Revisit to the default apps of the Ubuntu Desktop and the Ubuntu App Center

Hello everyone, first time posting in this forum. So, I initally created an issue in the ubuntu app-center repo regarding update to the featured apps.

@popey Suggested me to bring this issue in somewhere in the forum. So, here is this post.

So, currently the default apps of the ubuntu desktop includes some very old fashioned/old designed apps like

  1. transmission
  2. cheese
  3. eog
  4. gnome-mahajongg
  5. gnome-mines
  6. rhythmbox

etc… Now, these apps do their job very very well, but the problem is in their UI. They kind of lags and unfits in the current modern looking Ubuntu desktop. The current gnome-libadwaita community and our official ubuntu flutter community have worked and come up with some better alternatives of these apps. eg:

  1. fragments in replacement of transmission
  2. snapshot in replacement of cheese
  3. loupe in replacement of eog and maybe shotwell can also be replaced
  4. & 5. can probably be replaced with some modern linux related games like supertux, supertukart or may be some other modern/good looking games
  5. musicpod in replacement of rhythmbox(this is from our ubuntu flutter community)

All these apps will really make the desktop look coherent and yet we will hardly loose any features.

Also, the apps that are promoted in the ubuntu app center can have some rss readers like newsflash, video-players like celluloid, note taking apps like simplenote, to-do and planning apps like planify and done (both are officially published as a snap in the store by the upstream).

I think that revisiting this topic would be great and will ultimately benefit the UX of the desktop itself. Thank you again, @popey, for suggesting me to post here, and thanks everyone for reading this.


I like this idea generally, and for some, like Snapshot and Loupe, seem like no-brainers. (I’ve been using the Loupe snap after uninstalling EOG and it’s great.)

But should we replace an app just because it is old-looking? For example, does Fragments actually function better than Transmission? It’s one thing if an app has stagnated. But Transmission has been updating with a major update about a year ago.


Regarding this I should say that it’ll not be much different. IMHO, transmission as a backend is extremely slow when compared to something like the libtorrent library. I personally, used fragments and recently shifted to qbittorrent and yes the UI there is no good, but obviously it’s still better than transmission.

But, what I wanted to trigger is a discussion regarding all the apps that are used as defaults in the desktop, because it seems like it’s been the same for almost 5 years now.

I tried to compare transmission with fragments and here is what I can say on some small tests

Fragments => UI, Portals

Transmission => complete control

But, still I do believe that fragments also has a lot of controls which includes remote connections, encryption, port limiting etc. I am not here to advocate for any app, rather I want the community to revisit this thing and see if the apps selected are still justified for their positions or not. Thank you for your opinion. That’s a very positive start.


I agree with you, but now it’s too late because Ubuntu 24.04 LTS is already in the freeze phase.

You can use the Ubuntu default install (instead of full install) and then install the apps you want.

Transmission is good, and it’s already ported to GTK4.
The other mentioned apps should be replaced.
The games are already removed. :slight_smile:

Over in AskUbuntu, many “it looks old” complaints turn out to be LTS users who have forgotten that no-change is exactly the point of LTS. They then discover that newer versions have indeed progressed.

Ideally, Ubuntu users should also be volunteering upstream to help keep their favorite applications relevant, debugged, integrated, tested, and speeding through Debian to Ubuntu without hiccups. Many hands make light work.

If your favorite applications are not keeping up, that seems like a possible community problem. Sometimes it is. Sometimes not. Reinvigorating that community may be an alternative to dropping the application.


I cannot completely agree with this point. Simply because the users who form the community are in the end human. They cannot learn all the different techs, skills just so that their favorite apps can keep up.

For example, transmission uses gtkmm libraries instead of regular Gtk. Now for the transmission snap to be on Gtk4, that library needs to be built from source, because those are not in the gnome-sdk. Not to forget, my second point on transmission, that as a backend it’s very slow compared to alternatives.

Similarly, for example rhythmbox or cheese, they were written in C and uses Gtk3, now to upgrade those to latest techs, you’ll need to keep up with those techs. This is obviously a constraint for any normal user.

