > Software to launch the program. For Linux Mint MATE, go to System Tools > Software.

Upon the initial load, you will be prompted to update. Go ahead and update.

a

Administration > Software will start…you guessed it: Software. (In LM Cinnamon.)

a

The updates tab will show any recommended system updates.

a

After the updates complete, you can browse for software to install by category or by specific searches. Here, we are browsing the Audio category.

a

Click on a program for more details and installation options. Screenshots and descriptions are available.

a

The clean user interface provides an uncluttered, attractive program view.

a

Yes, we really are running Software.

a

Like the Ubuntu Software Center, gnome-software feels like browsing through software store.

Conclusion

Tired of the Linux Mint software manager? Software is a refreshing change. Best of all is that it installs in Linux Mint without any extra steps or hassles like the older Ubuntu Software Center.
Have fun!

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