How To: Search With apt

Today we’ll learn how to search with apt. There are any number of reasons why you’d want to do this. You can use this to find applications by name or subject. Maybe you want to find files that meet a certain criteria? It could be that you’ve forgotten the name of the application you’re thinking of? Perhaps you want to know if an application is available in the repositories before you go seeking it elsewhere?

There are all sorts of reasons, including those, why you might want to search with apt. Obviously, this requires an operating system that uses apt, so that limits you to things like Debian, Ubuntu, official Ubuntu flavors, Linux Mint, etc… So, well, it’s a pretty sizable number of distros where this will work.

This will be a pretty simple article. It will also be pretty brief. I’ve likely mentioned searching in another apt article, but it’s important that we cover it. Alas, I’m running out of things that make for longer articles (in the notes I’m working from), so this is just another article where I’m trying to make you aware that certain tools exist.

This should absolutely be a short and easy to understand article. In some recent commentary, I realized that what’s ‘simple’ to me is something that someone else has been dealing with for the past year. Even my easier articles have the chance to help people figure out their Linux problems. Good… It makes me feel better when I write an ‘easy’ article.

So, with all that said… Let’s learn how to:

Search With apt:

This article pretty much requires an open terminal, like oh so many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, and you should by now – if you’ve been following along long enough, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Now, it should go without saying, apt is how you interact with your package manager. It’s how you install, uninstall, or otherwise manage your software in the terminal. You could insist on using a GUI to install software, in which case this won’t be of much interest to you, or you could just do it all in the terminal. Either way, if you are using a different package manager then this will be of no value to you.

Me? I prefer to do this sort of stuff in the terminal because I find it easier and faster. I’ve already got a terminal open anyhow, so I might as well use it.

Anyhow, with your terminal open, go ahead and type:

For example:

Seriously, if you’ve never used the search function, go ahead and try the above command. You might be surprised by what you find.

Now, if you’re trying to narrow it down some, you can use the –names-only flag. Which isn’t as accurate as it could be. For example, try:

But, as near as I can tell, that’s searching not just the names but also searching the one-liner description. Like, if you run the above command you’ll also see ‘terminator’, which is definitely not ‘terminal’.

However ‘terminator’ includes ‘terminal’ in the description. So, I’m not sure where that’s going with that and the man pages weren’t all that helpful. You can also use RegEx (Regular Expressions, for the uninitiated). For example,  you can run:

This, of course, only works if you have Google’s Chrome repositories enabled. Otherwise, pick something else to test this with. Or, just trust me when I say RegEx works, which the man page will confirm.

Anyhow, our example command from above would (on this computer) would have an output that looks like this:

Which, as you can see, means I have multiple versions of Chrome available. So, that’s something positive in my life! But, the point is, I did a search with apt and came away with the information I wanted. I’d normally send you to the application’s man page, but in that probably won’t make it all that much clearer. 

Closure:

Yeah, that’s it. You can now search with apt and find what you’re looking for. Use some of your own search terms, like apt-cache search image editor, and see what sorta results you get. It’s not the most refined, but it’s an effective way to search with apt.

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Let’s Learn Some apt Basics

Today we’ll be learning a little about some apt basics. This is only useful if your distro uses apt to manage software. If you aren’t using a distro that does (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc) then this probably isn’t an article that will interest you much, and that’s fine. With the great variety there is in the Linux world, it won’t always be an article that matters to you. Better luck tomorrow! Well, two days from now… 

In the past we’ve covered quite a few apt commands. Here are a few that are poorly formatted ’cause, you know, WordPress…

How To: Clear The apt Cache

Use ‘apt’ To Download A Program And Its Dependencies

Use ‘apt-cache’ To Find An Application’s Homepage

Those are a few – but there are actually more than that. If you’re unfamiliar with apt, you can click any of those articles and learn more about it.

For those of you whose systems use apt to manage packages, this article is for you. If you aren’t aware, apt is the package manager application that you’ll interact with more often than not (if you do things in the terminal).

Apt has a number of commands, of course. As a package manager, it’s bound to be a robust and potentially complicated application. Today, we’ll just be covering a few simple apt commands that you’re most likely to use. It will not be an exhaustive article because of time constraints, reader attention limits, and usefulness. My goal was never to replicate man pages. You’ve still gotta read ’em.

So then, without further ado…

Some apt Basics:

If you want to use apt, you have to have an open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard. Press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, you can easily install applications with apt. You’ll need to know the package name for the software you want to install, however. So, you can search for packages easily enough:

For example, you can use ‘terminal’ in there as a keyword and get a ton of options, all of which should be installable easily. Again, these are just apt basics.

