gpk-application multiple package selection

In 0.1.x PackageKit had a restriction it could operate on only one package at a time. This sucked for a multitude of reasons, the main one being that to install a few packages you had to wait for the preceding one to finish.

In an ideal world, we could still query a software list while we are updating, but a lot of the backends do not allow that, giving unpredictable results or ‘just‘ corrupting caches.

One of the main feature requests for 0.2.x was to handle multiple packages in one transaction. The API was slightly changed in PackageKit to support this in 0.2.1, and now the client tools like pkcon and gpk-install-package-name all accept more than one package at a time. Yay for the command line.

This left gpk-application, aka “Add/Remove Software” – which was much trickier to do in a sane way. Now, I’m not saying the screenshot below is sane, but it certainly works, and we can improve it in the few weeks before 0.2.2 is released.

Comments welcome.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

14 thoughts on “gpk-application multiple package selection”

  1. Nice to see multiple package selection finally coming to the PK gui!

    Some random comments:

    – What are “add to list and “show list”? I have a feeling those are not really needed

    – What is “clear list” used for”?

    – consider using smaller icons: even for the package state inside the 2-line listview 24×24 icons should be enough.

    – same for the package icon on the right pane. This is even a bit confusing… the list in the middle shows state+action and the right pane just current state? hmm. I wonder if this is needed at all

    – please provide the option to switch the package list to a proper listview with sortable columns for name, comment, version etc. I’m sure you have some usability research why the current modified list view is easier for some users but it certainly is not easy for me. It took me minutes to find some packages using the PK gui at times while I found them in seconds using synaptic for example.

  2. Great to see this feature implemented!

    However, one small remark, not really related as it concerns the updater component. Please, make it maximisable, the window is really tiny and it is a pain to maximise it by dragging the sides to expend manually the window :S

  3. My first impression ( with the check boxes ) is that its starting to look a bit more like my favourite application Pirut ;-)… please noooooo!

    Anyway, It took me a while to figure out that was Tape on the closed box/package… maybe just a “seam” on the closed box/package/icon would be better. Furthermore, i don’t really know if a closed box representing not installed and an open box representing installed is the best way to go, its pretty nice, but maybe some other way would be more intuitive… so the user would immediately say “oh ya, that package is installed.

    Also, what i liked with your first release was the simplicity of it. “Add to list”, “clear list”, “show list” takes away from this.


  4. Man, this now looks as cluttered as synaptic. I expected better from you, really. I love gnome-app-install from Ubuntu, that’s nice and easy. It should be possible to do something like that for non-desktop-apps as well.

  5. Very nice, im really expecting that to reach to the stable version. Although i think the information section with the package description could still be allocated at the buttom of the package list!…. anyway great job!

  6. It’s not synaptic, but you could check synaptic for inspiration, they use a vertical box for list and properties, given that properties window isn’t too tall usually, you could do the same, think of 800×600 screens!.

  7. Thanks for this work!!!! XD

    Only a suggestion. I would like that the additional information of the packages, can be hidden, since when selecting a package, loses time looking for this information (Excessive in an old computer).

    Soon to show a separate window (or the same pane) but only when it requires the information.

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