In a previous post I introduced the concept of a personal package archives (PPAs) and how you’d create one if you are capable of developing software for Ubuntu. In this post we would be talking about how to add PPA configuration to your system and install software from them. If you know the web address of a PPA’s Launchpad page, adding it to your list of software sources is relatively simple.
First of all go to the Launchpad site for a PPA, you will see a heading to the left called “Adding this PPA to your system.” Underneath will be a short paragraph containing a unique URL containing something like deb https://ppa.lauchpad.net/embrosyn/cinnamon/ubuntu trusty main. Highlight this URL by selecting it with your mouse, then right-click and select Copy.
Ubuntu has a rather simple GUI method of adding Personal Package Archives (PPAs) to the software repository list where software can be downloaded. Then, from your Ubuntu PC go to the “Software & Updates” window (Ubuntu Software Centre > Edit > Software Sources), and in the Other Software tab, click ‘Add’ at the bottom.
A new window will appear, and you will see the words “Apt line:” followed by a text field. Right-click on the empty space in this text field and select Paste. You should see appear the URL (something like, deb https://ppa.lauchpad.net/embrosyn/cinnamon/ubuntu trusty main) you copied from the PPA’s Launchpad site earlier.
Click Add Source to return to the “Software & Updates” window. You will see a new entry has been added to the list of sources in this window with a selected check box in front (meaning it is enabled).
READ ALSO: What is a PPA?
If you click Close in the bottom right corner of this window, a message will appear informing you that “The information about available software is out-of-date.” This is because you have just added a new repository to Ubuntu, and it now needs to connect to that repository and download a list of the packages it provides.
Click Reload, and wait while Ubuntu refreshes all of your enabled repositories (including this new one you just added).
When it has finished, the window will close automatically.
Congratulations, you have just added a PPA to your list of software sources. You can now open the Ubuntu Software Center and install applications from this PPA in the same way you previously installed applications from the default Ubuntu repositories.
Adding PPA through command-line
If you’re using the most recent version of Ubuntu, you can add a PPA to your system with a single line in your terminal. Make sure you have the package python-software-properties installed.
Step 1: On the PPA’s overview page, look for the heading that reads Adding this PPA to your
system. Make a note of the PPA’s location, which looks like (for example):
This is a PPA used to install the ‘cinnamon’ desktop environment in Ubuntu 14.04.
Step 2: Open a terminal and enter:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:user/ppa-name
Replace ‘ppa:user/ppa-name‘ with the PPA’s location that you noted above.
Your system will now fetch the PPA’s key. This enables your Ubuntu system to verify that the
packages in the PPA is still intact as developed and have not been interfered with since they were built.
Step 3: Now, you should tell your system to pull down the latest list of software (update) from each archive it knows about, including the PPA you just added:
$ sudo apt-get update
Now you’re ready to start installing software from the PPA!
$ sudo apt-get install cinnamon
WARNING! – PPA’s do not undergo the same stringent process of validation as packages in the main Ubuntu repositories. PPA keys are cryptographically signed but are still a low security alternative to the main repository and so the user will be installing software AT THEIR OWN RISK.
READ ALSO: How secured is a PPA?
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