Manage PPA repositories in Ubuntu

¿Why add PPA repositories if we already have thousands of programs using the official Ubuntu repositories?

Personal package files (Personal Packnowledgment Archive, in English), allow developers to distribute software and updates directly to Ubuntu users without having to wait for Ubuntu's own repositories to update.

Launchpad, the site that hosts most of the available PPAs, builds the binaries and stores them in a specific repository. This means that Ubuntu users can install these packages in the same way that they are used to installing the rest of the applications in Ubuntu, with the added advantage that they will have the latest updates to these programs and can even find programs that are not available in the official repositories.

How to install PPA repositories

Let's take a practical example. Suppose we want to install Shutter. The first thing we have to know is the identifying name of the PPA that we want to install. In the Shutter PPA page it is clear that to add this repository it is necessary to take note of the line ppa: shutter / ppa.


Option 1: from the command line

All that needs to be done is to open a terminal and enter the appropriate commands to add the PPA, update the package list, and install the desired program (Shutter in our example).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: shutter / ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install shutter

Option 2: from the Software Center

1.- Open the Ubuntu Software Center.

2.- Edit > Origins of the Software

3.-  Then in the tab Other software, click on Add and enter the PPA line. In our example: ppa: shutter / ppa and click on Accept.

software sources

4. Install the desired program (continuing with our example, Shutter).

How to remove PPA repositories

Option 1: remove the PPA from the command line

Following our example from Shutter:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:shutter/ppa

Obviously, the line ppa: shutter / ppa will have to be replaced by what corresponds in each case.

Option 2: from the Software Center

1.- Open the Ubuntu Software Center.

2.- Edit > Origins of the Software

3.- Then in the tab Other software, click on Remove and click on Accept.

Caution: this will remove the PPA from the list of packages but the packages installed through the PPA will not be uninstalled, a task that will have to be done by hand. In order to automate this process, which can be cumbersome for some, there are tools such as PPA Purge or Y-PPA Manager.

How to remove a PPA and its respective packages automatically

Option 1: from the command line

PPA-Purge is a simple script that will remove the PPA in question as well as all the packages installed from it.

1.- Install PPA-Purge

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge

2.- Use PPA-Purge to uninstall the PPA. Following our example:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:shutter/ppa

Option 2: using YPPA

1.- Install Y-PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install y-ppa-manager

2.- Remove the PPA in question. Y-PPA Manager's graphical interface is intuitive enough to figure out what to do.

How to disable PPA repositories

Disabling a PPA means that the system will not receive any updates from that PPA, but previously installed packages will not be removed. The advantage of disabling a PPA rather than removing it is that it is easier to re-enable it.

To deactivate a PPA:

1.- Open the Ubuntu Software Center.

2.- Edit > Origins of the Software

3.- Then in the tab Other software, uncheck the box next to the PPA in question and click Accept.

It is important to deactivate both lines of each PPA.

In the same way, a PPA can also be re-enabled.

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  1.   Mordraug said

    Excellent article (as always) 😀

    A pleasure to read you Pablo ^^

    1.    let's use linux said

      Thanks Saito! I missed you! Good to see you here ...
      Cheers! Paul.

  2.   Juan Carlos Senar said

    Very clear! Thank you.

  3.   Julian said

    Very good.

  4.   Gambi said

    OMG!! many thanks.
    A little idea to complete this wonderful guide: has it occurred to you to include programs that are included in the distribution itself or that the official repository has but only an outdated version or that you already have them installed?
    For example, I installed the Azureus aka Vuze torrent program from the official repository, and after using it for a few months and having many files and torrents active I was faced with the dilemma that I could not uninstall and lose all that work and that I needed only one tool available in the latest version that the official ubunto repository has not updated.
    I think, I just think, that I managed to do it but it was a real odyssey and I didn't even learn or understand how I did it

    1.    let's use linux said

      Hello gambi! actually ... the procedure in that case is the same. You install the PPA, you update the list of packages and when you upgrade it will tell you that there is a new version of the program (in your case, azureus) that is none other than the one available in the ppa.
      I hope I was clear.
      Cheers! Paul.

  5.   zytum said

    Fine, but sometimes the specific ppa for a distribution is included.
    I have the problem for example of the update of Turpial 3.0. who have included it in
    while my software center focuses it on Olivia's officers or "raring" (I use Linux Mint)
    As much as I indicate that the files are hosted in saucy, I don't download and install the program.

  6.   lozanotux said

    Impossible to explain better! ... these days I will try to upload the YPPA Manager translated into Spanish in 1 ONLY DEB 🙂 install the DEB thing and that's it, it doesn't make sense ... it's supposed to be for people who don't know how to add PPAs and to install it you need to add a PPA lol. Very good article, it will do a lot. Cheers!

  7.   ErKiyo said

    Love this blog, Pablo! Good design and practical content. My question is focused on Elementary OS and related precisely to "Y PPA" and the software center; Is it possible that the installation of the first one will render the second one inoperative? I try to start it and nopi,
    Thank you very much

    1.    let's use linux said

      no, I do not think so…
      No idea what it could be, but I don't think the software center is the cause of the error.
      hug! Paul.

  8.   Carlos Cifuentes placeholder image said

    Very good page, that and I am a sponge, old lady but I still absorb what you teach in addition to those who forean or comment.

    1.    Luigys toro said

      Thank you very much Carlos for your comments, it is never too late to learn.

  9.   danny672007 said

    Thank you very much for your contributions, I am new to Linux and you helped me understand this wonderful world more!