Appnr, searching and finding Ubuntu apps

Have you ever tried finding the package you want not remembering its name? Have you ever been annoyed by the usability disaster the Synaptics package manager has become with all those thousands of packages? I bet you have and so have I.

Using apt-url Appnr gives you, and especially newcomers to the Ubuntu world the opportunity the opportunity to find what you’re looking for quickly in all of it’s AJAX-y glory. Appnr requires no sign-up and you don’t need to install software not featured in the Ubuntu repositories for it to work.

It shows screenshots and videos of some of the packages and even fetches reviews about the package or application in question from blogs or websites.

It does remind me a little of my own old idea of the meta packaga marketplace, tracking the popularity of packages in a web2.0 way, but for this little piece of usefulness credit goes to Akira Ohgaki

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7 thoughts on “Appnr, searching and finding Ubuntu apps

  1. @jldugger

    The problem with the Add/Remove-dialog is confusing. For example: It shows stars to inform you about the popularity of applications but those installed by default get ranked higher because everyone got them on their machine without having a “choice”.

    Appnr shows people information they really want, like screenshots, or videos about the software whereas the Add/Remove-dialog doesn’t even have hot links.

    Appnr shows what websites and bloggers wrote about the application, you have access to some real reviews and get simply more information about the software in question.

    Good example is: http://appnr.com/package/openarena

  2. That’s an interesting point. I’ve occasionally wondered how to integrate useful data like screenshots into existing metadata like package descriptions. It’s clear they’re both useful starting points for evaluating the utility of a program, but descriptions are small enough to easily fit within the current system.

    About popcon: it’s designed to check access time to binaries to measure usage. There is of course a broad loop between usage and installed by default — if Totem works well enough you probably won’t bother with mPlayer, and so on. So for the purpose of comparing packages with similar functionality, it may be worthless to care about packages installed by default, especially since you’re almost certain to have the package installed!

    In fact, the one thing a web 2.0 app can’t easily do is query your system for installed packages or version numbers to hide or recommend software based on what you already have and use.

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  4. “I don’t know what it is about Window Managers, but people complain if they don’t get a screenshot. I’ve told them again and again that ratpoison doesn’t have anything to take a screenshot of, but still they insist.”

    Yes, screenshots are great.

  5. @mermshaus

    I like that quote but I don’t think ratpoison users aren’t exactly the target group. I suspect people using ratpoison know what they’re looking for in the first place or in doubt a quick apt-cache show/search will do the trick.

  6. In fact, I didn’t intend to be ironic. I tried to express that I’d love to have screenshots in package managers. They give you a much better impression how an application is like and if it will be useful to you.

    Lack of screenshots is probably the main reason why I hardly ever use a package manager to find new software.

    (When I first stumbled upon the ratpoison page, I didn’t really get what ratpoison is until I saw the screenshot. But I think the quote is kind of funny. I’m imaging a programmer pulling his hair out, muttering to himself: “You people are all insane!”)