OpenSuse’s Software Portal

The OpenSuse project started the development of a software portal for an improved experience of software installation and management. The current drafts remind of Linspire’s Click’n Run.

The project tries to address two parts: first, the developers want to make it easier to add new repositories. Therefore, a one-click install of new repositories is an aim. Second, there should be a web-based system providing more information and additional links, reviews, discussions, etc. about the available software packages. Additionally a server side system as to gather all the data necessary to provide the needed information.
The aims were also explained and discussed at a recent IRC meeting:

  • having a “single-click” yast2 module to add repositories and install packages, easy to deposit on websites
  • an openSUSE “software portal” web application that aggregates all sorts of information (latest updates, new applications, latest versions, …) + easy browsing of applications/packages that are available for openSUSE
  • with screenshots, ratings, tagging, comments, and obviously links to the above mentioned “one-click installation

In a blog post Loki showed a first mockup of the web client and screenshot of an early development version of the one click installer.
The OpenSuse wiki also has a page dedicated to the new project.

The attempt reminds pretty much of Linspire’s Click’N Run, which also features a web based system with various additional information about the programs.
However CNR is not designed to handle additional repositories – something which is very important for OpenSuse: one of the project’s main services, the Build Service, provides numerous additional repositories filled with software of any type. At the moment these repositories still have to be added by hand to Yast/Yum/Whatever.

It looks like that the service will be available for OpenSuse only at the moment, although the Build Service provides repositories for other distributions as well. Also, Linspire said that CNR will be available for other distributions soon.

I must admit that I like OpenSuse’s attempt – the Build Service enable developers to easily provide repositories with current development versions or with experimental software. The repositories make it needless to check for new versions by hand because the software manager (yum, etc.) does this automatically. And with a Software Portal and an one-click install adding new repos would become easy for average users as well.
If the system is released as FLOSS, it might even find its way into Fedora and other distributions when the Build Service provides the software for other distributions in a broad range.

This is in contrast to the attempts of Ubuntu and Fedora: both just want to get all software available into their own repositories, without caring for other distributions, and without caring for experimental or development software (remember: Linux is usually hostile to software in development).

And I must say OpenSuse’s way looks most promising. It would be even better if it could feature a universal installer for all distributions…


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