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January 4, 2015

How To Install Software In Linux : An Introduction


In any operating system we need to install applications to complete our day to day tasks. In the world of Windows, every program has a simple Setup.exe or a program.zip file. On a Mac a package is a program.dmg or a program.sit file. In both the operating system you can simply click it and it will ask you some very basic configuration questions like, do you accept the licence agreement or the directory you want to install the software to. Although in Linux, It seems tough to install the programs/softwares but It's not true.

It's as simple as in the two OS I mentioned above. There are sometimes problems with some type of files that you have to fight tooth and nail, here I'll not cover those specifically, but will cover them giving basics of installing software that will help finding rough spots easy.

Software Packages in Linux

As I mentioned above Windows has setup.exe or program.zip file and Mac has program.dmg or program.sit file, they are actually packages. Every software comes in “packages”. In the same way in Linux, there are several types of packages, and every distribution has its own preferred package format. It means there are more packages in Linux than any other OS.

According to the Linux Standerd Base the standerd Linux package is RPM. RPM stands for Red-hat Package Manager, orginally devoloped by Red Hat and widely used by the Linux community. Red Hat, Fedora, Mandriva and SUSE use the RPM. The RPM file looks like this program-version-other.rpm

The second package manager format is DEB, stands for Debian. Debian packages and the APT (Advanced Packagin Tool) has made advanced features that are now commonly used, like, automatic dependency resolution and signed packages. Debian packages are used by Debian/Linux, and some of the most used Linux distributions, like, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mepis etc. The .deb/Debian files look like this program-version-other.deb

APT For Debian based distributions, like, Ubuntu, Linux Mint etc.

The APT is the tool, commonly used to install packages, remotely from the software repository. In short it's a simple command based tool that you use to install files/softwares. Complete command is apt-get and it's the easiest way to install files/Softwares packages. This easy tools informs you about packages that are currently being installed and also it informs you about the packages that are available in repositories.

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