As you have most likely seen on Ghacks, there are numerous ways to keep your Linux distributions up to date. There are new systems available such as the Ubuntu Software Center (see my article "The new Ubuntu Software Center") that make installing software a piece of cake. But even with applications such as the USC in place, there is still a need for other systems.
Take, for instance, the USCs inability to install more than one package at a time...this is a big issue within the Linux community. Add to that the fact that there are many Linux users who prefer to stick with older, more proven technologies, and you can see why other installation tools remain.
One of those tools is PackageKit. PackageKit is a background service charged with updating and installing software on your computer. But because PackageKit itself is just a background service, it requires a front end so that end users can take advantage of the system. One very powerful front end is KPackageKit. KPackageKit is the KDE front end for PackageKit, whereas Gnome PackageKit is the GNOME front end (see my article "Installing applications in Linux with GNOME PackageKIT.")
One of the things I like about KPackageKIT, over the Ubuntu Software Center, is that it can not only install applications, it can update your already installed applications. But unlike USC or Synaptic, you will have to know the name of the software package in order to find it. KPackageKIT does not show all software available. Instead you start up the tool with a blank slate and search for what you want to install. You can search by:
But you can also apply various filters to your search. Included search filters are:
Let's take a look and see how software is installed with KPackageKIT.
You can start the application two ways: Command line or from the menu. To start from the command line hit <Alt>F2 to open the run dialog and enter the command kpackagekit. To start the tool from the KDE menu click on the menu, click on the Computer tab, and then click on the KPackageKIT entry (see Figure 1).
When KPackageKIT starts what you will see is a fairly simple interface (see Figure 2). From this window you are able to:
Let's install the Scribus DTP tool as an example. Follow these simple steps:
Updating your system with KPackageKIT is just as simple. Follow these steps:
From within the Configuration section there are a minimal number of options to configure. The primary configuration to take care of here is adding new software sources. To add a new repository follow these steps:
If you manually edit your /etc/apt/sources.list (or your Yum repository file - depending upon your distribution) these changes will appear in KPackageKIT.
Although not perfect, KPackageKIT is certainly a viable solution for Linux software installation. If you need a simple KDE-based means of installing software, and do not want to use the command line, this tool might be just what you need.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.