Not too long ago I wrote an article titled “Easy Ways To Add Software Repositories In Ubuntu,” which was – as the title suggests – a tutorial/explanation of how extra software repositories could easily be added to the Ubuntu sources.list file, which is used to keep your Ubuntu system up-to-date. Other versions of Linux use the sources.list file as well, but my article was aimed directly at Ubuntu users (hence the terminology). In the past month, however, a couple of programs have been released that make the process a lot more user-friendly. One of those programs is called Introduce PPA, and I’ll be discussing it in this article.
Introduce PPA currently has to main functions. You can install a PPA (personal package archive) and a program by entering two commands. Many websites are including code such as the following, to tell people the program is available in its own PPA, almost always hosted on Launchpad:
To enter that into your sources.list file (or into its own file in the “sources.list.d” folder, you would need to remember the following command:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:tualatrix
To add the PPA using Introduce PPA, on the other hand, you simply need to paste the first, shorter phrase into the first text entry field (on the left), and then click the Add PPA button. You’ll then be asked which program you’d like to add. Enter this, click to continue, and Introduce PPA will add the PPA and perform the installation for you. Simple!
Many other websites include three lines of text, similar to the following:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
The above three lines are just an example, but typing those lines, one after another (hitting Enter after each line, then waiting while the command was completed), would first add the PPA to your sources.list, then the second line would update the list. The third line would finally add a program called ubuntu-tweak, which is available in that repository.
With Introduce PPA, you can simply copy all three lines from a website, paste them all at once into the second text entry field (you can copy and paste multiple three-line groups to add more than one repository/program at once), then again click the Add PPA button.
Introduce isn’t necessarily faster or better than any other way of adding repositories or installing software that I’ve previously covered, but it does have one big advantage. Many people, especially those new to Linux, can be a bit “scared” of using the Terminal. It’s not graphically “pretty” and it also doesn’t pop up nice, friendly, “are you sure you want to do that?” warnings. It’s black and white, and although it’s very efficient and fast, can be a bit intimidating. Introduce PPA allows you access to doing things “the Terminal way,” without actually using the Terminal. And compared to adding a new repository in the Ubuntu Software Center or in KPackageKit (for KDE), Introduce PPA is a lot fewer steps. It’s a nice intermediate step between a full-fledged package management GUI application and the Terminal, and is definitely worth trying out if you, or someone you know, isn’t yet entirely comfortable in the Terminal.