Living free with Linux: Round 2

Linux installation issues bedeviled Preston's first foray into the OS. After getting lots of advice on how to solve his problems, he reports on the results.

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Want to uninstall the software? Again, it's simple to do. Run the Synaptic Package Manager, search for the software you've installed, click the box to the left of it and tell the Synaptic Package Manager to remove it. Then click Apply, and follow the same instructions for installing software. The Synaptic Package Manager takes care of the rest.

All this sounds simple, and sometimes it is. Unfortunately, though, sometimes there are glitches. For example, let's say you know of an application that you want to download that isn't listed in the Synaptic Package Manager. What do you do then?

Ideally, that application is in a repository somewhere, which just doesn't happen to be in the list of repositories in the Synaptic Package Manager. So you'll need to add the repository to the Synaptic Package Manager.

In some instances, the download page for the software will tell you which repository to use. Again, you'll need to know your Linux distribution, because different versions of the software for different distributions may be in different repositories.

To add the repository to your Package Manager, you select System > Administration --> Software Sources, select the Third-Party Software tab, and click on Add. A screen appears, asking you to enter the "APT line" of the new repository. Again, if you're lucky, the software you want to download will have the exact line you need to add on its Web page. It may look something like this:

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy main

Once you add that, you should be able to download and install the software normally using the Synaptic Package Manager.

However, there will be times when you can't find the software in a repository. If you're a newbie like me, my recommendation at that point would be not to bother. Find an alternative from the plenty of other Linux applications available.

Using Add/Remove

Add/Remove offers only the most popular software, not the Synaptic Package Manager's wider selection. And you won't be able to add new repositories to it. But if you want to try it, here's now to proceed:

Living free with Linux II

Add/Remove is another good way to install applications in Linux.

Click to view larger image

Select Applications --> Add/Remove, and the Add/Remove Applications screen appears. You'll find a list of categories, including Accessories, Education, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office and so on. Select the category you're interested in. You'll get a list of applications, descriptions and popularity ratings, gauged by the number of people who have downloaded it. Check the box next to any you want to install. Some of the applications may already have checks next to them -- that means that you already have the application installed.

Click Apply Changes. A notification screen appears asking if you want to "apply the change." Yes, the terminology is awkward, weird and confusing, but get over it --- this is Linux, after all.

Click Apply, and enter your system administrator password to continue. After minutes, depending on the size of the download, you'll get a notification that a new application has been installed. You'll also see the name of the program you just installed. Double-click it to run the application.

To uninstall the application, select Applications --> Add/Remove. To quickly find the application you want to remove, select Installed Applications Only from the top of the screen. You'll see a list with only the applications you've installed. Uncheck the box next to it, and follow the same directions for installing an application, and the application will be uninstalled for you.

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