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How To Install Software in Ubuntu Linux: A Complete Guide for Newbie

Before ten years ago, when I was new to the world of Ubuntu Linux, I was so confused about many things about how to do this and that. Among all those, how to install software in Ubuntu Linux is one of them. As a beginner, you also faced this sort of problem, especially when there are many more options available for installing and removing software in Ubuntu Linux.

In this roundup, I will show you some of the popular ways to install software in Ubuntu Linux. I will also try to cover how to remove the Ubuntu application from the system.

How To Install Software in Ubuntu Linux


For making this tutorial, I am using Ubuntu Gnome Desktop Environment. But this tutorial is also applicable for other Ubuntu-based Linux distros like Elementary OS, Linux Mint, Linux Deepin, Peppermint, etc.

1. How To Install Software in Ubuntu Using Software Center


If you have seen Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store, installing software from Ubuntu software center is much easier and familiar. Ubuntu Linux comes with a default software center that lets you install various software. You can search for software by its name or various categories.

Browse application in Ubuntu software center
Browse application in Ubuntu software center

You can find Ubuntu software center by following “Show Applications >> Search Ubuntu software center.”

Search Ubuntu software center
Search Ubuntu software center

After getting into the software center, you will find all the software by names, categories, editors pick, recommendations, etc. At the top right, the search option is there for searching for the desired application.

Resource Link: Best Linux Software: Our Editorial List of Essential Linux Apps

Search option in Ubuntu software center
Search option in Ubuntu software center

Once you have found the desired software, click on it, which will take you to the application description page with an install button. In this page, you will get a short description and reviews of the software. Now it’s time to hit the install button.

Short app description with install button in Ubuntu software center
Short app description with install button in Ubuntu software center

Voila! You have just learned how to install software in Ubuntu Linux via the software center.

Extra Important Tips: There are lots of application which are closed source proprietary software but does not come by default in the Ubuntu software center. That software only comes through enabling the Canonical Partner repository. In my tutorial on Best Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu, I have shown how to enable the Canonical partner repository to access more software.

To do so, search for software & update. In the other software tab, enables “Canonical Partners.”

Enable Additional Repositories
Enable Additional Repositories

Now you know how to install software in Ubuntu Linux using the software center. How about uninstalling the software you have just installed. Removing software from the Ubuntu software center is also very easy and straightforward. In the software center, click on the install tab, and you can see all the installed applications list with the removal option, click on remove, and it’s done.

Remove software from Ubuntu software center
Remove software from the Ubuntu software center.

2. How To Install Software in Ubuntu Using .deb Files


Installing software in Ubuntu using .deb files is very easy and similar to a .exe file in the Windows system. Many software providers offer their applications in a .deb file. You have to download the .deb file from the software-specific vendor and double click on it, which will take you in the Ubuntu software center with an option of install button.

Google Chrome deb package
Google Chrome deb package

There are many options available for .deb packages management. You can check out my previous tutorial on all the Possible Ways to Install deb Packages in Ubuntu Linux.

3. Install Software Using Flatpak


Basically, there are a few universal package management for the Linux environment, namely Snaps – created by Canonical, AppImage, and Flatpak from Fedora. All these software management systems provide a universal package installing environment irrespective of what Linux distribution you are using.

Flatpak is a universal framework for installing the software in Linux and brings a cross-platform solution that means a single application built for all the Linux distros.

All the new versions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint come preinstalled with Flatpak support. But you need to install in on an older version if you want to use Flatpak.

Enable Flatpak on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu derivatives

There is an official PPA for Ubuntu (version 17.10, 16.04, or older) to install Flatpak. Run the below command into the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexlarsson/flatpak
sudo apt update
sudo apt install flatpak

For the latest Ubuntu version, run the below command only:

sudo apt install flatpak

For more information, follow the official instruction.

Flatpak application support in Software Center

There are two ways to use the Flatpak software. One is using the Ubuntu software center, and another one is using the command-line interface. Command-line might be a bit difficult for the new users, but here I recommend you to enable Flatpak support for Gnome software center. Run the following command to install the Gnome software plugin:

sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak

Now you can download the .flatpakref file format application from a software-specific website or visit FlatHub – Flatpak app store.

flathub software store
flathub software store

Flatpak software install
Flatpak software install

This Gnome software plugin will allow you to open a .flatpakref file directly in the Ubuntu software center and let you install or launch the application.