There are obviously prior tries to keep apps updated in respect to packaging via snaps, and we have got quite a success in that front now. Many popular Gtk and Libadwaita apps have official snap package support. I myself package, maintain 50+ snaps. But, I am also a human with my own set of limitations. So, expecting that community should help to keep up their favorite apps up-to-date is probably not the right thing to say.


I think the programs look just fine. Transmission is also very simple to use and minimalistic. Gnome games were removed (I wish mines would’ve at least stayed). The games you mentioned take a much larger size than the Gnome games that were removed, and Mines is a hypercasual kind of game, that anyone can enjoy, regardless of whether they play games or not. Either way, if the small Gnome games were removed, there’s no way you would find something like SuperTuxKart preinstalled. At best there could be a shortcut that opens the App Center to that specific game and lets the user install it.

I think the future of the Linux desktop is modular. There are more than enough choices of Applications to install. Just provide a bare minimum with file manager, terminal and text editor, and some essential utilities. Once the base system is installed, everyone can install, customize and personalize to their heart’s content. Because that is what most people do in any case…

As mentioned before we are past feature freeze so we are going to consider changing default applications now. Some notes though

  • could you open a topic specific for 1? I haven’t compared those clients but mixing the discussion about different changes in one topic is usually not working great

  • we are trying to replace cheese with snapshot for the LTS (the [MIR](Bug #2052652 “[MIR] gnome-snapshot” : Bugs : gnome-snapshot package : Ubuntu delayed us a bit but we will try to get a FFe for it)

  • we considered loupe but it didn’t feel it was ready/still lacking some feature compared to eog, also rust packaging is a bit challenging. Loupe isn’t a replacement for shotwell, it’s a viewer and not an photo manager.

  • about games, we remove those from the default installation this cycle

  • could you also open a topic about replacing rhythmbox by musicpod? it is too late to do such a change this cycle but we could look at it in the next cycles


I think the mistake in this thread was mixing two very distinct topics:

  1. replacing applications baked into the iso
  2. updating the promoted apps in app center

I only suggested @soumyadghosh start a conversation about 2), not 1) (but that could be my misunderstanding of our conversation on Matrix. Sorry)

I still think 2) is still worthwhile, if people can find better applications to recommend than this lot:

(last changed by me 3 years ago :skull: )

Indeed, at least one of them (Teams) doesn’t even exist in the store anymore. Also, one of them (audacity) is wildly outdated, but that’s on snapcrafters (us) so we’ll fix that.

alan@nuc:~$ for f in $(wget -q -O - | grep -v teams); do echo -n $f" - " && snap info $f | grep '^  latest\/stable' ; done | column -t | sort -k5
audacity                 -  latest/stable:  3.1.3                             2022-09-18  (1051)   261MB  -
0ad                      -  latest/stable:  0.0.26-alpha                      2022-12-09  (592)    1GB    -
vlc                      -  latest/stable:  3.0.19                            2023-10-13  (3721)   336MB  -
warzone2100              -  latest/stable:  4.4.2                             2023-11-29  (6759)   479MB  -
inkscape                 -  latest/stable:  1.3.1-9b9bdc1480-2023-11-25-cust  2023-12-01  (10555)  354MB  -
krita                    -  latest/stable:  5.2.2                             2023-12-10  (98)     495MB  -
simplenote               -  latest/stable:  2.21.0                            2024-01-06  (621)    118MB  -
mailspring               -  latest/stable:  1.13.3                            2024-01-08  (541)    171MB  -
foliate                  -  latest/stable:  3.1.0                             2024-02-03  (1775)   966kB  -
slack                    -  latest/stable:  4.36.140                          2024-02-07  (132)    122MB  -
sublime-text             -  latest/stable:  4169                              2024-02-09  (156)    67MB   classic
plexmediaserver          -  latest/stable:             2024-02-13  (429)    91MB   -
gimp                     -  latest/stable:  2.10.36                           2024-02-22  (428)    540MB  -
obs-studio               -  latest/stable:  30.0.2                            2024-02-23  (1297)   606MB  -
spotify                  -  latest/stable:             2024-02-23  (75)     186MB  -
pycharm-community        -  latest/stable:  2023.3.4                          2024-02-26  (374)    674MB  classic
shotcut                  -  latest/stable:  24.02.29                          2024-02-29  (1389)   154MB  classic
android-studio           -  latest/stable:  2023.2.1.23-Iguana                2024-03-03  (150)    1GB    classic
zoom-client              -  latest/stable:                      2024-03-04  (225)    384MB  -
postman                  -  latest/stable:  10.23.9                           2024-03-05  (244)    180MB  -
discord                  -  latest/stable:  0.0.44                            2024-03-06  (179)    102MB  -
gitkraken                -  latest/stable:  9.13.0                            2024-03-07  (232)    260MB  classic
darktable                -  latest/stable:  4.6.1                             2024-03-08  (216)    331MB  -
opera                    -  latest/stable:  108.0.5067.24                     2024-03-11  (294)    165MB  -
bitwarden                -  latest/stable:  2024.3.0                          2024-03-12  (106)    97MB   -
code                     -  latest/stable:  863d2581                          2024-03-12  (155)    323MB  classic
brave                    -  latest/stable:  1.63.169                          2024-03-12  (373)    172MB  -
intellij-idea-community  -  latest/stable:  2023.3.5                          2024-03-12  (491)    894MB  classic
telegram-desktop         -  latest/stable:  4.15.2                            2024-03-13  (5627)   437MB  -


