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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 17 Aug 2012

File under 'disturbing': Debian Wheezy doesn't ship with the Synaptic Package Manager

My current Debian Wheezy installation is an upgrade from Squeeze, so I was unprepared for what just happened: I'm doing a bunch of installs in between my other work, and I just got around to a traditional Wheezy desktop installation with the GNOME desktop using netinstall image.

I was unprepared for the only GUI package manager to be GNOME Package Kit. No Synaptic Package Manager. Not even the "Sofware Center" ported from Ubuntu that shipped in Squeeze.

Debian Developers, you think GNOME Package Kit is anywhere near as good as Synaptic? It's certainly RHEL-like, as Package Kit is the GUI package manager in RHEL/CentOS.

At least Debian is still shipping Aptitude, unlike Ubuntu.

But no Synaptic? In Debian? Are they kidding? Not counting these five paragraphs, I'm speechless.

Later: The Xfce install of Debian Wheezy DOES include Synaptic. So does the KDE install. I did another GNOME install and confirmed that Synaptic is NOT included. This is quite an omission. The LXDE install of Debian also does not include Synaptic, but that is very much expected.

At the risk of repeating myself yet again, Debian's default installs of Xfce and KDE include the Synaptic Package Manager, but the GNOME install does not. That is crazy.

Given the rumor that Debian is looking at Xfce as the default desktop environment for the Wheezy release, that Xfce seems more "complete" in regard to package management is, in a way, encouraging.

More Debian GNOME install weirdness: Debian has always included the full office suite in just about every default desktop installation. GNOME, Xfce and even LXDE installs have included OpenOffice and now LibreOffice.

What's strange about the current GNOME installation of Debian Wheezy is that it includes not only LibreOffice but also the Abiword word processor and Gnumeric spreadsheet. That's like a double office suite. It's strange to have both.

Debian with KDE: I've done quite a few installs in the last week, and while I'm not sure I could get used to KDE, the desktop in its default installation in Debian Wheezy is very nice. It works great, doesn't require 3D acceleration (like GNOME 3 does), and generally has a lot (a whole lot) of polish.