Switching to Ubuntu: Adding New Software

April 29, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Getting started with your new open source operating system means knowing what is included and how to add new software.

No OS features every tool that you could possibly need, but it has to be said that Ubuntu does a good job, offering everything from media players to image editors, office software and multiple ways of adding new software.

This last point is important; in the past, it has been argued that users have shied away from Linux distros because of the comparative difficulties of installing software compared to Windows and Mac. Once dismissed as a trivial argument, the ease with which apps could be installed on other platforms (such as mobile phones) has since made this and important aspect of Linux, and in recent years the Synaptic Package Manager was added, making it easy to access and download updates stored on several central repositories.

Ubuntu meanwhile takes this a step further, including its own “app store”, Ubuntu Software Center, a good 12 months before Apple introduced their own into Mac OS X.

Switching to Ubuntu - adding new software

Synaptic Package Manager

The main way to install additional software on many Linux distros is via the Synaptic Package Manager, accessed via System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. This tool lists the available additions that you can make to your Ubuntu installation, such as adding WINE for creating a Windows emulation environment, or installing a media player such as VLC.

The idea is simple: all you need to do is use the search tool in the top right of the window to search for the software you want to download, fill the check box to Mark for Installation and then click Apply to begin the download and installation of the chosen software. Games, utilities, server software and much more is available using this tool.

Anything that you cannot find in the Synaptic Package Manager, meanwhile, will probably be available to download from the web via your browser. Installing such downloads will generally require unTARballing the download and then running it. We’ll address the issue of manual installation at a later date…

Ubuntu Software Center

A far more accessible and easy method of adding software to Ubuntu is via the Ubuntu Software Center, available via the Applications menu.

Using this tool is much more straightforward than using the Synaptic Package Manager. Again, you can use the search tool in the top right hand corner, but rather than scroll through a list of seemingly-unrelated software packages, the Ubuntu Software Center allows you to select and Install the app that you need in a matter of settings, much in the way the Apple App Store does.

Additionally, removing software is also made easy using Ubuntu Software Center. Simple select and expand the Installed Software section on the left-hand pane, find the application that you want to remove and select it, using the Remove button to take it off your system!

© 2008-2012 DeviceMag.com - All rights reserved | Privacy Policy