Your installed packages can be maintained using Adept Updater. But what about new programs? Like all Linux distributions, programs can be installed in the good old fashioned way - by downloading tarballs, extracting them and then running manual configurations or setups. This will also work well in Kubuntu. However, (K)ubuntu aims at being a simple distribution that can be used by people with little Linux experience and knowledge.
So, how do you "request" a package in Kubuntu?
Start the Adept Updater from the K Menu: K Menu > System > Adept (Package Manager). Again, you will be prompted for your password.
Adept will have a slightly different layout from what we have seen during the system update. Do not be alarmed. It's the same tool with the same functionality. By clicking Fetch Updates, the Manager will start downloading the updates, Preview Changes will let you see the list of tasks you intend to do before committing them, Full Upgrade will select all of the available upgrades for existing, installed packages and add them to the updates list etc.
You can search for an individual program by using the Search field. For instance, I'm interested in Firefox.
After typing firefox in the Search field and hitting Enter, I'm presented with a list of available packages. From their status, I can see that I do not have Firefox installed. You may expand any of the packages to learn more about them, as well as Request Install. You can also right-click on any of the packages and select Request Install from the menu.
You do not need to select all of the available packages - this requires too much time and knowledge about package dependencies. You just need to select the core application - in our case firefox. The needed dependencies will be automatically resolved.
In this example, I only selected Firefox browser for installation, although 95 other system upgrades are available. By clicking Apply Changes, the download and installation were started.
As you may notice, Kubuntu and SUSE are very similar.
After a few minutes, Firefox will be installed and Adept will return to its main menu window. The installation will complete without any great visual effects and unless you are staring at the screen, you may miss it. But do not worry. The package will have been installed. Start Firefox via K Menu > Internet > Firefox Web Browser (Web Browser).
After a few moments, Firefox will be open and running:
What have we done so far?
- We use Software Management to look for programs and install them.
- Then, we may use the updater in the 'system tray' to look for upgrades for existing packages.
- We use Adept Manager to look for programs and install them.
- Then, we may use the updater in the 'system' tray to look for upgrades for existing packages.
In SUSE, we added extra repositories using Installation Source in YaST. In Kubuntu, we can also add extra sources to the basic list, which is initially used by Adept Manager to look for updates. We will soon do that.
The above graphical procedure can be also done via command line. Although this concept may sounding daunting to Linux beginners, mastering the few basic concepts can greatly improve your overall feel of control of your new operating system.
Open a Konsole (K Menu > System > Konsole (Terminal Program)).
To install a package, write the following command:
sudo apt-get install XXX
Substitute the generic XXX name with a real name of the application that you need. Sounds crazy, but that's it! The above command does a number of things simultaneously:
- It refers to the list of available download sources (repositories) as stated in the /etc/apt/sources.list file.
- It contacts the server with relevant requests and downloads the necessary packages.
- It installs the packages.
In fact, this is exactly what Adept Manager does, beneath the guise of the GUI. This also brings me to the important issue of installation sources.
Adding installation sources
You may not be satisfied with the default list of sources. You may want to add your own. Needless to say, you should trust these sources for your downloads and installations.
Sources can be added via Adept or command line. In Adept Manager, click Adept > Manage Repositories. To add a new source, write down the correct path of the repository in the New Repository field. Click Add to insert your source into the existing list. When satisfied with the changes, click Apply or Close.
As you may notice, this is very similar to Installation Sources in YaST in SUSE Linux. Mastering one distribution will greatly help you overcome the challenges of other distributions. In command line, open the /etc/apt/sources.list using a text editor, for example:
sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list
Add the required line somewhere in the body of the text, save the changes and exit. Next time you look for packages, the Adept Manager will refer to the new source(s) as well. Command Line is not a monster, eh?
Automatix is a graphical interface for automating the installation of most commonly used packages in Debian-based Linux operating system. Please refer to Automatix site for more details. You do not necessarily need it, especially since most of the packages are available in the repositories. Still it is a very comfortable complement to your system resources.
To install Automatix, you will need to:
- Add a repository to your sources list and install GPG keys.
- Download and install Automatix.
There are several Internet sources that document this operation in detail (some of these repeat each other):
- Introduction to Automatix on Ubuntu forums.
- Step-by-step installation guide on Ubuntu forums.
- Step-by-step installation guide on Automatix official site.
After installing Automatix, it will be added to your System entry in the K Menu. You can run it from the command line or from the Menu. This is what the GUI looks like: