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gdebi August 6, 2006

Posted by oktyabr in debian, digg, gnome, linux, screenshots.
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Ever heard a windows user make the argument that all they have to do to install a package is “click on it”? Forget the fact that apps like Synaptic further equipt with a beefed up /etc/apt/sources.list can provide over 19,000 packages to a debian based system… without searching the web for app “x”, library “y” and driver “z”… “One click” makes Windows superior to linux, dammit!!! Ok, ok… settle down 😉

Well, gdebi makes that sort of argument one step closer to being a moot point, at least under gnome on a debian based system… Now you can easily download and install .deb packages manually, one by one…

So then you have to answer the question “Why would you want to install packages manually when you have apt-get?!?!” Because sometimes a package will exist seperately from the standard repositories as shown in the following example! This might include older versions, beta versions, etc.

Are there alternatives? Sure, you can download a package and use “dpkg -i” to install it but if your system doesn’t already have all the needed dependencies installed you are basically at a dead end, at least as far as simplicity goes. Once I even tried to build a local apt repository… all you have to do is, first, create a directory and put the .debs you want to index in it . Then you modify the definitions set on the package’s control file directly for your repository using an override file. Inside this file you may want to define some options to override the ones that come with the package and then the next step is to run dpkg-scanpackages and… you get the picture! Not exactly an “easy” solution!

“gdebi”… might be shorthand for something said to a female persona in an irc chatroom or something!

But really gdebi is a very cool “simple” tool for package installation on debian (and deb’s offspring like ubuntu). Based on a bunch of python scripts gdebi adds right-click functionality to Gnome that makes installing individually, manually downloaded .deb packages a breeze… with full dependancy resolution!

Check the screenshots!

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Hey… where is kdebi??? Coming to a KDE desktop near you soon… I hope!

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