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Ubuntu Hacks by Bill Childers, Kyle Rankin, Jonathan Oxer

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Hack #55. Manage Packages with Synaptic

Use the default Ubuntu package manager to easily install and update programs on your system.

One thing that can be difficult to get used to if you are new to Linux is package management. On one hand, the way that Ubuntu handles program installation and upgrading is much simpler than on other operating systems. On the other hand, it's rather different from what you might be used to, so it takes some time to learn the ins and outs. Luckily, all you need to learn is a single tool and you can then apply that knowledge to install and upgrade any of thousands of Ubuntu programs. In this hack, we talk about how to use the default Ubuntu package manager called Synaptic to manage all of Ubuntu's packages efficiently and easily.

The first step is to start Synaptic. Click System→Administration→Synaptic Package Manager to launch the program. Synaptic requires root privileges to run, so you will be prompted for your password when it starts. Figure 6-1 shows the default interface, which has a lot of information on it, but once you are familiar with its functions, you'll find it's not too difficult to navigate.

The default Synaptic window

Figure 6-1. The default Synaptic window

The main window is divided into a few sections. The sidebar displays the different package categories so that you can quickly drill down to a particular group of packages (like games) and not have to read through ...

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