One of the most frequent questions among users who start in GNU / Linux, is how to install or uninstall programs and what kind of packages can be installed. We will show you one of the easiest ways to do this task, using Synaptic, and also, we will briefly tell you what it is and how we can use it.
Normally in Windows, to install a program a file with the extension .exe and we just have to use the Next »Next with one or another serial number and for the reverse process (uninstall), we go to Control Panel »Add / Remove Programs.
In the case of GNU / Linux, there are also what we could call our .exe but of course, they have another name and structure. Usually most of the packages in GNU / Linux They are housed in repositories, and various tools are used to manage them. Perhaps the most popular or known are the .deb and . Rpm and both can be managed by Synaptic, which was initially an interface for APT.
Work with Synaptic it is very simple. The interface is not complicated and rarely does a new user have to use or modify all of its options. In general, as it comes by default, the most common tasks can be performed.
Synaptic has been like him Add / Remove Programs de Windows. For its operation, we must have configured (in the case of Debian and its derivatives) the paths to the repositories where the packages to install are located, in the file / Etc / apt / sources.list. From that file, Synaptic gets the path needed to access the packages.
Knowing the interface.
At the top we have the Menu bar of which we will see some options later. A little further down, the following buttons:
- Recharge: Update the package list.
- Apply: When we mark a package to install or uninstall, we use this button to apply the change.
- Properties: It shows the characteristics of the package, its description and dependencies.
- Search: It displays a dialog with several options to search for packages according to certain parameters.
Below we have the interface divided into two columns. On the left are the options according to the section we select. Call the buttons section: Sections, Status, Origin, Filters and Search Results.
- Sections: Shows packages organized by categories. If we want to search for a package related to the Gnome Desktop Environment, for example, we just have to go to the section Gnome.
- Condition: In this section we will find which are the upgradeable, obsolete, installed or residual packages.
- Origin: Shows the origin (repositories) of the packages. In other words, where they come from.
- Filters: In this section you can apply certain filters to obtain various types of information. It is important to know that the broken packages appear here.
- Search results: Precisely what it does is as its name indicates, it displays search results in Synaptic.
On the other side we have the list of packages that we can install through Synaptic. If we select any of them and right click, we can choose certain options such as:
- Uncheck: Uncheck the package if we have previously selected it.
- Check to install: Check the package to install.
- Mark to reinstall: Well that, select and reinstall the package.
- Mark to update: If the package has an update, we select it with this option.
- Mark to delete: Delete only the selected package.
- Check to remove completely: Remove the selected package with its recommended dependencies. The suggested dependencies go to residual configuration.
- Properties: Does the same as the button at the top.
- Mark recommended for installation: Select the recommended dependencies of the package to install.
- Mark Suggested for Installation: Select the suggested dependencies of the package to install.
Knowing this we can already work with Synaptic, but we can do other things, like for example change the sources of the repositories. Something useful if the mirrors we use are slow or down. For this we will Configuration »Repository.
In the options window that we get, we only need to know 3 tabs to be able to manage our repositories. In the first, we get the branches that we use in linuxmint (Main, Upstream, Import, Backport and Romeo). Just checking / unchecking edits the file / Etc / apt / sources.list.
In the second tab we include the repositories that are not Mint, that is, the Third Party Packages and Debian, PPA de Ubuntu or any source compatible with LMDE.
And in the third tab, we can activate the automatic updates and every time we want them to run.
If you need it, Synaptic also has to set the Network proxy and Distribution that we want to use by default. For this we will Settings »Preferences.
To explain a little about the Distribution, if we look at the file / Etc / apt / sources.list, we have two layouts to use (note the colored text):
deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian testing main contribution non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/ updates main contrib non-free
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main non-free
Default, Synaptic always takes the highest distribution, which means that if the packet enters Pidgin 2.8 in the repos of Mint (debian) and version 2.9 in Debian (testing), the program will suggest to install version 2.9.
Of course, this can be changed if we manually choose the distribution we want to use using the option: Prefer versions of:
There are other tools to manage our packages, update and install them. Ubuntu for example now includes your Software Center, and LMDE has a very similar one, but in a certain way Synaptic It is more complete.