4. Install Software in Ubuntu Using Snap Packages


Canonical has created Snaps for providing a cross-platform solution for installing applications on any Linux distributions. It’s a universal package management system that comes with all the dependencies and libraries that software is required to run on any Linux system.

Install Snap Software Environment on Ubuntu

All the latest Ubuntu and its derivatives are well supported Snaps packages by default. But you need to install Snaps environment for Ubuntu 16.04 and older version. Run the following command into the Terminal to install the Snap package management environment:

sudo apt install snapd

Now you can install the software by using the Snaps command from the software website.

sudo snap install <package>

Or use the Ubuntu software center.

Snaps application in Ubuntu software center
Snaps application in Ubuntu software center

5. Install Application in Ubuntu Using AppImage


Deb package and RPM file formats are used for installing software on Debian or Ubuntu, and Fedora/SUSE based Linux distro, respectively. There is a problem for the app developer that they have to maintain multiple packages for various Linux distributions. AppImage comes into the picture for offering a universal package management system for all the Linux distros to overcome this problem.

An AppImage file format is similar to the .exe file used in the Windows system. But with the. AppImage format, there is no extraction or installation; you delete AppImage, the software will be removed from Ubuntu, and double click on AppImage will run the application.

You have to follow three simple steps to run an AppImage on Ubuntu Linux.

  • Download .appimage package.
  • Make it executable by following Right Click on software >> Properties >> Permission Tab >> Check “Allow executing the file as program.
  • Now run the program.

6. How To Install Software in Ubuntu Using Apt Commands


This another easy way to install software on Ubuntu Linux. Just like installing software from the Ubuntu software center, the command line is similar to it. The only difference is Ubuntu software center is based on a graphical user interface, and an apt command is based on a command-line interface. Many software provides an apt command for installing software.

For example, the Chromium browser has the way, Ubuntu software center, and apt command, to install it on Ubuntu. If you want to install it, then go to Ubuntu software center and give search by keyword Chromium or else just type this simple apt command into the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):

sudo apt install -y chromium-browser

Normally the apt command looks like this:

sudo apt install package_name

Removing software is also very easy for apt command installation.

sudo apt remove package_name

7. How To Install App in Ubuntu Using PPA


PPA – Personal Package Archive is another easy way to install software on Ubuntu Linux. Many developers want to offer the latest version of their software directly to the end-users. In that case, PPA can be used as Ubuntu’s official software repository takes a month to include any cutting-edge software in the Ubuntu software center. So many Ubuntu users may not wait for that long time rather can use PPA to install the latest version instantly.

Here I am going to show you an example of the installation of Cinnamon Desktop in Ubuntu Linux.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cinnamon

Note that here I have followed a total of three commands. The first one is for adding the PPA repository to the system’s source list, 2nd one is for updating the cache of the software list, and the last one is for installing the specific software using PPA apt command.

8. Using Synaptic Package Manager


Synaptic Package Manager is a great alternative to the Ubuntu software center. It can help you to install various software in Ubuntu Linux. You can install Synaptic Package Manager from the Ubuntu software center or use the command-line tool. Run the below command to install it:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Do the following things to install an app from Synaptic Package Manager.

  • Search for the software or package
  • Check “Mark for Installation”
  • Press “Apply”

Install software from Synaptic Package Manager
Install software from Synaptic Package Manager

9. How To Install Software in Ubuntu Using dpkg


Installing a deb package through dpkg is a bit for advanced users but the most reliable one.

  • Install a package

To install a deb file, open the Terminal and run the following command:

sudo dpkg -i .deb

Example:

sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb
  • Resolve Dependency Errors

Run the below command if you get any dependency errors. It will fix all the errors.

sudo apt-get install -f
  • Remove the application

If you want to uninstall a software, run the command into the Terminal.

dpkg -r packagename.deb
  • To Reconfigure/Repair the deb installation.
sudo dpkg-reconfigure packagename

10. How To Install Software in Ubuntu Using the Source Code


Installing software using the source code in Ubuntu Linux is a bit complicated and not recommended for the newbie. There are many software that comes with source code, and in Linux, many users prefer to use it. Most of the source code comes in a compressed file as .tar.gz, tgz, tar.bz2, .zip, etc. You have to follow few steps to install this sort of file.

