an image of the kde discover software center

The KDE software center app Plasma Discover is something of a diamond in the rough.

Many KDE fans –maybe even you– consider the app to be too limited, preferring instead to use an alternative tool like Synaptic or the Muon Software Center to handle package management.

So popular is Muon that Kubuntu 17.10 even re-added it to its install image!

But Discover shouldn’t be forgotten about.

It’s important that Plasma desktop has a vibrant, easy to use, “one-stop-shop” for users to discover, install, update and remove software on their desktops.

While that doesn’t necessarily have to be at the expense of advanced features, it’s important that the main use-case is tailored to first.

Now, it’s been nearly a whole year since I last used KDE Plasma (I lost my KDE Neon install, then had to replace my desktop computer, and haven’t yet installed anything other than Ubuntu because yes I’m lazy, etc etc), so I’m not sure how well Discover is shaping up these days.

But I like to keep tabs on what the cool KDE collective gets up to.

And it seems they’ve been busy!

Discover KDE Software Center

KDE developer Nate Graham shares an overview of recent improvements to the new KDE software center.

Among the improvements mentioned:

  • Visible “Update All” button on Updates page
  • Improved search on Updates page
  • Improved Settings page
  • Screenshot handling improved
  • App description text no longer cut off
  • ‘Installed’ apps listed alphabetically
  • Package change-logs are now readable
  • Search field shows a clear button when a search term is entered
  • Misc crash and bug fixes

You can see how things are shaping up in these images:

Nice, right?

I’m also especially pleased to hear that support for Flatpak in Discover is being actively worked on. When I last toyed with the app Flatpak was something on the to-do list, not yet working.

Fans of Snap apps needn’t panic either as Discover scored Snap support in the summer of last year.

CLI vs GUI Package Management

Now, like almost everyone else I know, I mostly use apt, snap, or flatpak to install my favourite software. It’s, for me, faster and more precise.

But that method only works when I know which apps I want to install. Often I don’t. And the best way to discover new software is to browse around a GUI software store.

GNOME Software (known as ‘Ubuntu Software’ on Ubuntu) does an admirable job but, in my opinion, only the Deepin App Store nails the ‘app store’ vibe on the Linux desktop.

But y’know what? I think Discover could give the Deepin store a run for its money if these sorts of improvements continue to be made.

Those of you using Plasma: how do you find Discover compared to Muon and other alternatives?

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