Kubuntu 9.10 – Installing programs in Kubuntu

Installing programs in Kubuntu can be done a couple of ways.  If the packages for the program are included in the repositories (the lists that Canonical or the developer maintains), then you can use the Package Manager (Software Manager) to install them.  Simply open the manager, and search for the program name.  If the developer’s repositories are not listed, you’ll have to add them.

If the program isn’t listed in the repositories, but is in a .deb file (the package that Kubuntu prefers for it’s installers—similar to .msi files in Windows), you can use the command line to install it.  Open a Terminal (or use CTRL+Alt+F<n>, where <n> is either 2 through 6 (F2 through F6)) to get to a command prompt.  At the command prompt type:

sudo dpkg –i <packagename.deb> and hit enter.

Sudo is Kubuntu’s method of using “SuperUser” or “root”.  It’s a safer method of doing things as root, because you’re only “root” as long as you specify sudo in the current session.  In other words, if you don’t specify sudo, then it attempts as a normal user, and if you close the terminal, then you will have to reenter your password to use sudo.

Now, if you are installing a program from source code, the commands are a bit different.

The first step is to extract the files, if you haven’t already.  Typically that’s done by using the tar command:

tar –xvf filename.

At this point, you will enter the folder where the source code was extracted to (using the cd command), and enter the following commands (you may have to precede them with sudo):

./configure  This checks to make sure the programs can be compiled and installed—and finds out if the dependencies are met.

make This compiles the source code for you.

sudo make install  this installs the file in the location.  If you’re prompted for a location, Ubuntu highly recommends selecting /usr/src.

clean install  this cleans up after the installation is done.

These instructions and explanations were taken from http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-install-source-files-in-ubuntu.html and the authors of that page are greatly appreciated.  It should also be noted that most files come with an INSTALL file that you should read.  It will list their preferred (or required) method for installing the application, and should be followed instead of these directions.

Yes, installing programs can be a little more demanding than in Windows.  Especially since there is no graphic installer for the individual programs.  However between using the Software Manager inside of KDE or Gnome (depending on which desktop you’re using), using apt-get to install from repositories in the command line, using dpkg –i to install from .deb files, or using the manual installation from source, it’s not that difficult.  You only have to know a few commands (dpkg, apt-get install, ./configure, make, clean, and tar) and you don’t have to worry about compiling or configuring the application manually.

Later, I will be describing how to create and use services in Kubuntu.

Have a great day:)

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