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Can I open .debs with Synaptic in 11.10?

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http://askubuntu.com – Ubuntu Software Center is so sl-o-o-o-o-w... Seriously, I can launch a virtual machine with some Windows apps faster than it takes Software Center to load! I dislike Software Center so much I installed Synaptic ages ago, and that loads in 2 seconds! Perfect. Well almost - I can't seem to open downloaded .debs with it. Can I change things so that Synaptic opens .debs by default? Is it possible to remove Software Center completely and replace it with Synaptic? (HowTos)