Thursday, February 20, 2014

Software Center in Zorin OS

One of the most obvious thing I have saw as a fresh Linux user is the easy way to install anything on Zorin OS. Before, in my "Windows times" every time when I needed a piece of software I had to do a google search, ask my friends, install, discover is not good, unistall and try another, etc.

...And, of course, I thought thinks will be the same in Linux. Well, no, they are not! In fact, as I see, in Linux, specifically in Zorin OS (the distro I use), it is a lot easier to install an app if I need one. And it is also a lot easier to evaluate the apps and to give feedback to the community.

And all this thanks to Software Center! No more google searching! Most of the useful apps are already here, in the Software Center, ready to be installed. Those people who have an android smartphone or a tablet are quite familiar with the concept, because Google Play is very much similar with the oftware Center.

Zorin OS Core v6.04 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, so, the Zorin OS Software Center is, in fact, Ubuntu Software Center.

Now, before going further, I have to make some important observations. Zorin OS being Ubuntu-based, theoretically, most of those apps from Software Center should work fine on it.  But, (and I speak from my bad experience) before installing anything it should be kept in mind that Zorin OS has also a Gnome environment. So, when installing something, we should look for apps destinated to Ubuntu LTS and Gnome environnment.

Any "missplacement" can create problems. I give here an example from my own experience. One day, I have installed Deluge torrent app. Fine till now. But, in my naive lack of experience, I have installed the KDE version and the result was that the app after a short while became a real problem as it had quite an erratic behaviour. At the end, I had no solution but to unistall it. Then I came across to the Gnome version of Deluge and I got one idea... So, I have installed this app, tested it, and... it works fine! :-)

So, any app destined to Ubuntu versions higher than 12.04, KDE, Unity or any other thing that souds too alien to Zorin OS's "nature" are to be avoid. In order to do that, it is necessary to read the info and comments about every app, not just install it blindly.

So, what is Zorin OS Software Center?

In lay-men words, is the place to get (almost) everything you need for your Zorin OS system.  Here you can find apps to install and you can also unistall those you don't like or need anymore.

According to Ubuntu Wiki, Software Center is: "a utility for installing, purchasing, and removing software in Ubuntu, a major part of Ubuntu’s overall software handling." To study more about it, see this link about Software Center on Ubuntu Wiki.

How to launch Zorin OS Software Center?

There are 4 ways to do that. In order to learn about them all, please, see the link  above. On this post I will discuss only about two, I'd say main, ways to launch Software Center:

- Directly
- From the command line

How to launch Zorin OS Software Center directly

Personally, I have noticed two ways to do that.

  • With the cursor go to Start - All Applications - Ubuntu Software Center 
Like in the image below.

Launch Zorin Os Software Center
Launch Zorin OS Software Center directly
  •  Or, you can choose even a shortest way like in the image bellow.
Software Center
Another direct way to launch Zorin OS Software Center

Once launched, the app will look something like this.

Ubuntu Software Center in Zorin OS
Zorin OS Software Center

Note that on the left side you can see all the apps catalogued on categories, so it is very easy to choose what you need. Some of the categories are already present on the freshly installed Zorin OS system, but other categories (like Programming or Science) will appear once the user gets to install the first app from that category.

For example,  I had no Science category in my "launch menu", but it appeared by itself after I have installed Cellestia app.

Zorin OS and the app categories
In Zorin OS Linux all and every app has its own category

If you click on "Installed" tab in Software Center window you can see all the apps that are allready installed on the system. This is something like "Add-Remove Programs" in Windows Control Panel, but is even better because you can see the apps in categories not just an alphabetical list of them.

Installed apps in Software Center
Categories of instaled apps in Zorin OS

 And if you click on one of the categories, you can see every installed app.

Installed apps in Zorin OS
Installes apps in Zorin OS

And if you want to see what apps are there to be installed, go to "All Software" and choose one categories. You'll see the subcategories of apps and/or the apps. In the screenshot bellow, I explore "Graphics" folder/category.

Graphics category in Zorin OS Software Center

How to launch Zorin OS Software Center from command line

Again, there are two ways.

  • Press Ctrl (Control)+Alt+T keys (together) to open the Terminal and write this command line:

  This comand will launch the app.

Launch Software Center via command line

Note: As a result of this command line you'll most probably see a lot of so-called "errors" in the Terminal window. Don't panic, stay calm. :-P I was puzzled too when I saw this for the first time. But then, I have posted a question about it on AskUbuntu and got a lot of interesting and relieving answers. In short, those "errors" are not a reason to worry. They are interesting only for developers, not for common users like you and me. :-)
  •  Open the Terminal and write this command line
nohup software-center &
This is the second command line that will open the app. Only that in this case, those weird "errors" will not be seen in the Terminal window.

Another command line for launching SC

Well that's all  about Software Center!

Zorin OS is both very criticized by old Linux users for its Windows looks and it is seen with a lot of suspicion by loyal Windows users (for being after all, a Linux distribution underneath the Windows appearance). But in my humble opinion, this distro takes the best parts from both its "parents" and is the best for fresh Linux users.I know that I love it! :-)


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