Categories will never be the one and only method of finding software. We will continue to work to improve the Center’s search function, and to introduce recommendations and other methods of discovery. But categories are important for discovering exactly what is available, especially in areas that hadn’t even occurred to you before.

The current departments and subsections shown in the Ubuntu Software Center are derived mostly from the menu specification. However, this categorization is a bit awkward and does not scale to the number of applications and other software packages we want to display. Some examples:

  • As more software integrates with the Internet, the “Internet” category is becoming bloated and less relevant. For instance, the collaborative text editor Gobby is in “Internet” merely because the collaboration usually takes place over the Internet.
  • Many applications in the “Office” category are equally or more applicable to home, school, or university — for example, word processors, spreadsheets, and calendar software.
  • Many applications in the “Education” category are equally or more applicable to professions or hobbies — especially those relating to human languages.
  • Because the categories are designed primarily for graphical applications, there are no obvious categories for things like server software.
  • All the categories need subcategories, so that (for example) you do not have to wade through first-person shooters while looking for a card game.
  • “System” is a wastebasket taxon — a category containing only those items that don’t have a better category. The more sensible departments/subsections we can create and move out of it, the better.

Assume that we can change anything about this set of categories. (We could implement this partly with approved changes to the menu specification, and/or partly with a separate category system.)

Assume also that each item will be allowed to have a primary category and subcategory, and if necessary also a secondary category and subcategory for easier finding. (For example, Aeskulap Viewer could have “Science” > “Medicine” as its primary categorization, and “Graphics” > “Viewers” as its secondary categorization.) Once installed, an application would appear in the menu only under its primary category, not any subcategories.

Now, what should the ideal categories and subcategories be? Present your ideas here — whether for the collection as a whole, or just for part of it. Please sign your name with each proposal, and put a separator (----) between proposals. Thanks!

  • Applications:
    • Games
      • Action
      • Adventure
      • Boardgames
      • Cards
      • Educational
      • Music
      • Puzzle (was Logic)
      • Racing
      • Roleplaying
      • Shooter
      • Simulation
      • Sports
      • Strategy

This is largely consistent with the game categories at, although I simplified it a touch for areas we probably don't have a huge number of games yet.

  • -- BryceHarrington

    Does an FPS appear both in “Action” and in “Shooter”? Or does “Action” mean “Any action game that isn’t a shooting or sports game”? — MatthewPaulThomas

Freshmeat and Sourceforge use the Trove system for organizing their stuff, I believed it's based off of this. -- jorge 2009-08-28 23:10:50

Use the same categories as KDE as they follow the XDG spec. Also if someone does install a program from an outside source, we can be relativity certain it will be placed in the right category. Finally it will promote continuity over various *buntu variants.

--Corey Buckingham

  • Thanks, but that’s begging the question. This is about changing the categories, at the XDG level if necessary. — MatthewPaulThomas

Some possible subcategories for the current "Internet" category could be

  • Communications - Email, IM, and various others like Ekiga
  • Downloading - FTP and Bittorrent clients, as well as stand-alone download managers.
  • Firefox & Thunderbird Extensions - There are enough of these to deserve their own category.

  • Web Browsers - Firefox, Epiphany, Midori, Arora, etc.
  • Webapps - All of the "Prisms" currently listed for Gmail, Facebook, etc.
  • News (RSS) Readers - Liferea etc.
  • Blogging - Drivel etc.

The last two categories are perhaps too small to be on their own. There would also need to be an 'other' group for things which don't fit anywhere else. The order of the list at this point is random and would need thought. Comments?

--Evan Huus

Proposed Category Breakdown

Starting rationale: More than 2 levels of categories (in most cases!) is useless and confusing to users. you don't want them to have to drill down too far. Games are an exception. Too many category options or too few is bad Standards allow users to know what to do even when visiting somewhere new

What I've done: 8 General categories from 11 existing ones 3 subcategories for every 8 category- not too many, not too few Subcategories share naming conventions so users understand even if they have not visited that particular subcategory before (ie, --- Browsing always leads you to content viewers, Creative always to content creating tools, tools always to programs that perform functions assisting other programs or content use)... ...yet unique names are used where appropriate to avoid confusion and inflexibility


  • Social (IM, Email, file-sharing)
  • Internet Browsing (Web browsers, internet radio, downloading programs, plugins, javascript etc)
  • Creative (Web authoring content)

*Utilities (Accessories combined with System Tools):

  • Tools (archiving tools + contents of system tools)
  • System Browsing (anything for viewing content- Organizers, library tools, file managers, desktop environments, codecs)
  • Creative (anything for creating content - diary, programming/text editors, note takers etc)

*Media (Graphics combined with Sound & Video):

  • Codec Center (all codecs, + guides on media setup)
  • Media Browsing (content viewers, like totem or photo galleries, cd ripping + listening tools etc)
  • Creative (Video, audio and graphics editing tools)


  • Casual
    • Card
    • Board
    • Logic
  • Hardcore
    • Action
    • Role Playing
    • Strategy
  • Tools (emulators, system testing, Play On Linux, Wine)


  • Information Browsing (anything that displays or organises existing content ONLY)
  • Creative (anything that creates office content like a word processor)
  • Tools (anything performing functions not covered in the other two... strain relievers, WINE)


  • Teacher Software
  • Student Software
  • Tools (self explanatory)


  • Reporting (bug reporting, system analysis, code analysis etc)
  • Programming (Programing languages and tools, IDEs and SDKs)
  • Collaboration (tools for coordinating or managing projects)

*Universal Access:

  • Vision Assistance (text to speech, braille etc)
  • Physical Assistance (software keyboards, webcam mouse control)
  • Unique Assistance (RSI preventors etc)

Other: Remove this general category completely and sort into existing categories... even make more if need be. “Other” is just lazy.

Just some general thoughts I had. Not sure if it's any good.

--Scott Moelker

"Engineering" Category Addition

Engineering as top level section would be rather nice. Education implies that the programs are for learning. Circuit capture and signal analysis is really not for learning in my situation, it is engineering work.

-- Dereck Wonnacott

  • For 2.0 I’ve changed “Science” to “Science & Engineering”, with “Electronics” and “Engineering” subsections amongst others. — MatthewPaulThomas

The exact names for each category or sub-category don't matter. Second tier of sub-categories can be dismissed if it is determined to be a bother.

  • Applications:
    • Games
      • Action
        • Shooters
      • Adventure
        • Visual Novel
        • Point-and-click/classical adventure games, including the ones that use text commands.
      • Board Games
      • Card Games
      • Educational Games (does this perhaps belong instead with the rest of the software @ Applications -> Educational?)

      • Puzzle
      • Role-Playing
      • Simulation (does this really count as a game? doesn't this really belong elsewhere?)
      • Sports
        • Athletics
        • Single-player (like tennis, golf, or bowling).
        • Team sports
        • Racing.
      • Strategy
        • Real-time
        • Turn-based
    • Multimedia
      • Converter Utilities
      • Editor tools
      • Media Players
      • Recording Utilities
      • Hardware Controls
      • Disk Authoring/Editing

--Yitzchak Schwarz

SoftwareCenter/Classification (last edited 2011-08-21 07:08:40 by s-y-schwarz)