Now that you know, or you may already have known, the package name, you can install it with:

You don’t need to do the runaround with dpkg for local .deb files, by the way. I’m not sure why people still suggest that? If there’s a good reason for doing it that way, please let me know in the comments. You can just use apt and it works just fine – including resolving dependencies (when they’re able to be resolved). To install a local .deb file with apt:

If you want to get the information for a specific package, you can use the ‘show’ command. That’s easy enough:

If you want to see the dependencies, that is the other applications that need to be installed in order to make it work, then you just check the dependencies with:

If you want to remove a package with apt, then you can just read this article to decide which command is right for your needs:

‘sudo apt remove’ vs ‘sudo apt purge’

That’ll answer it nicely enough.

Closure:

There you have it. You have an article about apt basics, and that’s all it is. You’ll note that not all apt commands need elevated permissions, so there’s no need to use sudo unless you’re adding or removing software. The other commands can be run without elevated permissions.

There’s more to apt. Yes, yes there is. Type man apt and you’ll get an idea of the available options. This article is just some apt basics, the things I think you’re most likely to need on a day to day basis. 

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How To: Clear The apt Cache

In today’s article, we’re going to learn how to clear the apt cache. This is only useful if your distro uses the apt package manager. If your distro doesn’t use apt, this article is of no use to you. This isn’t a complicated article, but it’s one that should probably be included on this site.

If you don’t know if your distro uses apt, you really need to pay more attention! However, run ‘which apt‘ in the terminal and it’ll let  you know if apt is present.

If you’re using Debian, Ubuntu, an official Ubuntu flavor, or any derivative thereof (such as Mint), you’re using ‘apt’ as your package manager. Of course, if you’re new and not all that familiar with apt, you’re able to use this site’s search feature and find out some more information. Feel free to do so, as I’ve written a few articles on various apt features.

If you want, you can read this article from FOSSLinux for a great rundown on APT vs aptitude, that’ll also answer some other questions along the way. It’s a great article to understand apt, not just the differences between apt and aptitude.

When you install applications and updates with apt, the .deb files are cached on your device. In time, this can build up and use more space than you really want to have spent on such a feature. So, let’s learn how to clean it.

Clear The apt Cache:

Obviously, this article requires an open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Now, you can see what is going to be deleted – which directories that is – by using the dry-run flag.

Those are the directories which will be cleaned. The first command you might already know is this one, which seems to be one of the favorites for new users:

However, that only removes cached packages if there’s a newer version in the repositories. I don’t really see much use for that, but it’s there, a feature, and often a command that newbies are told to run.

Instead, you can clear out all those directories of no-longer-needed .deb files. Just run the first command without actually doing a dry run. It is done like so:

That’s really all there is to it. I mostly wanted to ensure folks knew how to clear the cache – and that the difference between the commands was mentioned somewhere on the site. I don’t expect the site to be some giant repository that’s ‘complete’, but I do need to cover the basics now and again.

Closure:

Well, today you’ve learned to clear the apt cache. Again, this isn’t going to do you any good if you’re using RHEL, Fedora, or even Arch! But, if you use a distro that uses apt, you might as well know this information. And, well, now you do…

Also, I linked to another site with similar content! I don’t do that often! Their write-up was just too good to pass up, so I don’t mind sending them the traffic. It saved me like an hour’s worth of writing – while trying to fit it into a block of no more than 300 words. So, I’m very, very much okay with linking to content like that.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Use ‘apt’ To Download A Program And Its Dependencies

In this article, we’ll discuss a way to use ‘apt’ to download a program and its dependencies. The usual reason to do this is to install said program on an offline computer. We’ll be doing it all nice and neatly, just using the ‘apt’ application along the way. It won’t be all that difficult, but will be easy to link to and reference.

As I said, the usual reason to do this is because you have a computer that’s not online and you want to install some software on that computer. This could be a remedy for when you need wireless drivers in order to connect the device, or other sorts of situations. It’s a handy way to get those drivers up and running, so we might as well learn how to do so today.

We’ll be using ‘apt’ for this. We’ve used ‘apt’ for all sorts of software management tasks in the past. In fact, in the past this required a bit more effort. You’d use the ‘–download-only’ flag and get some files in your apt archives directory. Today, it’s just a quick task that outputs a handy file that is extremely portable.

