"Featured" Packages Category Questions

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"Featured" Packages Category Questions

Postby MtnDewManiac » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:16 pm

What's the deal with the "Featured" category in Software Manager? I run the app about once per month (I generally use Synaptic Package Manager) to see if there are any additions to that category, but it looks like the same 30 or 31 packages that were in it when I installed Mint months ago.

Is the list of "featured" packages just a static list that isn't meant to (or at least never does) change?

And what are the determining factors that decide whether or not a package becomes "featured?" I notice that Adobe Acrobat Reader is one of them, which I don't understand because not only is that proprietary software (albeit free), I have not found any features/performance that is not in the alternative .PDF file readers (although there might be something, as I have not checked Acrobat Reader recently). Additionally, although the rating score of the highest-rated "featured" package is 1,71x (the final digit of all the four-digit ratings is cut off in my version of Software Manager :roll: ), there are also packages included that have scores of (currently) 57, 53, 39, 21, 11... and even negative ratings such as -58, -80, and -100, lol - and even a quick (or as quick as can be done in Software Manager) browse through available packages shows that there are many packages that have ratings that are high enough to at least be positive numbers.

So I'm just wondering, do the packages in the "featured" category ever change? If so, how often would you recommend that I run the Software Manager app in order to check that category? Every six months? Yearly? More often? Less often? And what are the criteria for a package being included in that category? Is it a defined set, or just whatever the developer and/or maintainer of Software Manager wishes to place in it (or, possibly, wished to place in it at the time of compiling the application?)?

EDIT: I forgot to say that I do like some of the concepts of the Software Manager app. Specifically, I like that many packages have a screen image that one can view. It appears that they don't always match the images available in Synaptic Package Manager, for whatever reason; sometimes the images differ, and sometimes Software Manager will have an image for a package that Synaptic Package Manager doesn't seem to include - and vice versa. (Is there any way to synchronize the sets of images between the two package apps? That would be nice.) Additionally, I like the concept of being able to access a package's website directly within Software Manager. The concept is great. The way it is implemented, OtOH... not so much (IMHO), however, because although the user can click on the link and access the webpage, when the user access other links within said webpage (to view a documentation page or screenshots, for example), there is no easy way to "go back" to the previous webpage. Instead, the user must click on the application "tab" to return to Software Manager's "page" on the package, then click on the website link again. There are no separate tabs for each linked webpage that the user visits, only a generic "Website" tab - and clicking on that tab does not return the user to the original website that he/she visited (doing so from any page on that website or linked from that website does nothing at all, as far as I have been able to determine). This is especially annoying if the user is several links deep and is trying to go to the previous webpage that he/she visited, because the user has to wade through the links again, page by page. I sincerely hope that in the future this feature is improved. Adding more of the features that Synaptic Package Manager has would also be a plus (or making them findable, if they are actually already included). I get the impression that Software Manager is at a point rather early in its development cycle, but I think it might turn into a nice app if some of the functions in it are implemented better and it becomes less something that seems designed for... Joe "Click and Go Windows User" and, instead, improves & grows into something that approaches the usefulness of Synaptic Package Manager. No need to change it so much that the average mouth-breather wouldn't feel comfortable using it, lol, just... flesh it out a little more?

Thank you,
Last edited by MtnDewManiac on Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Featured" Packages Category Questions

Postby xenopeek » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:27 pm

Having a look at the source code for mintInstall, it is quickly obvious the list of featured applications is taken from the file: /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintInstall/categories/featured.list

A new version of mintInstall might bring changes to that list. I'm not sure how the developers compile the list; it might be taken from popularity of packages from the Community site? mintInstall will be worked on I believe for Linux Mint 16, so if you have suggestions for a better way to handle a featured applications list, or changes to the list, you can make a suggestion in the Suggestions & New Ideas forum, or post an idea on the Community site.

Feedback and new ideas are very much welcomed. Thank you for caring about Linux Mint!

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