How to install a Software in Ubuntu from a PPA

Whenever a new version or a new software is released it is not directly available in the Main or Universe repos of Ubuntu. They are most likely to be available in Ubuntu's next release. But most of the latest software releases are available as PPAs (Personal package archives) in Launchpad. Using those personal repositories you can install the latest releases of any software in your Ubuntu. Let me show you the general method to do that.

Let us consider the example of Ubuntu Mozilla Daily Build Team, which provides PPA of the latest Firefox or Thunderbird Development releases. Let's see how to use its PPA to install lastest Mozilla products in Ubuntu.

In this whole process of installation the first step is to find the PPA. The method I use is either search for the software in launchpad or google "<software-name> PPA launchpad". Use the following methods to install a software/package in Ubuntu from a PPA.

Installing software from PPA in Ubuntu 9.10 or later versions

Installing from PPAs is really easy in Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala or later versions. All you have to do is:

1. Visit the PPAs overview page in Launchpad and look for the heading/line "Add a PPA to your Ubuntu System" and copy the PPA's location. It should be similar to ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa.  Check mozilla-daily's PPA overview page. Now, run the following command with the PPA's location.

[shredder12]$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa

After running this your sytem will fetch the PPA keys. This will let your Ubuntu system verify that the packages in the PPA have not been interferred since they were built.

2. Now, run the update to download all the list of softwares from the repos you know. This step is importance because you neecd to download the latest list of softwares in the PPA.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get update

3. Now, you are all set to install software from the PPA. Just use the regular apt-get install or synaptic to download and install it. If you already have the package installed and you added the PPA to upgrade it to the most recent version then you just need to run.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Installing software from PPA for versions earlier than Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic koala

Here job becomes a little manual. You will need to follow this method if you are either using an Ubuntu version earlier than Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala or if the method mentioned above didn't work for you. Follow the following steps to install the desired software successfully.

1. Got to the PPA overview page (page of mozilla-daily PPA archive) and under the heading "Adding this PPA to your system" click the link "Technical details about this PPA" and copy the PPA for your version of Ubuntu.

2.  The PPA should look something like this.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src
http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

Copy those 2 lines.

3. Open the file /etc/apt/sources.list

[shredder12]$ sudo  gedit  /etc/apt/sources.list

and add those lines at the end, save the file and close the editor.

or, you may go to System -> Administration -> Software Sources. Open the "other softwares" tab

Click the add button and add the first line and click add source. Now, follow the same procedure to add the 2nd line too. When prompted to reload the software sources information, do that. You will see warnings about unverified software sources. Don't worry about that we are going to fix that next.

4. Now, we need to add the OpenPGP key so that Ubuntu can verify the packages from the PPA. In the overview page, look for Signing Key after clicking on the Technical Details about this PPA. You will see something like this

1024R/247510BE

copy the part after "/" and run the command.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 247510BE

note that I placed the copied part in the end.

5. Now, run the update to download the list of softwares from the PPA repos.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get update

Now, you are all set to install software from the PPA. Just use the regular apt-get install or synaptic to download and install it. If you already have the package installed and you added the PPA to upgrade it to the most recent version then you just need to run.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

NOTE: Please note that verifying the key doesn't ensure that the software is safe. It only makes sure that the software has not been modified after signing it. Its your responsibility to ensure that the PPA ownwer is trustable.

ANOTHER NOTE: Please be careful while installing the latest releases. Its always a good practice to know about the various dependencies and requirements of the software you are going to install, you might want to consult the PPA maintainer or post it on Ubuntuforums before installation. Sometimes these things may lead to a broken system. I am not trying to scare you, just asking you to be careful.

1 Comment

Ciarán (not verified)
July 23rd, 2010 03:08 pm
I couldn't remember the PPA command unlucky your article was well layed out that I could find that info in second. Thanks

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