Freely Scripted Soul

May 30, 2007

Synaptic Package Manager

Filed under: Ubuntu — Roshan @ 2:14 am

One of the coolest features of Ubuntu is the Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager). You needn’t worry about installation CDs (different CDs for different softwares) or about commands to download and install them; This software performs those tasks on your behalf. All you have to do is “Mark” all the packages you want to be installed and “Apply” them. The manager will download those packages from repositories and install them.


Launch Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager)



The left-side menu lists the different categories of packages and the right-side menu lists the packages in that category. Unless you want to be very specific, use “All” on the left-side menu.


If you have any CD or DVD which contains packages, load them and Synaptic Package Manager will automatically ask whether it has to create a repository of it, and it will suggest a name for that CD or DVD. Once it adds this CD or DVD to it’s repository, it will ask for that CD or DVD if you are trying to install any package that is in that CD or DVD.


Before you install a software, you need to know this: Synaptic Package Manager lists 4 kinds of software.

Go to (Settings -> Repositories). A window will be opened.


Tick all the 4 kinds of a software – main, universe, restricted, multiverse – to have the best usage of packages. You can tick the “Source code” option if you are interested to look at the source codes of all open source softwares. The Manager will download them along with the software.

Close that window and then click “Reload” in the Synaptic Manager Window.


Now, click “Search”. Synaptic provides the most exhaustive search. It searches the complete list of packages present in ALL the repositories you have enabled (internet sites and CD/DVDs).




Observe “Look in: Description and Name” which means that it searches not just in the name of the packages but also in the description of the packages, which is very useful. “Description and Name” is the most effective criteria for search. You can try out the other criteria if you are interested.

Once you click that, it generates the list of search-related packages on the right.


Instead of searching, if you know a package’s name, say “beryl”, click “All” on the left-side menu and then click any of packages on the right-side menu without marking them. Now, start typing “beryl”. It jumps to the first word having it’s starting letters as the letters you have typed.



Once you find the required package, right-click on it and “Mark” it for installation.


Certain packages require other packages to also be installed. The manager will ask for installing such dependencies if it is applicable, in a separate window. Some may have negative dependencies too and the manager will ask for uninstalling such packages.



Mark” them too.


In this way, “Mark” all the packages you want to install, one-by-one. Once you are done, you can click “Apply”’. A window will be opened which lists all the packages that you are asking the Manager to install/uninstall/reinstall, the amount which it has to download and the space it requires in the system to install all those packages.



If you click “Apply”, the Manager will download those packages from the net or ask you for the required CD or DVD, and install them.


You can also store these markings so that it can be installed at a later time(at at time when you have free downloads).

Go to (File -> Save markings) and save those markings by giving a name say ‘markings’. When you want to install them, go to (File -> Read markings), open tat ‘markings’ and click “Apply”.




Here is the LIST of softwares that I would recommend:

  • Amarok – Versatile and easy to use audio player
  • Anjuta – IDE for C/C++
  • Automatix2Package manager to install commonly requested softwares
  • Beryl and all related packages and plug-ins – Composite window manager, decorator and theme support. It brings 3D desktop visual effects; Install all plug-ins associated with it for the best result.
  • Bison – A parser generator that is compatible with YACC
  • Blender – Very fast and versatile 3D modeller/renderer
  • Build-essential – Informational list of build-essential packages (necessary for programmers and developers)
  • Easyubuntu – Package manager to install commonly requested softwares
  • Emacs – Extensible self-documenting text editor
  • Emerald and Emerald themes – Decorator for Beryl and it’s themes
  • Firefox and all related packages and plug-ins – The Ultimate Browser
  • Flex – A fast lexical analyzer generator
  • VLC Player – VLC is the VideoLAN project’s media player. It plays MPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4, DivX, MOV, WMV, QuickTime, mp3, Ogg/Vorbis files, DVDs, VCDs, and multimedia streams from various network sources
  • Wine – Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (Binary Emulator and Library) through which you can execute some “.exe” files
  • Xine – A skin based media player that can play audio/video formats like MPEG1/2, some AVI and Quicktime files, some network streaming methods and disc based media (VCD, SVCD, DVD)


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