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If Wine installers can look fancy, why not .debs?

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

Y’know, now that Windows executables look all fancy with the latest Wine – making use of the inbuilt application icons – I can’t help but think that they make Ubuntu look worse. Why? Here goes…

Dreary .Deb’s

Just look at native .deb installers in comparison – they look so bland and uniform and indistinct.

George Dumitrescu e-mailed us to not only point out the lack of visual intuitiveness but to ask why they have to be like this when they could be much more akin to this: –

Image Link Since Broken

Whilst your Joe Average user shouldn’t need to be exposed to .deb installers in the first place (that’s what the Software Centre & PPA’s are for, non?) there are situations where he will either need to use one or prefer to use one. Coupled with this are the relative pain-free installation .deb’s provide and it’s easy to see why they are one of a users preferred options.

In a folder full of downloaded .deb packages Joe Average has to read and/or search for the application packages’ name. In Windows he’d just need to visually scan for the application icon.

George puts this succinctly: “It’s a big deal. I mean if my sister downloads an deb from the web something like flash player and opens the download directory, will be able to find it instantly without confusing it with an archive.”

Why is it like this?

First up lets note that not every .deb package is an applications. In fact most aren’t. George suggests that such non-app installers could be displayed with an ‘extension’ type icon to denote that it is a library/etc: –


There are, no doubt, also technical considerations preventing .deb’s from displaying icons. A .deb would somehow need to announced whether it was a library, codec, etc or an application and that, one assumes, would require some extra work; this isn’t an idea that could be implemented over night or surely it would have been already. In a simplistic frame of mind you can help but think that given the .deb of an application contains an application icon is there surely no way to draw on this?

Mock-ups by George