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How many times have you tried to install an application on Ubuntu with apt, only to find the application not found in the standard repositories? And when you go hunting down a repository, there’s none to be had. Docker-ce is a great example of this. If you want to install the latest iteration of the Docker runtime engine, you can either install docker.io from the standard repository (which isn’t the latest release with all the fancy bells and whistles), or you can go through the steps to install Docker-ce manually.

SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

Or maybe you want to install the stable version of Chrome on Ubuntu, but don’t want to have to go through the process of downloading the .deb file and then using dpkg to run the installation.

There are at least two problems with the former method: A) it’s not as easy as using apt and B) updating the software isn’t nearly as simple as it is with apt. The problem with the latter method is sometimes those deb files aren’t easy to locate.

To solve this problem, long-time Ubuntu developer and Linux champion Martin Wimpress has created a new project called deb-get to resolve this problem that has been a thorn in Ubuntu’s side for some time.

Deb-get brings to deb packages what apt-get delivers to repositories — a simplified process for installation applications. With deb-get, you can quickly similarly install several third-party packages as with apt-get. Let me show you how it’s done.

What you’ll need

To install and use deb-get, you’ll need a running instance of Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-based distribution and a user with sudo privileges. That’s it. Let’s get this deb-get party started.

How to install deb-get

Installing deb-get is very easy. You’ll first need to make sure you have curl installed with the command:

sudo apt-get install curl -y

With curl added, install deb-get with this handy script:

curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wimpysworld/deb-get/main/deb-get | sudo -E bash -s install deb-get

You can verify the installation with the command:

deb-get version

This will print out the current version of the software which should indicate that it’s clearly still in beta. Upon installation, I found deb-get to be at version 0.2.4.

How to use deb-get

Using deb-get is very much like using apt-get. First, find a list of available applications with the command:

sudo deb-get list

Although the list isn’t massive, there are plenty of titles already available to install, such as:

  • 1password
  • Atom
  • azure-cli
  • Bitwarden
  • Discord
  • Docker-ce
  • Docker-desktop
  • Dropbox
  • Enpass
  • Google Chrome
  • ONLYOFFICE Desktopeditors
  • Opera
  • Powershell
  • Skype
  • Spotify
  • Slack
  • Teams

Once you find a package to install, simply run the command:

sudo deb-get install PACKAGE

Where PACKAGE is the name of the package to be installed (as shown from the sudo deb-get list command). Here are other commands you can run with deb-get.

Resync package index files:

sudo deb-get update

Install the newest versions of all packages installed with deb-get:

sudo deb-get upgrade

Reinstall a package:

sudo deb-get reinstall PACKAGE

Where PACKAGE is the name of the software to be reinstalled.

Remove a package:

sudo deb-get remove PACKAGE

Remove a package and any configuration files left behind:

sudo deb-get purge PACKAGE

Clear the local repository of retrieved files:

sudo deb-get clean

Show details for a given package:

sudo deb-get show PACKAGE

And that’s all there is to using the new deb-get tool, by Martin Wimpress. This easy-to-use addition to apt-get makes it considerably easier to install third-party applications and keep them up-to-date with a single command. I highly recommend making use of deb-get on all of your Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

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