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Do One Thing & Do It Well: Ubuntu Needs More Purposeful Apps

Or: 'UBUNTU!! Y U NO MEME APP??'

Memes. I love ‘em.  I’d wager a good chunk of my emotional state on any given day is relayed through grumpy cat, Y U NO and – aptly for the editor of  a Linux news-site – Forever Alone. ;)

Knocking together a witty (or, in my case, barely comprehensible) meme in Ubuntu isn’t hard.

First you find a meme template (hi, Google), add text in an app like GIMP or Pinta (hi, Software Center) and then save, upload (hi, imgur) and shove in the faces of the ambivalent citizens of the internet (hi, OMG! Ubuntu! Google+ followers).

But given how awesome memes are – and how transient their relevance can be in a fast moving conversation or IRC chat – there should be an even quicker way to make them.

Meme Generator

Now, users of Mac OS X can scratch their meme-making itch easily with a small, free application available in the Mac App Store called ‘Meme Generator’. 

memeapp

Meme generator groups together everything you need in one app. It’s a super-meme-making-kit.

  • Got memes? Check.
  • Haz text editing? Sure.
  • Can do the upload? You bet.

Whether on or offline you can fire up the app and start hammering out memes in the ratta-tat-tat of keyboard taps. New meme templates are automatically downloaded, and you can add your own. Share buttons for posting your witty creations on popular social networking sites are seamlessly integrated into the app.

Now, at this point you’re probably thinking “Okay, Sneddon. It’s nice and all, but what’s this got to do with Ubuntu?”.

So let me explain.

Okay, This Is Not Actually About Memes

Time for me to ‘fess up. This post isn’t actually about wanting a desktop ‘meme generator’ for Ubuntu as it is about wanting to see small, sole-purposed applications being made for Ubuntu and stocked in the Ubuntu Software Center.

“This post isn’t actually about wanting a desktop ‘meme generator’ for Ubuntu.”

It just happens that this meme app scratches an itch so darn well you just want to keep scratching; it’s like a half-metre ruler shoved down the cast of a broken limb.

It’s a niche, well made application and does one thing but does it well.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I am a fan of choice. I like being able to pick and choose from 15 music players, 10 text editors and an endless glut of desktop-environment-centric game titles.

But, if I’m honest, nothing would help sell Ubuntu (née: Linux) as a platform for developers to target and users to use like a vibrant and varied application ecosystem.

And nothing says ‘vibrant and varied application ecosystem‘ like small, single-purpose apps that do their job really well.

Progress

Thankfully the work of Ubuntu and, in particular, the Ubuntu App team means that this ideal of mine is inching towards reality. The last few months have seen a number of fantastic new apps emerge that do one thing but do it well (Stormcloud, Birdie, Lightread, Spindl, Dual-Monitor Brightness Controller). 

But with more eyes on Ubuntu than ever before (thanks, Edge!) part of me is sincerely hoping that as the next few months pass we see more than just more music players, text editors and to-do lists appearing on the shelves of the Ubuntu Software Center.

And maybe, just maybe, one of those will help me make memes, too!

meme2