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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How To: Add A PPA To Ubuntu

In this article, we’re going to discuss how to add a PPA to Ubuntu. A PPA is a Personal Package Archive, but we’ve come to use them much differently than they were ever intended. So, you might as well learn how to do this. You might as well learn how to add a PPA to Ubuntu.

Yes, we use PPAs in ways never intended. They are meant to be your own personal archive of packages. not a way of disseminating software to the masses. We’ve turned PPAs into a tool to widely distribute software more easily. If you want a piece of software that’s not in the official repositories, you do a quick search, add a PPA, update, and install your software! It’s how we’ve always done things! (Hint: No, it’s not how we’ve always done things.)

This is one of the main reasons Snap apps were created and why they are being pushed. During this time, people could also have used AppImages and Flatpaks, and some of us did.

Me? I’m among the worst of offenders. As it is, I still only use Snaps that came installed by default. I still reach for a PPA (when available) and install things in the ‘traditional’ manner. Well, it’s hardly traditional and it’s generally a bad idea.

In fact. let me sum up why it’s a bad idea with just one sentence…

When you add a PPA, you’re giving the PPA maintainer root-level access to your computer.

All they gotta do is push an update and you’ll have installed it with your next upgrade. No, don’t pretend you’re going to read the source and verify the integrity. You’re going to do it, just like you wanted to …

Add A PPA To Ubuntu:

Alright, let’s paint a simple picture:

There’s some software you want, but you can’t find it in your repositories and the GitHub page doesn’t release packaged binaries. You don’t want to have to deal with building it every time there’s a new version, so you take to the ‘nets in search of a fix.

Your first stop is at Launchpad.net to search for the application. You got lucky and found a PPA. In fact, you found a few of them. In this case, you want to look for the one who has most consistently published upgrades. First, you have to enable Ubuntu’s ‘universe’ PPA, which may already be enabled. If it isn’t, the command to run is:

When you find the proper repository’s name, you can add it with this command:

An example of that could be sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa. You could use that to use the more traditional Firefox. 

No matter… Once you’ve done all this,  you might still need to update your own local software database with this command:

There you have it. You can now add a PPA to Ubuntu. You can now use the software included in the newly added PPA. Modern/current Ubuntu flavors will run the apt update automatically, but older versions will still need to trigger the update manually.

BONUS: You can more easily remove the PPA through the GUI, but you can also do so in the terminal, it’s just the –remove flag, like this;

See? You can now do both. You can add a PPA to Ubuntu or you can remove a PPA from Ubuntu.

Closure:

Ah well… You can now add a PPA to Ubuntu. Removing a PPA is also now something you can do, assuming you didn’t already do so. On top of that, adding PPAs willy-nilly as  you’re essentially giving that PPA’s owner a key to your entire computer.

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-cache’ To Find An Application’s Homepage

It can come in pretty handy to know an application’s homepage. You can find an applications’s homepage with ‘apt-cache’. I’ll show you how. This is a pretty easy article to follow and just another tool to add to your toolbox.

NOTE: This is only valid for systems that use apt. As the title indicates, it requires ‘apt-cache’. Without apt-cache, this page will do you no good. None good! That’s how much it will do you. None!

Why would you want to know the homepage – and, more so, the preferred homepage? For starters, in the days of GitHub and everyone forking, and awkward application names that aren’t easily searched for, it’s hard to know which site is the correct one.

Maybe you want to report a bug? Maybe you want to request a feature? Perhaps you want to make a donation? Maybe you just want to thank the author for writing such awesome software? Maybe you want to know where the homepage is because you need support and you’re not sure where to turn to?

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to know the homepage of a piece of software. It’s actually something that’s important. It’s also something your system already knows and will happily show you if you know the proper magical incantation.

Find Application’s Homepage: 

Like many other articles, you’re gonna want the terminal for this. Let’s go ahead and get that opened by using your keyboard and pressing CTRL + ALT + T

Got your terminal emulator open? Good! Let’s start with the command.

If you do not have ‘inxi’ installed, feel free to use a different application. Note that you do not need to use sudo for this. Not all apt commands require sudo. You only need sudo when you’re actually doing administrative tasks. See? I saved you some typing!

Anyhow, in the text output from the above command you’ll see a line that starts with “Homepage:”. If you hadn’t already guessed it, that’s the line that tells you the authors homepage. You’ll also sometimes find the URL where they want you to report bugs, but that’s a topic for another day.

