GNOME PackageKit (popularly known as Add/Remove Software, Software Install, Packages or simply Software) is an open source application that helps users to easily manage packages under the GNOME desktop environment.
As its name suggests, it is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) front-end for the PackageKit command-line application, written in GTK+ and designed to run on any Linux distribution that uses the GNOME desktop.
The user interface is pretty simple, comprised of a sidebar with the main software categories, a built-in search function, as well as a main view area where the contents of a category and search results are being displayed.
What is PackageKit?
PackageKit is an open source system engineered to make installing and updating software on a Linux-powered computer a lot easier. It unifies all the graphical tools that are used in various distributions, such as apt, yum, conary, and others.
Actually, PackageKit acts as an interface to the aforementioned package management backends, thus supporting almost all open source desktop environments and Linux-based operating systems.
Besides GNOME PackageKit, which is used only on GNOME or GTK+-based desktop environment, various other PackageKit GUI front-ends are available, such as Apper for the KDE desktop environment, Assassin for Openmoko, and Listaller for various distributions.
Supported GNU/Linux operating systems
The project is used in numerous open source projects, such as Fedora Linux, Foresight Linux, Moblin Linux, Kubuntu, openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, Nautilus, Brasero, Zero Install, system-config-printer, and Anjuta IDE.
Therefore, no matter what distribution of Linux you use, if you install the GNOME PackageKit software, you’ll be able to quickly and easily install, update or remove packages from the system using a graphical application, instead of the default command-line package management tool.
Unfortunately, the GNOME PackageKit software is at the point of being replaced by the GNOME Software application on the forthcoming versions of the GNOME desktop environment.