So finally installed Linux Mint or Ubuntu on your system? Cool! But wait there’s more to be done than already done. What about software installation, uninstallation, managing files and so on. Well installing software on Linux Mint and Ubuntu is simple (or basic A for Apple, B for Ball, and C for Cat). Why? You would ask me and the answer is because of the way Debian manages software dependency files. Luckily, Mint and Ubuntu are Debian-based distros and that puts you in a good place to learn APT or apt-get (APT stands for Advanced Package Tool).
Using GUI based installation tools
Sure you could use “Software Manager” or “Synaptic Package Manager” to install software on your system and be done with it. Believe me, that was the first thing I did when I needed to install wine on my Mint.
But the petty thing is you are going to run into issues sometime in the future.
That’s where the terminal (oops! I don’t mean Tom Hanks) comes in. Your true friend and the power to make you feel PROUD, HAPPY & MISCHIEVOUS-Y; when you execute a command and lines of formatted text flows by… and by. You could impress your friends too! But not just at those Linux gurus.
The “terminal” apt-get
You open a terminal in two ways. One method under Linux Mint is to select the menus respectively or click your mouse in this pattern Menu>Administration>Terminal while for Ubuntu users, Unity UI is a bit alien but here it is. Press Meta/Super (usually it’s that tiny floating Windows logo) key then type in “terminal” and voila!
The other method (easiest) is to press this key combination: ctrl+alt+t
You get this strange looking window and a cursor blinking at you.
Now to the “apt”:
NOTE: YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR SUDO PASSWORD. IT IS USUALLY THE PASSWORD YOU SET UP WHILE INSTALLING MINT/UBUNTU. USING “APT” REQUIRES ADMINISTRATIVE PRIVILEGES AND YOU WILL BE PROMPTED TO ENTER YOUR ROOT (SUDO) PASSWORD.
sudo apt-get install inkscape
For instance, you are a graphic designer and want to install Inkscape. Here is how you could install it using apt.
What if you wanted to remove the software because you no longer needed it? Then get on with this command -
sudo apt-get remove inkscape
Sometime in the future:
Sure, of course, you would run into bloating your own system when you keep on installing software, especially when they are too unrelated that my friend you have this trick to keep your system clean and run smooth as it was/used to be.
sudo apt-get autoremove
Those are the simple and safe-est command you would rely on, no matter what! They won’t break your system.
Ought to be cooler than that?
Surely, some would argue those are not just enough. Let’s dig a little deeper then. Roll up your sleeve and enjoy a bumpy ride:
“I don’t need to install Inkscape right now, I just want to view its info but how?”. Quite nerdy 8-) Here’s the command
apt show inkscape
What if you wanted to install later but have those *.deb files ready? Here is a bit lengthy sample demonstrating “gparted”:
sudo apt-get install gparted
And wait do not press “Y” right now.
Read that line? Then…
sudo apt-get download gparted libparted-fs-resize0
sudo mv *.deb /var/cache/apt/archives
On a fine day, you wish to install GParted on your system -
sudo apt install gparted
Truely! As simple as installing and removing software there is also a great need to update (the package list) and upgrade (your Linux Mint/Ubuntu). You wouldn’t want an outdated program installed on your system that has security loopholes.
sudo apt-get update
This only updates your package list.
sudo apt-get upgrade
This will download and install new programs but won’t affect your currently-in-use critical programs.
sudo apt-get full-upgrade
Updates all the programs no matter what.
You did remove the “software” but are you a bit crazy about removing almost everything associated with the software? And I do mean those configuration files and folders associated with it. Right on with this command then:
sudo apt-get remove software --purge
That’s all there is to it. Whew! Now you are in a good place to master apt from here on. Otherwise, use those (above tutorial) to bedazzle your Windows or Mac pals and utter this chant Abra--ca--Debra!
More From LinuxAndUbuntu