Plans for improving the performance and start-up time for Ubuntu’s Software Centre in 12.04 have been discussed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

“The goal is a Software Center that is rock-solid, responsive, and a true pleasure to use.”

Building upon the ‘beautiful new interface’ introduced in ubuntu 11.10, plans for Precise will see the application gain work on improving its start-up speed, both cold and when installing .Deb packages.

As a demonstration of ‘speed’ improvements, the incumbent version of the Ubuntu Software Centre (version was compared against a newer, in development version in Precise: –

  • 11.2s startup in Ubuntu 11.10
  • 1.3s startup in Ubuntu 12.04

Other Features

Application recommendations are one possible new feature for inclusion in Precise’s Software Centre, providing issues with latency and server load – as well as that ol’ chestnut called privacy – can be addressed.

Recommendations could be shown: –

  • Show on the homescreen
  • Show on the categories screen (If you install particular games, it might display other similar games)
  • Show on screens for individual applications (“People who installed this also installed…”

Additional tile-views (visually neat way of display applications) are also another possible inclusion in the next release. These would be introduced to category/sub-category lists: –

Talk of adding streamed video previews alongside application screenshots was suggested, but it’s unclear at present quite how this would work. Any hosting infrastructure set up would need to be dependable for 5 years.

Plans for enhanced Unity Launcher integration, including the ability for all new app installs to appear on the Unity Launcher, were positively received and many of the improvements due for 11.10 will likely be ready in time for 12.04.

OneConf – the handy application list sync that debuted properly in Ubuntu 11.10 – will see work on performance, stability and extra options.


An interesting topic of discussion was on developing a set of APIs for developers to build plugins around.

“Eg. A plugin that we want to use to create a download bundle – a bundle of apps in a single download that you can take to a friend on your usb stick.”

What would you like to see introduced, changed or tweaked in the Ubuntu Software Center?

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