Muon Package Management Suite is the package management application that will replace Kubuntu’s package manager when Kubuntu 11.10 is released next month. It is designed for Debian-based systems, so it could be used on similar distributions, not just on Kubuntu. In fact, it is included in the default repository of Linux Mint 11. Its development is by Jonathan Thomas.
It is made up of three graphical applications – Muon Package Manager, Muon Software Center, and Muon Updater. Most package management systems have a pair of graphical interfaces – the main application for installing and removing applications, and a package updates interface. So, why does Muon split package management responsibilities into three graphical interfaces? To paraphrase the author, Muon Package Manager is for system administrators (geeks, that is), while Muon Software Center is for the rest who do not want to be bothered with the geeky side of package management. Muon Updater is, of course, for upgrading applications.
As I examine the features of Muon Package Manager, there is nothing I see that could scare even the most inexperienced users, and certainly, no feature that is not present in other graphical package management programs that we are not already familiar with from other distributions. So, as I see it, Muon Package Manager is completely unnecessary, especially on a system where the default user is also the system administrator. There are schemes built into user management applications in Linux that limits who enjoys the privilege of managing applications on a system, so the idea of a separate interface for system administrators does not make sense.
Now that you know what I think about Muon Package Management Suite, here are a few screenshots to show the features of the three graphical interfaces that make up the suite.
And the applications listing view. Notice that it has a history feature that when clicked, will reveal all software management activities, by day, on the system.
The single application view, with application thumbnail and ratings.
And this is the main interface of Muon Package Manager. As stated earlier, its features could have been integrated into the Muon Software Center. I also think that the list of categories in the side bar is too granular. It makes it look very untidy or cluttered. Unlike the Muon Software Center, you can queue multiple applications for installation.
This is another view of Muon Package Manager.
Yet another view of Muon Package Manager showing a list of available updates.
Finally, this is a view of Muon Updater, which may be started from the command line with the muon-updater command.