Ubuntu: Installing deb files

The following guide offers a step-by-step explanation of how to install Debian packages (*.deb) in Ubuntu. In addition to Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, Linux Mint, elementary OS or other Debian based distro can apply steps in this guide, too.

What are .deb files?

Debian and its derivatives such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, elementary, etc., utilize the .deb file format for distributing software. Control and installation packages are contained in these archive files. Using certain methods, any source code can be packaged as a .deb file and installed in target systems as long as dependencies are satisfied.

.deb files support GPG signatures, while they are also capable of being converted into other packages formats, such as .rpm with alien.

There are several ways to install deb files in Ubuntu. We will explain 4 different steps for absolutely new users.

Install from GUI

The easiest way to install .deb files in Ubuntu is by using this method. It utilizes a software tool designed in-house. Open the file manager and browse to the location of the .deb file. Select 'Open with the software installer' from the right-click menu.

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You must wait for the Software to open before clicking Install.

Upon completion of the installation, the application will appear in the app grid.

Install deb files using GDEBI

Gdebi is an extremely handy tool for installing any .deb file on Ubuntu. When you use gdebi, all the dependencies are resolved and installed automatically.

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Ubuntu does not include the gdebi package manager by default. It must be installed separately. Run the following command in a terminal to install GDEBI.

sudo apt install gdebi

Run the following command via the terminal once you have installed GDEBI. Change the path and package name according to your application. This command will automatically install the .deb package for you.

sudo gdebi /path/package_name.deb

Using dpkg Package Manager to install .deb files

You can also install .deb files with built-in dpkg program. Installing .deb packages is made easy with the switch -i on its command-line. All Debian-based systems come with dpkg installed by default.

sudo dpkg -i /path/package_name.deb

If you try to install the package, you may receive an error message that indicates a dependency. To install dependencies that are pending, use the following command.

sudo apt-get install -f

This will complete the .deb file installation using dpkg.

Install deb files using apt

You can also install .deb files using the default apt package manager. Apt is a powerful package manager that you can use for many things. To install any .deb package using apt, use any of the following commands.

sudo apt install ./package_name.deb
sudo apt install /path/package_name.deb

Please note that you have to adjust package name and path accordingly.

Uninstall .deb file package

The actual installed package name needs to be provided to uninstall a deb package. The name of the package is different (in most cases) from the actual .deb file. You can use the following command to find out what package is installed.

dpkg -I package_name.deb

Then using the package name, follow any of the below commands to remove it from your system.

sudo apt remove package_name
sudo dpkg -r package_name

Finally, you can use the autoremove feature of the apt package manager to remove any unwanted packages that may have appeared in your system when you installed the package using the command below.

sudo apt autoremove

Conclusion

It's my hope that this tutorial will help you familiarize yourself with the different methods for installing .deb files on Ubuntu and other similar distributions. The man pages for these utilities can provide more details if you have this basic knowledge.

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