I understand that tracker is no longer installed by default on the Ubuntu desktop. Nevertheless, I really like having a desktop search tool. (When I used to work with Windows XP I thought that Google Desktop was a killer app!).

I recently upgraded to Natty and reinstalled tracker. I noticed that the most updated version found in Universe (and on the Tracker stable PPA) is of version 0.8.17, yet looking at the Tracker website apparently the most updated version is 0.10, and they are working on 0.11. WOuld love to know if we should expect updates and if work is being done for integration with Unity.

I would also love to know if there are any real alternatives to have a desktop search tool which cleanly integrates with Unity (which has become default with Natty).


Tracker's packages are sync'd from the Debian project as is a lot of the software in the Ubuntu repositories. So getting an updated version depends on the upstream keeping the package updated and getting it updated in Debian. From there it will be sync'd into the Ubuntu repositories every new release.

I'm uncertain of Tracker's life in the Ubuntu project. Zeitgeist has replaced Tracker in Unity for desktop searching and indexing and is already integrated into the Unity interface. Using Dash you can search through files, folders, contacts, applications, and many other aspects of the desktop - all powered through Zeitgeist.

  • 1
    However, Zeitgeist only logs recent events. If you want to access files which you have not opened before, it is useless. Why is tracker not used to fill that gap in Unity? – Ingo Apr 9 '11 at 12:29
  • 2
    Following Ingo's comment, as far as I understand Zeitgeist and Tracker have completely different targets and goals. Tracker is an indexing tool that helps searching within files (or other objects) (regardless of events that happened with the specific objects), whereas Zeitgeist is a logging tool so that you can do event-based search of your objects. I would use Tracker to know what files on my hd contain the word "Xylophone", and I would use Zeitgeist to know what files I opened last Sunday – S B Apr 9 '11 at 15:54
  • 1
    @Ingo @SB Zeitgeist has a full search plugin which will search files that you may or may not have opened yet - much like tracker. The reason Zeitgeist is becoming the defacto norm is because it can do most of the common functions of tracker while adding additional support (indexing application, history tracking). – Marco Ceppi Apr 9 '11 at 16:24
  • But that plugin is not enabled by default, is it? As if I search something in the Dash, only the recent files are displayed. – Ingo Apr 10 '11 at 7:11
  • 1
    OK, upon further searching, I stumbled across this quote from the Zeitgeist wiki What Zeitgeist is not Zeitgeist is not a search engine. If you have some file on your system, then don't expect zeitgeist to search for it. It is not the work of zeitgeist to scan you disks and find files. It's work is to track your activities and log it. As opposed to general misconception, zeitgeist doesn't track files. Zeitgeist deals with events and not files. There are events where no file is involved like recieveing a call. – S B Apr 17 '11 at 14:45

From http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2011/04/04/%23ubuntu-desktop.txt:

<seb128> chrisccoulson, btw should be [we] try to get tracker 0.10 synced from debian or something,
<seb128> ?
<seb128> it seems like that's the sort of things where we should better get the current serie
<chrisccoulson> seb128 - i don't mind. i haven't tried it yet (i haven't looked at tracker in ages)
<chrisccoulson> it probably would be good to have though

So I'd be mildly optimistic that Tracker 0.10 will land in Ubuntu 11.04. There's also a bug report to follow.

  • 1
    The Debian archives only have it at 8.17-1 which is probably why it's not updated. – Marco Ceppi Apr 9 '11 at 16:25
  • Oh, that 0.10 linked in the report is in Debian experimental. – htorque Apr 9 '11 at 16:33

OK, after a while, turns out that there is indeed progress done on that front. Following this bug report (previously mentioned in @htorque's answer) the new stable release of tracker 0.10.x is indeed packaged and will be in the universe repository of Ubuntu. Mild bad news, it is currently only packaged for oneiric (11.10) - hope this changes and it is backported to Natty.


More progress: Precise 12.04 packages Tracker version 0.14.0-2ubuntu1

But it is not installed by default.

See also What is the best desktop search tool? - Ask Ubuntu

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.