Getting to Know Linux: Installing applications in Ubuntu
You have finally managed to get Ubuntu installed and you are up and running. And even though there are tons of new and exciting pieces of software on your hard drive, you still long for more. Never fear, installing applications in Ubuntu is as simple as it gets.
As with everything Linux, there are multiple ways to install applications: Command line, from source, from binary, or GUI front end. What we are going to discuss is the Ubuntu Graphical Package Management front end Synaptic.
Synaptic is an incredibly easy to use front end for the apt package management system. Synaptic is a one-stop-shop for applications. You can think of it as an equivalent to the Apple App Store for the iPhone - only you don't have to pay for anything. You just fire up Synaptic, search for the application you want to install, select the application, and click Apply. You will, of course, have to supply your sudo password in order for the changes to be applied.
Let's take a closer look at how Synaptic works.
Fire it up!
When you first start up Synaptic you will be greeted by the main window.
As you can see there are three panes, a toolbar, a menu list, and organization selection icon list. The panes are fairly simple:
- Left Pane: This is the package listing. From here you can select categories of applications.
- Upper Right Pane: This pane lists the various packages from either categories or search results.
- Lower Left Pane: This pane reveals information about a selected package.
Let's first take a look at how to search and install a resulting application. Say you want to install ardour (an open source digital audio workstation). Enter ardour into the Search text area and hit enter. The results will pop up in the upper right pane.
As you can see the package you were looking for is right at the top of the list. To install Ardour on your system click the check box and a menu will appear. This menu is the action menu that allows you to select what action to take on a package. If the package is not installed your only option will be to mark the package for installation. You "mark" packages this way so you can go through and mark multiple packages to install, remove, re-install, upgrade.
Once you have marked all of the packages you can then click Apply and a new window will appear. This new window informs you what will need to be installed to resolve any dependencies for the requested application.
Once you click "Mark" you will be sent back to the main window where you can click "Apply". After clicking Apply you will have one more window to view which is the Summary Window.
Once you click Apply the progress window will open to show you how things are going.
When the application installation is complete a window will appear informing you the process is finished.
Now let's say you don't know what package you want to install, but you know what category it would fall under. Let's stick with our example above. Since we know Ardour is an audio application we can be pretty sure it will fall under the multimedia category. If you click through the three Multimedia listings in the category pane (left pane) you will find Ardour in the Multimedia(universe) repository.
Once you find the listing you will walk through the same steps as you would have above.
And that's it. Installing an application in Ubuntu is simple. On top of the system being simple, it is a centralized repository where you can find thousands upon thousands of possible applications to install.Advertisement