In the Ubuntu Software Center paid (commercial) applications get a section called 'Also requires' which is quite neat.

Why don't the free applications get this feature?

For example Amnesia: The Dark Descent in USC says (see screenshot also)

Also requires: mouse OpenGL hardware acceleration.

enter image description here

Where does this information actually come from?

  • +1 for asking this question. I had also noticed this today, in the Ubuntu software Center. – saji89 Jun 1 '12 at 15:19
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    My first impression is: legal issues. You're paying for them, so the developers are afraid they'll be sued for anything they didn't explicitly mention. Free software usually has some "this is what you get and you're on your own if you run into problems" remark. – jippie Jun 1 '12 at 16:13

Furthermore where does this information actually come from?

The information is downloaded from the Ubuntu servers provided that the developers set/uploaded it when they first added the application to the Software Center catalog.

Why don't the free applications get this feature?

  • As you can tell from Amnesia and other commercial apps, this "feature" lists primarily hardware requirements, not software. This is a separate Software Center catalog feature.

  • Software Center lists pretty much all the "free" applications via the standard repositories, and the standard "Debian" format they use does not have such a custom field (call it hardware-depends).

  • Developers of free applications can certainly choose to provide this information if they separately upload the application to Software Center instead of relying on the standard repositories. If there is a specific free application you would like to see this for, please contact the developers.

Seeing software requirements (dependencies) for free apps

If you would like to see the software a free application depends on (and will install along with it), you can try using Synaptic - an alternative but slightly more complicated package manager.

I will use the free game ExtremeTuxRacer as an example - note the second screenshot in particular:

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    To me, this doesn't really answer the question – 8128 Jun 1 '12 at 15:16
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    @fluteflute : the brutally honest answer to the question is to open up a wishlist bug with Debian asking for hardware-depends. – ish Jun 1 '12 at 15:26
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    This doesn't answer the question because you said the information comes "from the developers". However, I seriously doubt that software centre contacts the developers of the software every time I load it up; that would get annoying for them, and what if they are not at their PC? So where does the information really come from, and why can't information for free applications be stored in the same place? – Alistair Buxton Jun 1 '12 at 16:49
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    Well, it was you who said it "comes from developers". Now you're saying it comes from Ubuntu servers. Which is it? Yes, this is a real question; it's the question the person originally asked! And you still haven't explained why this can't be done for free applications too. – Alistair Buxton Jun 1 '12 at 17:21
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    I think the confusion here has arisen as a consequence of there being two valid and reasonable meanings of the term "comes from." However, izx has explained why free apps don't have this info--Ubuntu uses Debian's system of providing free applications, and that system does not do this. The system of for-pay proprietary apps available in the Software Center had to be developed specifically for Ubuntu since Debian doesn't provide that, and consequently it was easy to add extra features not easily accommodated easily by pure apt. – Eliah Kagan Jun 1 '12 at 21:40

Adding to @izx's answer, the hardware requirements can be more important when paying for software ($20 in this instance). It would suck to have to find out you don't have appropriate hardware when you've already paid.

  • Good point @lutzky! – ish Jun 8 '12 at 8:48

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