Since Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the desktop “Welcome to Ubuntu” tool has shown a selection of recommended applications to users who have recently installed the OS on their system. Here’s what it looks like today:
There’s two pages at the end of the first-run, here’s page two.
The user doesn’t get these applications installed by default. These are simply a set of recommendations. Clicking an icon doesn’t directly install the application, but takes the user to the graphical storefront so they can read the description, license, reviews etc, and then decide whether to install or not.
The list is set inside the Snap Store as a hidden category called “ubuntu-firstrun” and is not release specific. So a user installing Ubuntu 18.04 will see the same as someone testing Ubuntu Hirsute (21.04).
You’ll notice there’s a real developer-focus on the selection. We have popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), code editors, a selection of browsers and some productivity applications. There’s a couple of games thrown in for good measure.
The applications have a variety of licenses. Some are proprietary, others are freely licensed.
Every so often we revisit the list, considering which applications should be shown. Typically we just review and make minor tweaks to the list, adding new, popular and interesting applications, and removing old or no-longer useful ones.
For the avoidance of doubt, nobody has paid to be in the selection, nor has there been any coercion to add or remove something from the list :). It’s just a selection of the thousands of available applications that we, as maintainers of the Ubuntu desktop, think would be useful.
We don’t have hard guidelines on what goes in the list, and what doesn’t. The applications should work well and be well-maintained, have an attractive and accurate store page, and be something many Ubuntu users would like installed.
So in the spirit of openness, I thought I’d write this up, and let you know my thoughts for the coming release. You’ll also notice there’s currently a gap on the second screen. So I’m looking for something to either put there, or slot in elsewhere which nudges all the icons “down” by one.
I think on the whole the current list is good. However that’s just my perspective. I’m keen to hear from the wider community on it.
I’m currently thinking about replacing Bomb Squad (proprietary, unofficial) with Cecconoid (creative commons, official package). I’m also pondering replacing Chromium with Brave, which is officially maintained by the upstream developers now. I have also just learned there’s a major update to Warzone2100 just landed, which might be a good one to switch with Xonotic.
Any other thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome.