Monday, November 01, 2010

Ubuntu Personal Package Archives (PPA)

What is a PPA?

A PPA is a published apt repository in that a contributor uploads source packages which get built (compiled) and packaged as an apt repository by Launchpad (Launchpad is a Project Management software by Canonical, Ltd. which includes a knowledge base, issue tracker, and code repository to name a few).

For the end user working with PPA's has eliminated the need to modify the sources.list in order to include new repositories into apt. All that is required is to import the PPA and run the apt-get update command in order to install the new packages included by the repository.

For developers there are many advantages for creating new software packages or modifying existing. All published repositories (source) will be compiled for i386 and AMD64 on all supported ubuntu releases.

Installing Software using PPA

If for some reason you are not able to find the software package you are looking for in the official Ubuntu repositories, visit the PPA's overview page in Launchpad and search for your package.

PPA Overview page (Searching for gwibber-daily)

Once you've found the package find the section on the page title "Adding this PPA to your system" and make note of the PPA's location (ppa:gwibber-daily/ppa).

gwibber-daily PPA page

Open a terminal and enter the following command replaceing ppa:user/ppa-name with the PPA location from the overview page:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:user/ppa-name

The apt-add-repository command will fetch the PPA's key and add the source and key to your repositories list.

apt-add-repository output

Next you'll need to tell your system to pull all of the latest software information for your instlled repositories (which will include your newly added PPA).

sudo apt-get update

You are now ready to install any software package included within the ppa. For example:

sudo apt-get install gwibber

The available packages for each PPA are available in the Overview page for the PPA.

Published packages for the gwibber-daily PPA

If you're adding a PPA for a package you've already installed in order to get a newer or modified version all you need to do is:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Additional Information

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