A very good way to have GNOME is to grab an Arch Linux image. Hmm, lets rephrase this. Probably the best way to get into Linux Desktop -almost any desktop UI-, is to grab and install an Arch Linux image.
However an annoying issue under Arch for GNOME installations is the absence of gSoftware. You can say, we are Arch-ers, we don’t really need a simplified software “seek and install” GUI.
On the other hand, Arch has suddenly grew up, Ubuntu has stopped to be an attractive distro to “spin” anymore, and many promising Arch derivatives are popping up lately, targeting to people that aren’t so much interested to dedicate time and learn how Linux works. They just want to use it. Yes, there are such people, shame on them ;)
gSoftware provides a cool way to discover additional software!
The point is that gSoftware definitely deserves to be into Arch, and don’t forget that in version 3.12, gSoftware is also responsible to create the apps-folders for Shell, while it also provides mechanisms to send data over distribution authors helping them to improve their product according to their user needs.
GNOME Software on Arch
It is possible to install PackageKit and gSoftware in Arch, but it will not work as is supposed to. Richard Hughes recently (a couple of days ago) published his work for bridging gSoftware on Ubuntu, and you can read the details on these two posts, GNOME Software on Ubuntu and GNOME Software on Ubuntu II.
Today, Richard responded to Sriram Ramkrishna’s (GNOME Engagement / Intel) question about gSoftware status on Arch:
Looking at the reactions around the internet from the release, it seems that GNOME is very popular on Arch Linux based distros. In fact, in about three weeks most Arch Linux folks will already be on GNOME 3.12 and enjoying the fruits of six months of our labor while most others are still waiting for an official release. While they might be able to obtain through COPR or some other method they aren’t official.
Unfortunately, none of them will be able to enjoy GNOME Software, due to the fact that there is no active development of a pacman backend for packagekit. Arch Linux users are missing out on a major part of the GNOME eco-system
What can we do to rectify this situation? Given the large popularity of Arch Linux its undeniable that they are a big part of our customer base.
There are two problems here. One is that indeed, the PackageKit arch backend is under-maintained, and doesn’t support the newer features that gnome-software uses so heavily (e.g. the new filter enums). The second is that arch does not generate AppStream metadata, so even if the PackageKit backend worked well enough, there would be no rich content (long translated descriptions, screenshots, ratings, etc) to show.
If anyone from arch wants to make this work, please grab me on #PackageKit on freenode and we can talk in more detail.
There is also a discussion in Arch Mailing Lists, 2 days ago.