Default applications review for 22.10 / 23.04 and beyond

GNOME Font Viewer is a simple app to display the fonts installed on your system.

It however has a habit of crashing - especially for the first few times of usage.

font-manager is a new GTK app that is quick and allows you to manage your fonts.

It is undergoing a rewrite to GTK4 but with an unknown timescale. We have asked a question about libadwaita. There are a few issues outstanding but seems to be robust.

For the moment we should consider changing to font-manager

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how about Kate ?

have a read of https://kate-editor.org/post/2022/2022-03-31-kate-ate-kwrite/

Kate falls under the KDE application suite … which pulls in the huge KDE libraries which will make our ISO huge. So no.

I was thinking of kwrite … hence the link which is smaller

xfce4-taskmanager looks really nice - and integrates well with budgie.

The only real issue I have with this is that it just deals with processes. System Monitor gives more info network / file systems etc etc. As an aside we have shipped Disk Usage aka baobab for file system stuff but that it going libadwaita.

Cheese has an initiative to port to GTk4 and possibly libadwaita. Progress on this appears to be slow.

Are there any other apps? @GrindamN has pointed out using guvcview which looks and feels more feature filled without complicating things. Would have been nice an option to integrate the video window within the settings part.

guvcview is from a project on sourceforge - its ticking along nicely with bug fixes on a regular basis - no major updates for a number of years though.

Think guvcview is a strong candidate to replace cheese unless anyone else has done an indepth analysis for another candidate.

I don’t have an indepth analysis but webcamoid also served me well, the few times I had to use it. I believe it is available from Ubuntu universe repositories. https://webcamoid.github.io

Its a Qt based app - does bring in quite a few packages but relatively small in size.

Does look nice - and it has a new maintainer in Debian that is managing stuff nicely.

Good candidate I think. Its annoying that it defaults to looking for new versions - dunno if there is a way to turn that off as a default.

I would vote for guvcview as Qt based apps often do not look very good, they do not follow the GTK theme.

As already mentioned, the new applications should use client-side decoration if possible…

Indeed. That will need some inspiring devs to submit the changes required on the relevant upstream project … i would assume as an option or assume gnome based desktops such as budgie would default to CSD and others default to menu based.

It’s really great that you are getting rid of legacy libadwaita apps and their outdated theme for more modern apps.
Gnome devs had the arrogance to rename GTK theme in Tweaks as “Legacy Applications” and they are manipulating you into thinking everything that is not adwaita is legacy. The irony is that adwaita is the most legacy theme you can find on Linux. It brings you back to the 90’s and is full of inconsistencies.

There is indeed a hack to bypass libadwaita and bring a more modern look to system settings, clocks, disk usage, calc, etc… and all the legacy libadwaita-enforced apps, I myself am in the process of adapting the Manjaro theme (Matcha) to these. I also use it on Ubuntu (with a different color scheme). Even as a hack, it’s 100x better. Although I’m not there yet.
For system settings, I noticed that pantheon switchboard replaces it quite well. Not sure if it asks for a lot of dependencies.

I was wondering what were your plans about legacy GTK libadwaita apps, and I really appreciate that you won’t get pulled back 30 years by the close-mindedness of Gnome/GTK devs.

If we can manage some overview (Windows 10 or KDE do it already) and some good gestures for workspace switching or window maximizing/unmaximizing, I would absolutely use Budgie as my primary DE, either on Ubuntu or on Manjaro.

For calendar purposes, there’s also the google calendar add-on to Thunderbird.
And I guess some interactivity with the raven calendar was in the books as well.

Sad to read that. Any other text editor would prevent us from being locked in the single version of the workflow truth of Gnome/GTK vision. There probably won’t be any kind of option or feature in their new text editor. Loss of usability for users is quite certain.


Regarding PDF viewing.

I tried atril a while back and it was anything but convincing. Suffers from the same issues as evince. Makes sense as a fork. evince is typically the first app you remove after a fresh Gnome/Budgie/else install as it’s barely useful to read PDFs (barely manages to realize its purpose).

