gnome software UI refresh

An impressive new look is winging its way to the world’s favourite software management app GNOME Software.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration mixed with snark, but not because I hate!!1 GNOME Software. It is a very important tool tasked with many complex roles. It is a critical link in the Linux experience. No-one is knocking that.

But, and this is where some folks may take umbrage, GNOME Software does have a bit of ‘reputation’ among users for being a bit …nonoptimal. Bloated? Memory hog? Slow? Ill-ordered? Addicted to spitting error messages? I’ve heard them all.

Thankfully, work is underway to give this app a redo, iron out usability issues, and buff up its role in the GNOME Shell experience — as this (very lengthy) mockup of proposed changes to the default “Explore” page conveys:

Certainly makes more of an impression than the current home page, doesn’t it? And the switch from header bar buttons to a standard sidebar helps bring the app inline with other “system-y” parts of the GNOME desktop stack.

Now, if you follow omg! ubuntu! on Twitter you may — algorithm depending — have seen a few tweets about GNOME Software 40 beta release. A small set of welcome tweaks landed recently, including a cleaner looking home page, and a new GNOME Software icon.

But awesomely, these changes are merely a taster for a more substantive set of changes planned.

Such as? Well, more informative app listing pages for one. These are set to gain a glut of features not currently offered including:

  • Install per user or system wide
  • Immersive screenshot gallery
  • Section for compatible add-ons
  • Eye-catching context tiles
  • ‘Other apps by…’ section
  • Help/bug reporting links

These mockup — which remember: is a mockup, not finalised code — shows many of those changes in situ:

GNOME Software eApp Page UI Refresh

Once again, impressive stuff!

A few other things are mooted, including the ability to install apps from a USB. Canonical’s pitch of creating a heavily-curated store more akin to macOS App Store have been ruled out of scope and closed.

Will ALL of the UI refresh land in GNOME 40? Unlikely, but the fact work is underway and bits are landing in the GNOME 40 Beta should reassure those who, like me, find the existing version of app a bit… nonoptimial.

What do you think?

h/t @KiveyGaming

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