So, let’s go ahead and make the command a little more precise. We’ll pipe the output through grep and get rid of the cruft we don’t actually need. In that same terminal, go ahead and enter:

NOTE: The command contains a capitalized letter H because Linux is often case-sensitive and is certainly case-sensitive in this case. If you don’t believe me, try it with a lowercase h!

But wait, there’s more!

Not only is there homepage information in there, there’s sometimes some useful nuggets of information in there. If you have LibreOffice installed, go ahead and check (skip the pipe and grepping) to see what the output is. Inside, it has a ton of additional information, including listing ways that you can extend LibreOffice by installing more software.

Closure:

And there you have it. You can now easily find the application’s homepage for the applications you have installed or want to install. Should you need to contact the author, check for information, or just see if they did anything else, you now know how to do that. It’s a little hidden nugget that most folks don’t seem to know. Well, now they do…

Yay! You made it all the way to the bottom. You deserve a treat. Seeing as you’ve already got the terminal open, and seeing as we’re dealing with apt-cache, let’s just get some pretty neat stats with:

A careful reader would remember that from a previous article, but no matter. 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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Prevent Application Updates With ‘APT-MARK’

While unwise, there are times when you need to prevent application updates. You can do this with ‘apt-mark’ and this article will explain how. Obviously, this method is only effective if you use a Linux distro that has an APT-based package manager.

For the most part, you should always keep your software updated. However, that’s a rule for the Ideal World®. For the rest of us, those of us that live in the Real World®, you’ll almost certainly run into an eventuality that requires you to keep an existing, specific version of software.

While entirely stupid and irresponsible, I kept a version of Thunderbird past its due date because the update simply ruined my existing installation. I only kept that outdated version long enough to make the leap to a more recent distro version. The tool I used to prevent application updates was apt-mark.

You will have your own reasons, from compliance to stability to functionality, for keeping the same version of your installed software. You should only use this sparingly, only as necessary, when there’s simply no other solution. This should also be a temporary measure. You should always try to use the upgraded software because there are (possibly) security implications if you don’t.

A little about APT

While we’ll technically be using ‘apt-mark‘, it should be mentioned that APT stands for Advanced Package Tool. It’s the default package manager that is used in many distros, mostly Debian and those of Debian descent. So, you’ll see it in everything from Ubuntu to Linux Mint. 

In the desktop scene, I suspect it’d be the most common of all package management tools. Even if you use a different distro with a different package manager, you should probably have a basic familiarity.

Using ‘apt-mark’ hold and unhold

The tool we’ll be using is ‘apt-mark’, and the man page helpfully defines it as:

apt-mark – show, set and unset various settings for a package

We’ll only be concentrating on a couple of commands, those necessary when you want to prevent application updates, plus one extra command that will help you keep track of the two commands we’ll be focusing on.

The first of those two commands is ‘hold’. This command is used when you want to ‘hold’ a package at its current version, preventing upgrades. Remember, this should really be used only when there’s no other solution, as many upgrades fix security issues as well as bugs. It’s actually a fairly simple command.

When you enter this command, you’ll get a confirmation message. It will tell you that the application is now being held. It will remain held until you ‘unhold’ it. So, it’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal, though you shouldn’t really forget it. You should undo it as soon as you realistically can.

To reverse the restriction, resuming your normal updates, you simply need to ‘unhold’ it. The command is fairly obvious, and it looks like this:

That will free the hold on the package and tell you that the hold has been lifted. The package should then upgrade as necessary and as issued. If new upgrades show up in the repositories, it should function as normal and upgrade like it did prior to the hold.

If you are like me, you may well forget that you’ve held packages back. The package names are often long and nonsensical, so they’re easy to forget. In the heat of the moment, you may have forgotten to make a note of the package(s) you’ve held.

Don’t worry, ‘apt-mark’ has you covered! When you want to know what packages are being held, just run this command:

Note the lack of ‘sudo’ in that command. You don’t need sudo because you don’t need elevated permissions to list held packages. You only need elevated permission if you want to change something. As that command only lists them, you can run it as a normal user.

The apt-mark command has a ton of other uses, this is not an all-inclusive article. You can always see the man page for more help and the rest of the features. This article is only covering the ‘hold’ and ‘unhold’ functions. Maybe there will be another article covering other aspects, but this limited in scope – preventing application updates.

Like always, thanks for reading and I appreciate the feedback! Don’t forget that the site has ads enabled and that you can donate. So, if this article helped you learn how to prevent application updates then show some love! Otherwise, sign up for the newsletter or share this article with your friends on social media. Thanks!

 

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