Nowadays I use:

  • Foxit - but I can’t imagine it being default, plus it doesn’t seem to have new versions and it doesn’t scale properly (on 125-150-175-200% zoom).
  • qpdfview (it has a gtk theme although it’s QT)
  • epdfviewer which would be a pretty good fit as default but not sure it’s still developed.

Atril probably fits a default candidate well, but it is just as bad as evince.

Video players is an interesting conundrum - some are feature pack, some are “light weight” but are divorce of deemed useful stuff.

Celluloid formerly gnome-mpv is our current video player. In the next release “1.0” it will be a libadwaita app.

XFCE ships parole - very lightweight in the same category as celluloid arguable.

GNOME Totem is a libhandy based app - more feature packed than most.

Then there are the Qt based apps like VLC and the rather garish looking smplayer.

Totem and Parole are my first thoughts - there is a route map for GTK4 version of Totem but seems to be blocked by quite a few things. So maybe swap to Totem for the foreseeable future but may need to reconsider

We use current gThumb as our image viewer - and it doubles as our photoviewer as well.

Now I know there are dedicated apps for both - eog (Eye of GNOME) and GNOME Photos are fantastic apps by themselves we decided a few years back to ship the one app that has simple but effective capabilities.

In terms of review - gThumb is part of the GTK4 porting initiative but little appears to have been done to-date. It is well maintained - issues seems to be fairly large but looks like being well managed. Debian packaging nothing to worry about here.

If there are better apps available I’m all ears - but for the moment my suggestion here to keep gThumb as the default for Ubuntu Budgie.

GNOME Logs is a graphical app allowing everyone to view various logs that the system produces.

Obviously all logs can be viewed via command line entries. From an ease of use GNOME Logs is a good app to have a default with.

GNOME Logs will be a libadwaita app in the future. There doesn’t seem to be any real alternatives in the archive. So its a question of “drop” or “keep”. I would dare to suggest keep this libadwaita app.

SMPlayer is the best video player on Linux in my 15 years experience of playing videos. Much better than VLC.
But it looks ugly as hell by default, indeed.
Once you apply a theme (I use Fusion style with Papirus icons), I think it doesn’t stand out in a way that is annoying as an app among the GTK apps.
But to make i default would be a stretch. It’s not bloated like VLC but it’s a bit too much for an entry point.

On the other hand, for me Celluloid and Totem are not even good enough to play a video (most videos have subtitles, but they don’t handle them “properly”).

I’m not sure if people still use video players as much in 2022 as between say 2005-2015. Maybe for a video of their cats rather than for a ripped show or movie (it’s all Youtube and Netflix/Prime/Hulu/Disney these days).
Just stick with either Totem or parole (although I don’t know that one) and people can still download VLC or SMPlayer if they want something more powerful.

Regarding the image viewer. I personally have no better suggestion. A while back, I was pissed by eog (which is utter crap), and had a wide look at those image viewers.

And I ended up… with gthumb, which is the better mix in my opinion as well. Let’s cross fingers they take their time to port it.

There’s also Shotwell, but just for viewing and cropping and rotating an image, it’s a bit too much.

GNOME Disks aka gnome-disk-utility displays and manages disk volumes. It can also create ISO files and restore ISO files to USB sticks etc.

It is a libhandy based app. At the moment there are no issues raised upstream related to GTK-4 and/or libadwaita.

If there are any other apps that could in the future be a ready alternative please shout - but for the moment I’m content for this app to continue being a default app for UB.

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Rhythmbox with the Alternative Toolbar (created by me!) has been a staple of our distro for a very long time. It is maintained as a package by Canonical and is in the main repo.

There are no plans for Rhythmbox that I have found that state a GTK4 uplift.

Development is painfully slow.

So is there an alternative good looking music player that is well maintained in the repo?

That’s an open question to you all.

I’m currently thinking about swapping to lollypop - it is actively packaged by Debian. Development is on-going with regular minor point releases every few months. It is a good looking player - with development under the GNOME umbrella Releases · World / lollypop · GitLab