Uses Mint Ubuntu

Obtain and install software for Linux Mint

Package sources from Linux Mint
Deactivate package sources
Personal Package Archives (PPAs)
Flatpak packages
AppImage files

(De-) install applications and packages
Installation via application management
Installation via the Synaptic package manager
Installation via the terminal
Installation from a deb package
Compile programs yourself

Especially for those switching who are used to other concepts of software management, such as those that are common with Windows, it makes sense to familiarize oneself with the principles and techniques that apply in the Linux world, as Linux is particularly good in this Aspect is very different from what you will know from the Windows world.

In order to facilitate the handling of the Linux concept of software management and thus to be able to exploit the advantages in particular with regard to security and comfort, this concept is to be presented here in broad outline.

Since the architecture of Linux and Windows and also the file formats used differ considerably, the installation files of Windows programs cannot be used on Linux systems in principle. Under certain circumstances, however, Windows programs can be made to run under Linux with the Wine software.

Package sources from Linux Mint

All system components and most of the applications and tools available for Linux Mint are stored in what are known as Package sources (repositories). These are directories on remote servers in which all available program packages are stored. These sources are maintained centrally to ensure that the packages do not contain any malicious code and are compatible with the operating system version used. The package sources can be displayed and changed if necessary via the package management.
You can find it under.
The other package management options are described in the next section.

The Update management regularly obtains information about available and updated packages for the selected package sources (so-called. APT buffer). It is the central place from which all packages can be updated as new versions of the packages are available. This eliminates the need to manually update each and every installed program.
The update management can be found under.

Interface ›Official Package Sources‹

The servers for the official package sources can be selected on this interface. Linux Mint is largely based on Ubuntu, which is why the Ubuntu source is set under ›Base‹. The source from which those packages are obtained that differ from Ubuntu and are specific for Linux Mint is set under ›Main‹. It is advisable to select one of the regional servers here, as these often offer a higher transmission rate. This also relieves the load on the standard servers.

The list of package sources is saved in a text file below, which can also be edited manually (if you don't know exactly what you are doing here, it is better not to change the package sources manually):



The following sources are set by default:

  1. deb http://packages.linuxmint.com ulyssa main upstream import backport
  2. deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal main restricted universe multiverse
  3. deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal-updates main restricted universe multiverse
  4. deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal-backports main restricted universe multiverse
  5. deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ focal-security main restricted universe multiverse
  6. deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/ focal partner

The sources used are represented in the corresponding file by a line of the following form:



After the URL of the mirror server for the package source (here:) the version of the relevant distribution is specified (here:,). This is followed by the sections from which you want to obtain packages:

sectiondistributioncontent
Mint / Ubuntuthe main components of a distribution that are maintained directly by the developers of the distribution
Ubuntuproprietary software maintained by Ubuntu developers
Ubuntufree software, maintained by the community
Ubuntuproprietary software maintained by the community
Ubuntuproprietary software, maintained by third parties
MintSoftware originally from Ubuntu but modified for Linux Mint
MintThird party software, some proprietary
MintSoftware in which updates from newer versions were subsequently implemented (backports)
Mintunstable, insufficiently tested software

A full list of the packages in the individual sections can be found here:
packages.linuxmint.com, packages.ubuntu.com, and packages.debian.org.

Interface ›Additional Package Sources‹

Certain software may not be available from any of the official package sources, but the software provider maintains its own package source (such as with Enki). In this case, this source can be added here manually to the existing sources. Adding a package source has the advantage over installing a simple deb package that the update management can later check whether an update is available for this software in order to install it automatically if necessary. Some applications such as TeamViewer, Vivaldi or Google Earth automatically set up an additional package source when installing the corresponding deb package, so this does not have to be done manually in these cases.

If you want to add a new source, you should inform yourself beforehand about the trustworthiness of this source, as you allow the source's provider to install his software on your own computer, which is basically a gateway for malware. To add a source, first click on Add and then enter the so-called APT line of the new source. A full APT line usually looks something like this:



Additional sources are saved in a file below.

After adding a new source, you have to open the package management cache (so-called. APT buffer) before software can be obtained from the new source.

User interface ›legitimation key‹

Once you have added the new source, you usually still need the public PGP key for this source, which can be used to check the digital signature of the software to be installed. This key can either be imported from a file via Import or downloaded from a key server via Download if you know the key ID. A key can also be downloaded via the terminal as follows (whereby the key ID - here: - must be adapted accordingly):



After adding the key you have to open the package management cache APT buffer) before software can be obtained from a new source.