No, it is not! Stay away from Transmission, it needs no replacement. It’s excellent in its category.

No, it is not!

Rhythmbox is still a major favourite for many in Linux world, and on good performance related reasons. It’s an excellent player for music files, radio and podcasts (and to search for pods).


Probably a dumb question, but is there a connection between what gets promoted in App Center, and the apps presented on this page?

Conceptually I’d think those should be in sync, but it does look like the “Featured Snaps” section at the top of that page differs from what’s coded to be featured in App Center?

Yes, but, that’s not the topic I’m talking about. What you’re looking at are “categories” (on the website), which match the “sections” store backend.

However, the topic I am talking about is specifically the last image in the first-run installer. Which is a simple dialog with a grid of applications, which are “Recommended” immediately after you finish the desktop installation. Each icon is a application from a curated list (see the github link in my post above). This is a separate (hidden) “section” in the backend store, which is only used by the installer.

This (which is an old screenshot, but it’s this stage in the install):

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3 posts were split to a new topic: The Weather

Yes, even my intention is only to updating the promoted apps in the app-center, but, app-center on the home-page has a section called

Jump start your desktop

And it’s the part from where the app starts, and apps that are baked into the ISO, only those are promoted there. For eg, cheese, gnome mines, these apps are promoted here. That’s where I requested the community to revisit about it. Now, I’m not sure if apps that are not baked into the iso will ever be promoted here. Also, 1 thing is very confusing here, Cheese, Transmission, Gnome Calendar are most of the cases preinstalled. Now, when a new user or an average user will open the app, he/she will see that Cheese, Transmission isn’t installed! Because, deb package has no correspondence with the snap package in this new store. So, there might be cases of redundant apps being installed. Like once, I faced such an issue with Foliate, it’s installed both as snap and deb, and the user thought that he was getting snap related issues.

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Do a pull request :wink:

The fact that these snaps are hard-wired in the source of the app store is just bonkers to me.

Especially given the store can already add sections at will and has had for years.

The whole code base should be ripped out and replaced by an easily maintained section in the store.

Sadly I guess we’re too late for Ubuntu 24.04 :frowning:

What do you think @tim-hm @local-optimum @kenvandine (because some of them are yours) :smiley:


Sure… thanks for your support, I’d currently try to create a PR to add fragments, newsflash etc

That’s indeed kinda not so good. I wonder why that happened :thinking:
Getting those list values via http should be easy

I don’t think that vim-tiny should be in ubuntu-desktop because vim-tiny and vim-common are in ubuntu-minimal.

Now there is also gvim and its plugins and for terminals there are a lot of alternatives which could be installed by choice and replacing lines with sed which are catted and then piped without && or || or != is misconception taken from minix :slight_smile: and therefore I think that vim-tiny should be purged from ubuntu-desktop included by ubuntu-minimal.

We should certainly take a look at which snaps are in this list, 3 of the first 6 are published by me, and they aren’t all that exciting. It would be great to bring this more in-line with what’s included in gnome-initial-setup in the first run experience.