  • Download the source code file.
  • Extract it.
  • Go to the extracted folder and look for a README or INSTALL file, if any, which will let you know how to install or remove the specific software.
  • Run the below command into the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) one by one to install the software:
    • ./configure
    • make
    • sudo make install

11. Installing Packages via Your Web Browser


The APT protocol (or apturl) is a simple and hassle-free way to install the software in Ubuntu Linux. This way basically uses your web browser to deliver the software packages to the users. In this case, you just need to click on apturl, prompting the installation process. Below is an example for installing synaptic package manager using apturl:

Synaptic package install using apturl
Synaptic package install using apturl

Synaptic package install using apturl-2

Install Synaptic Package Manager

12. Install Python Applications via Pip – “Pip Installs Packages”


Pip is another way to install software, especially Python-based apps, in Ubuntu Linux. Pip actually a command-line based software management system for apps that are written in Python programming language. It’s easy to use, and if you are a software developer, you can use Pip to install and manage various Python packages and modules for your Python projects. Moreover, there are lots of excellent and useful Python-based software on the market, so install all those, you need to learn how to use Pip on your system.

Installing Pip in Ubuntu is straightforward. Pip varies as per the Python version, and as Ubuntu latest version comes with both Python 2 and Python 3 by default, so you just need to check the Python version before going for final installation.

Install Pip on Ubuntu

Run the below command to install Pip for Python 2 and Python 3 consecutively in Ubuntu Linux:

sudo apt install python-pip
sudo apt install python3-pip

Use Pip Command

If you want to search, install, or remove any Python package, you must learn some Pip basic command.

  • To search the packages, run the below command:
pip search <search_string>

This command will show you the Python Package Index.

  • Install an application using pip, run the following command:
pip install <package_name>
  • Remove a Python package installed via pip, use the following command:
pip uninstall <installed_package_name>

Note: You can use Pip3 instead of Pip for Python version 3.

The Last Words


Now I think it’s clear that installing software in Ubuntu Linux is easy and straightforward. The software which is not available in the Ubuntu software center can be found as a .deb package or AppImage format. You can also install or remove any software via Terminal using official or unofficial PPA. If nothing doesn’t work, there is still an option of building from the source code.

Resource Link: 10 GitHub Alternatives for Hosting your Open Source Projects

I hope this tutorial on installing the software in Ubuntu Linux will help the beginner in the way of Linux usages. Did I miss any important ways to install the software in Ubuntu Linux? Let us share your suggestions and experience in the comment section.

7 COMMENTS

  1. My problem is trying to install an application globally. By this I mean that each user account is able to see the new application on his/her Sow Applications view.
    With
    sudo apt install
    it sometimes is shown globally and other times just on the admin’s own Show Applications view.

    I always thought that local installation of apps was insecure since users would be often browsing the web while using apps and the potential for hacking into files with write & delete as well as read privileges therefore becomes greater.
    With apps installed on the Admin account, no writing/deleting can be done to app files.

    If anyone can enlighten me, please do.

  2. Interesting. I have no idea what the hell I just read– I just want to download and install the program.

    So, how do I do that– without the encyclopedic computer class.

  3. Nice article, I learned a few things. But there are still things that leave me mystified. Looking at installing updated version of BaseX which I installed via the software center. Software center installs version 8.2.3. When running the software I got a message something like, “You can upgrade to newer version 9.3.1” and a link which takes you to their website where I have to choose between .jar or .zip or .war. Even if I knew which to choose, I’m not really sure where to unpack the files to. The link to their community page 404’s

    Also another application I am trying to install, Arelle, comes in a .tgz with no indication if it needs to be compiled, where it should be installed etc.. There have been no responses to my help request on their google users group after 4 days.

    Getting frustrated with linux/ubuntu and the lack of documentation. Yours above is very good and thank-you for it but does not cover my situation. A friendly request for you, it would nice if you put the date of the article and the comment posts.

  4. your complete guide for newbies is not newbie enough for me. Step-by-step instructions always start with something I don’t understand like: “You can find Ubuntu software center by following “Show Applications >> Search Ubuntu software center.”. Follow where? Where do I find “show applications”?

    I want to install Sophos-av for Liniux , I downloaded it but have no Idea how to install it. The manual they e-mailed to me included an install command that the command line says “not found” when I try to run it. I’ve spent 2 hours online, unprotected, and still have no clue how to install Sophos or anything else. Can you send me the name of a site that is really for newbies?

  5. hi!
    I THANK YOU SOOO MUCH
    for this very special tut for all way you can do install software on tux.
    i have now 3 books for shell and comands…..
    the tell all auper things…. but install software its a mystic… idont know why the all make this so…
    now i hope it is allright for me.
    thank you ons more again!
    grz from vie
    alfa

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