You can now install software from the new source in the usual way.

Unofficial software sources

The installation of packages from the official package sources can be regarded as fundamentally safe. However, caution should be exercised with additional package sources or normal software downloads, as these are not checked by the Linux Mint developers and usually do not have digital signatures. It is theoretically possible that manipulated packets containing malicious code can be smuggled into the operating system via such sources. In the update management it is not possible to see from which source an offered package originates (but it can also be queried). Even if the provider of such a package source is reputable, its server could have been hacked and in this way malware could get onto the server and ultimately onto your own computer. See also the article External sources.

Deactivate package sources

A security measure (albeit weak) can now consist of using the additional package sources only for installing the desired software and then deactivating them again immediately. However, in order to check the existence of updates for this software, this source must then be temporarily reactivated manually.

Personal Package Archives (PPAs)

Ubuntu PPAs are only supported by the Linux Mint Standard Edition.
PPAs do not work under Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)!

A PPA (Personal Package Archive) is an unofficial package archive for Ubuntu (and thus also for Linux Mint) that is made available by private parties. It often contains programs that are still under development and have therefore not yet been included in the official Ubuntu package sources. There are also more recent but untested versions of applications that are otherwise also available via the package management.

The command can now be used to add such a source via the terminal. For example for ClipGrab:



The APT key is automatically installed here. Then you have to reload the package lists:



Then you can install the desired program as usual.

Remove the PPA again

PPAs can be removed via.

It is also possible to delete the corresponding file in.

or




or with, which has to be installed first:



Installation via apturl


Flatpak packages

Some applications (such as Lollypop, Shortwave, Pitivi, Visual Studio Code, Adobe Brackets, Atom or OpenSCAD) are also or exclusively available as a Flatpak package. To install this, you first need Flatpak itself:



Installation via apturl

The idea of ​​Flatpak is to be able to offer software that runs in its own environment and is therefore largely independent of the components on the system. The required libraries etc. are therefore already included in a Flatpak package.

Applications that use this format are also available via the application management and are marked accordingly there.

Installation files with the extension start the application management, via which the program can then be installed.

When using Flatpak, a folder is created that can easily contain several gigabytes of data. If you have set up a separate partition for the operating system and user data, the system partition can quickly reach its capacity limits. A workaround for this problem is described here.

I temporarily solved the problem by moving the Flatpak folder to the home folder and then creating a symlink to it in the original location (replacing the placeholder with your own name):




Of course, this solution does not work on systems with multiple users.

AppImage files

Another way of offering portable applications are files in format. Like Flatpak packages, these also contain all the necessary dependencies and can therefore be started without installation. They just have to be made executable after the download. To do this, you can either call up the context menu in the file manager with a right-click on the file, then the menu item properties and in the dialog that opens under the tab Access rights the check box at "Allow the file to run as a program" activate. Or you run the following command (adjust path to file):



Then the program can be started by double-clicking on the file.

Since AppImages are similar to files from the Windows world, there is a risk that the same reckless download culture from the Windows world will creep into Linux using this format, without installing any files on your own system without a trust check of the source which can lead to the same security risks that made Windows such a popular target for malware.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should carefully check the source of an AppImage file, operate it in combination with frameworks such as AppArmor or limit the installation to applications from the official package sources.


(De-) install applications and packages

The method of installing new software is one of the aspects of Linux that contribute to a higher level of security for this operating system, since software for Linux is usually not downloaded and executed from any websites, but directly via the system's own software management (here: APT or dpkg) is obtained from centrally maintained sources that are tailored to the specifics of the individual Linux distribution. In addition, the packets from these sources are digitally signed, which should prevent them from being compromised on the way from the server to your own computer.

Linux Mint offers various options for installing software packages or applications. This type of installation is usually done over the Internet.

Installed applications can be uninstalled via the Mint menu, among other things, by right-clicking on the corresponding menu item and then selecting the option ›Uninstall‹.

After the uninstallation is complete, you can still clean up:

(removes no longer needed dependencies)
(clears the cache of)

Installation via application management

Stand-alone applications, which usually have a graphical user interface and are contained as packages in the Linux Mint package sources, can be conveniently selected and installed via the application management. Uninstalling is also possible. Proprietary programs such as Google Earth or Minecraft can also be installed via the application management. The application management is opened via.