In fact, this article really only needs one command, making ‘apt’ do its thing. It’s not all that difficult, either. By the way, if you don’t already know, ‘apt’ stands for Advanced Package Tool. Anyhow, I’ll still make it an article – as it’s a useful one to know and reference.

Download A Program And Its Dependencies:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal emulator now open, you need to know the name of the program you want to download. For example, I tested this with ‘openjdk-17-jre’ and it worked as expected. (For the commands you’ll use, I’ll just use my traditional brackets.) Before I tested with openjdk, I made sure it had dependencies, and it did. To see if it had dependencies, I used this command:

Once you see that it has dependencies, you can go straight to downloading the program and its dependencies. You no longer need any long commands, it’s just (even if it doesn’t have dependencies):

All you have to do at that point is wait for the files to download. When they’re done downloading you can find the file in your ~/Downloads directory combined into a single compressed file. In my case, the filename was openjdk-17-jre.tar.gq and the download completed without error.

The process is the same if you have dependencies or not. The reason we pay attention to dependencies in this article is so that you know to check and make sure those dependencies are included, so that you’re able to install the software on your offline computer.

And, with all that said, now is a good time to verify that it contains all the files it should contain. Assuming the files are what you expected, with dependencies as needed, now is the time to sneakernet them to the offline computer, where you can install the program by first installing the dependencies before installing the program.

NOTES: It does build an ‘install.sh’ which should let you install the program and dependencies in one fell swoop, but it accessed the ‘net in my testing. So, just do ’em manually if you want to be sure, otherwise make it executable and give it a shot. This will only work if the versions are all compatible with the offline computer. If that’s not the case, you could end up in dependency hell or perhaps not able to install the program at all.

Closure:

And there you have it… You have yet another article! This one is handy if you want to install a program and its dependencies on an offline computer. It may also be handy if you want to establish a base-line and standardize on that specific version of the software. In that case, you’ll have a copy of what it once was. It’s something you can reference and restore as needed. But, yeah, it’s most likely to be used by people who want to install software on offline computer.

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How To: Completely Remove Software In Ubuntu

Today’s article is going to show you how to completely remove software in Ubuntu. This will also work for other distros that use apt as their package manager. It’s a pretty handy tool to have in your toollbox, because we’ll not only be removing software, we’ll also be removing any config files associated with said software. It’s not all that difficult, and anyone should be able to understand this article.

When you ‘remove’ software, be it with the GUI or with the terminal, you’re actually only removing the software itself. You’re often leaving behind the config files (if there are any) and the ‘remove’ may leave dependencies still installed. The reasoning for leaving config files behind is presumably so that you can reinstall the software and have the same configurations you had earlier in time.

As you can guess, that’s not always a good thing… It may well be those configuration files that caused some sort of error in the first place. It may well be those config files that prompted you to remove the software in the first place. Erasing and starting anew might be your only realistic path forward, especially if reverting to backups did not work.

So… That’s why we have this article. This article is going to teach you how to completely remove software in Ubuntu. If you want, you can still try removing software and reinstalling (as a troubleshooting step), and this then becomes one of your later troubleshooting strategies. Read on, and you’ll see…

Completely Remove Software In Ubuntu:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

When you remove software with the terminal, you probably do it like so:

That’s great. It removes the application and may even remove some of the dependencies it pulled in when you installed it. This is not necessarily a bad thing – but we want to completely remove software in Ubuntu, and this is how you do it.

As I said in the preamble, using the above command will likely leave your configuration files behind (if there are any) and some dependencies. With the ‘purge’ command, you’ll get rid of those configuration files. To do this, you’ll want to:

While that’s great and all, when you installed your application you may well have installed some other applications (dependencies), that is some applications that the software depended on. Those too may have config files related with them and to really ensure you’ve completely removed the software, you’ll want to do an autoremove. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the autoremove function of apt, the man page has it summed up nicely:

autoremove is used to remove packages that were automatically installed to satisfy dependencies for other packages and are now no longer needed as dependencies changed or the package(s) needing them were removed in the meantime.

You don’t specify an application with the ‘autoremove’ command,  you just run:

That should do it, actually. The last command should remove any dependencies that were installed and not removed automatically when you purged the software with the commands above.

Closure:

And there you have it! It’s another article! I still haven’t missed a day, and I’m well beyond my initial obligations. This time, the article tells you how to completely remove software in Ubuntu – and it’ll work in any distro that uses apt. It’s a pretty simple thing, but it’s worth knowing. Eventually, it’s bound to come in handy.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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