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Software Management in Linux Mint


Software Management in Linux Mint

(also other Debian based distros )

Update Manager Two types of update - Security or Software. If a new version of any package installed on your computer is made available you can upgrade to it. Level 1 and Level 2 updates are risk-free. The higher the level the more risk you take. Set in Edit – Preferences - Level.


Adding and Removing Software from the Official Repository

There are two methods in the current Mint distro

1. Mintinstall Software Manager

2. Synaptic Package Manager

Although both do the same job, I have found it best to use only one of the above to avoid menu problems.



Software Sources – Best keep to the official unless you really need some other software and are willing to take a risk.




Adding Software from sources other than the Official Repository

You can often find useful packages, not available in the Official Repository, on other web sites. These can be installed but, as Bob once said, Hear lies Dragons!!


Dependency occurs when one package depends on another. To make packages more efficient to download and store Linux software may depend on many other packages which may have already been installed. Making sure the correct version of the dependency is installed is down to the package management tool.

To get round the dependency problem some software is bundled, with all the dependencies required to run, into a single package. In Linux Mint the Flatpack system is used. This can result in much larger download files. For example to download just Gimp is 25MB however Gimp Flatpack is over 200MB!


GDebi can install local .deb packages with automatic dependency resolution (it automatically downloads* and installs the required packages with apt).


*only if they are available from the repositories set on your system!


.deb files

( the package format for Debian based distros, such as Ubuntu and Mint)


To see .deb files that have been used on your system look in /var/cache/apt/archives


.rpm ? Red Hat Package Manager


.tar is a computer software utility for collecting many files into one archive file, often referred to as a tarball, for distribution. Compressed versions are often used such as .tgz, .tbz, and .tbz2.


Alien converts a tarball (and also other formats) into a .deb file, which then can be opened with gdebi package installer and it does the installing! So, here is how it works!


  1. Download the file that you want (for example a package called: mintProg.tgz). When the pop-up asks you what to do, tell it to save the file to a convenient place,say, the Desktop.

  2. Open a terminal in the same directory as you downloaded mintProg.tgz .

  3. Type in the following (there is a space after sudo, after alien and one after deb too)
    sudo alien --to-deb mint

  4. Then hit enter and enter your password if prompted and enter again.

Then you will have a nifty little mintProg.deb file. Click on it to open and it will automatically run with gdebi package installer, which will install the package for you. Easy, with a little luck!

The Advanced Package Tool, or APT, is a free software that works with core libraries to handle the installation and removal of software on the Debian, Slackware and other Linux distributions. APT simplifies the process of managing software on Unix-like computer systems by automating the retrieval, configuration and installation of software packages, either from precompiled files or by compiling source code.

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