To check whether a certain program is available, you can enter the name of the program in the search field in the upper area of ​​the user interface.

You can also search for a program via the category that is displayed by clicking on the corresponding icon on the start page of the application management. This method is recommended when looking for a program whose name is unknown.

If you select a certain program from the list of search results, you get further information about the program and the possibility to (de) install it.

Installation via the Synaptic package manager

Another method of (de) installation is done using the Synaptic package manager. In addition to the ›correct‹ programs, all available packages can be (de) installed here. In contrast to the (de) installation of packages via the terminal, Synaptic offers a graphical user interface. Synaptic is started via.

In the left area of ​​the user interface you will find a list of categories to which the individual packages are assigned. If you select a category, the packages it contains are displayed on the right. If you select a package there, a brief description of the package is displayed below. You can also search for a package via the search field by entering part of the package name or a keyword related to the function.

To install one or more packages, change the status of the package by clicking on the box in front of the name of the package in question, with the status ›Mark for installation‹Selects. Any package dependencies are determined and displayed in the following dialog. You confirm this dialog by clicking on reserve. The actual installation then takes place by clicking on the Apply icon in the toolbar.

Synaptic is particularly suitable for obtaining information on possible dependencies on packages that you want to uninstall. Under certain circumstances, an deinstallation could also lead to the deinstallation of dependent packages that you actually want to receive.

Installation via the terminal

With the help of the terminal (also called command line or console), programs (including any packages that may depend on them) can be (de) installed very quickly. However, you have to know the exact package name here, which often differs more or less from the name of the application that is hidden behind the package. The name of the package for the Java browser plug-in is e.g. B. The terminal can be reached using the key combination ++ or z. B. over. There you enter the installation command.

(De-) installation with

Installation of packages:


So z. B .:


Several packages can also be installed in one go:


For the deinstallation the options (only the main components) or (complete, including configuration files) are used:

(De-) installation with

The internal management of installed packages and their dependencies are not fully compatible with and, which is why these commands should not be used in parallel to avoid collisions!

The command works similarly to. However, package dependencies are automatically resolved here. With you can also start a character-based interface in the terminal, which can be used to carry out various actions on the packages.

Installation of packages:


So z. B .:


Several packages can also be installed in one go:


For the deinstallation the options (only the main components) or (complete, including configuration files) are used:

Installation from a deb package

Proprietary software, the license of which prohibits distribution via the Linux package sources, or free software that is not available via the package sources for other reasons, can be available as a package on the website of the developer / provider (Debian package, examples include Vivaldi, Opera, Dooble, Min, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Flowblade, Musique, Musique, gmusicbrowser, TV-Browser, Visual Studio Code, Atom, Brackets or TeamViewer). Such a package corresponds to an installation file from the Windows world and therefore also harbors comparable dangers, among others. because here neither checksums nor digital signatures are checked, as would be the case with the installation via the package management. For this reason, this method of installation should be avoided if possible or at least the trustworthiness of the source should be checked. See also the article Foreign Sources in the UbuntuUsers Wiki.

Occasionally the deb packages of an application are offered for different platforms. If a package is offered directly for Linux Mint, this is the first choice. Otherwise a package should be compatible for Ubuntu. If this is not offered either, you will usually find a package for Debian or a package without any specific information on the platform. The important thing here is the correct architecture (32 or 64 bit), which can be determined using the command.

Deb packages can be executed via the file manager with a double click, which starts the installation program Gdebi.

Deb packages are installed via the terminal as follows:

or.

Compile programs yourself

Programs that are not available from any of the sources described, but for which the source code is available, can under certain circumstances also be compiled manually. However, this requires a certain amount of background knowledge and is not recommended for beginners. If there are no detailed installation instructions for the operating system used, the resolution of package dependencies in particular can be a rather tedious task (see dependency hell).

The following package is usually required to be able to compile programs:



Installation via apturl

The usual way to compile programs from the source code consists of the following steps:

• Get the source code archive
• Unpack the source code archive
• and read, there you will find further installation instructions

The installation usually takes place with the following commands:




On computers with an operating system that uses dpkg as a package manager (such as Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint), it is better to generate a deb package from the source code, via which the desired software is installed. As a result, it is neatly integrated into the package management and can be easily uninstalled later. For this procedure you first need the package:



Installation via apturl

The compilation then happens as follows:

(if available)




The installation then takes place with: