In­stalling Soft­ware

There are many ways to in­stall soft­ware—in and out­side the Ter­mi­nal


MANY LINUX PACK­AGES are stored in what are called on­line “repos­i­to­ries.” These are chan­nels that usu­ally bun­dle to­gether soft­ware of sim­i­lar types, built for spe­cific ver­sions of Ubuntu (so Ubuntu 17.04’s re­pos aren’t the same as those for Ubuntu 16.10, or in­deed 16.04). There are four main chan­nels for each sep­a­rate ver­sion: Main, Re­stricted, Uni­verse, and Mul­ti­verse.

The Main repo con­tains free soft­ware that can be re­dis­tributed freely, and is fully sup­ported by Ubuntu with reg­u­lar up­dates. Uni­verse con­tains a vast ar­ray of free and open source soft­ware, where the com­mu­nity pro­vides up­dates. Re­stricted houses a small set of pro­pri­etary (closed source) tools and driv­ers re­quired to sup­port Ubuntu on ev­ery­day hard­ware, while Mul­ti­verse con­tains soft­ware that is not free nor sup­ported.

These re­pos can then be ac­cessed by pack­age man­agers, such as Soft­ware Cen­ter, to pro­vide you with a con­ve­nient cen­tral lo­ca­tion for lo­cat­ing, in­stalling, and— where sup­ported—au­to­mat­i­cally up­dat­ing pack­ages. Be­yond Repos­i­to­ries The vast ma­jor­ity of pro­grams that you need can be found with these four main re­pos. If you find the Soft­ware Cen­ter a bit lim­ited, try a more ro­bust (and a lit­tle more ad­vanced) pack­age man­ager by search­ing for “Sy­nap­tic” to in­stall the Sy­nap­tic Pack­age Man­ager. This pro­vides a more thor­ough search of re­pos to help you find the pack­ages you’re look­ing for, and pro­vides a more com­pre­hen­sive list of pro­grams out of the box.

Not all pro­grams are avail­able through the de­fault re­pos—some of­fer their own, which you can add to your pack­age man­ager one of two ways: ei­ther via “Set­tings > Soft­ware & Up­dates > Other Soft­ware,” or through the Ter­mi­nal (see right). Once in­stalled, you’re alerted to any up­dates when they’re made avail­able by the soft­ware main­tain­ers.

Other pro­grams can be down­loaded in­di­vid­u­ally as pack­ages, which work in a sim­i­lar way to pro­gram in­stall­ers in Win­dows. These con­tain ev­ery­thing that’s needed for the pro­gram to run suc­cess­fully—not just pro­grams, but ref­er­ences to de­pen­den­cies, too, which you’re prompted to in­stall if they’re not al­ready on your sys­tem. These files of­ten come with a .deb extension— save this to your Down­loads folder, then dou­ble-click the file to pro­ceed—your pack­age man­ager should take over at this point. Note that while it records the in­stal­la­tion, your pack­age man­ager can’t de­tect any up­dates—that’s down to the pro­gram or its main­tainer. In­stall From the Ter­mi­nal Fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with the “apt” range of tools, and you’ll find most of the time the Ter­mi­nal is the quick­est and best way to in­stall stand-alone soft­ware pack­ages. Start with the fol­low­ing com­mand:

$ sudo apt-get up­date

This re­trieves the lat­est pack­age lists (in­clud­ing up­dated ver­sions) from all in­stalled repos­i­to­ries. The fol­low­ing two com­mands in­stall and re­move soft­ware:

$ sudo apt-get in­stall <pack­age> $ sudo apt-get re­move <pack­age>

The fol­low­ing up­dates all in­stalled soft­ware:

$ sudo apt-get up­date && sudo apt-get up­grade

You can also add repos­i­to­ries via the Ter­mi­nal. Many third-party re­pos are hosted at https://launch­ and can be added us­ing the fol­low­ing com­mand:

$ sudo add-apt-repos­i­tory ppa:<repos­i­tory name>

Soft­ware in­stalled from repos­i­to­ries is au­to­mat­i­cally up­dated when ne­c­es­sary.

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