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Just freshly installed from 12.04 after using 11.04 and dist-upgrading to 11.10 a few months back, figured a fresh installation was due.

First thing I noticed is that synaptic is no longer installed by default. I've no issues with this, and assume the approach to install packages is now via the ubuntu software center.

However, I notice there are a lot of packages missing. I was looking for "vagrant", which I've had to install manually with a sudo apt-get install, but was hoping to use GUI for most things. Surely there is a GUI way?

I also noticed when checking for "vim", it comes up with gVim and a little note at the bottom saying "show 2 technical items", which when clicked shows the vim I was looking for.

Just curious what the expected GUI way is of installing these supposed "technical packages".

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Actually they should appear in the Software Center, so that is an odd problem.

I guess a simple way around your problem would be to just install synaptic again, it's still in the repos:

Click to install

You also might want to update your Package- Lists and give the Software Center another try, but I doubt that it will make a difference.

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Installing synaptic or packages via apt-get manually isn't an option. I'm trying to rate a few different linux distros "out of the box" to see which one I like best, without "fixing" stuff. If latest ubuntu can't install packages I want with a default GUI then it's off to a slow start. –  tigris May 7 '12 at 1:02
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