7.3: Installing Software by Other Methods
The software packages installed through Synaptic (and APT behind it) are in a format called deb (short for “Debian”,
the Linux distribution that devised with APT). You can manually install deb packages using the graphical tool Kpackage or
the command-line tool dpkg.
NOTE: It is also possible to carry out other Synaptic functions with these tools: consult the documentation listed below.
Installing .deb files with Kpackage
- Double-click the deb package you want to install. Kpackage will open the install dialog. You can also click KMenu --> System
--> More Applications --> Package Manager (Kpackage), and select the package manually.
- Make sure Check Dependencies and Check Conflicts are both marked. By default in MEPIS Linux 7.0, the
box Allow Downgrades is also checked, allowing APT to select a more compatible version of a package, if necessary. Click
- You will be prompted for your root password. Enter it to proceed.
- Kpackage will attempt to install the package, posting the results in the right pane. If you see result=0 at the end,
it means the install was successful.
- If you receive errors indicating that the package could not install, consult the MEPIS community forums, or the MEPIS Wiki for more
information (see Section 11).
Installing .deb files with dpkg
- Open Konsole from KMenu --> System --> Terminal Program (Konsole). Become root using the su command
and entering the root password when prompted.
- Use the cd command to change to the directory containing your downloaded .deb file(s).
NOTE: dpkg is a LOCAL installer/de-installer package. It does not work over the internet like synaptic or kpackage or apt-get. Dpkg can only install a .deb that has already been downloaded to the system.
- Install the package with the command:
dpkg -i packagename.deb
(substituting the real package name, of course). If you are installing multiple packages at the same time, you can do it at once using
dpkg -i *.deb
In a shell command, the asterisk is a wild card in the argument. In this case it will cause the program to apply the command to
any file whose name ends with “.deb”.
- If required dependencies are not installed on your system already, you will get unmet dependencies errors as
dpkg does not automatically take care of them. To correct these errors and finish the installation, run
apt-get -f install
Apt-get will attempt to rectify the situation by either installing the needed dependencies (if they are available from
the repositories), or removing your .deb files (if the dependencies cannot be installed).
Other install methods
Sooner or later some software that you want to install will not be available in the repositories and you may need to use other
installation methods. These methods include:
RPM packages: Some distributions of Linux use the RPM packaging system (short for RedHat Package Manager, developed by
RedHat Linux. RPM packages are similar to deb packages in many ways, and there is a command-line program available from MEPIS Linux to
convert RPM packages to debs called alien. Alien does not come installed with MEPIS Linux 7.0, but is available
from the default repositories.
After you have installed alien on your system, you can use it to install an rpm package with this command (as root):
alien -i packagename.rpm
For more detailed information on alien, see the internet version of its man page in the Links and Guides section at the bottom of
Source code: Any open-source program can be compiled from the programmer's original source code if there is no other option. In ideal circumstances, this is actually a pretty simple operation, but sometimes you can run into errors that require a little more skill to sort through. Source is usually distributed as a tarball (tar.gz or tar.bz2 file). See the Links and Guides section for a tutorial on compiling programs.
Miscellaneous: Many software developers package software in their own custom ways, usually distributed as tarballs or zip files. They may contain setup scripts, ready-to-run binaries, or binariy installer programs similar to Windows “setup.exe” programs. In Linux, such programs often end in “.bin”. GoogleEarth, for example, is often distributed this way. When in doubt, consult the installation instructions provided with the software. If you have to compile a package, consult the MEPIS Wiki article below.
Links and Guides