Most of us are intimately familiar with how great apt is at installing software on Ubuntu from the command line.

But chances are there are some apps you wish you could apt install, but you can’t.

Google Chrome is my main one (hey, I like it, let me be). Every time I do a fresh install of Ubuntu or a derivative like Pop!_OS or Linux Mint, I usually have to go out of my way to go get it from an official source.

Now, it’s already simple to install Google Chrome on Ubuntu: go to the Chrome website, download the latest .deb installer, then sudo dpkg -i install it (though I could double-click the deb and install it using a GUI, like a regular Joe might, but hey.

However, it’s not apt-get efficient.

A Truly Deb-lectable Utility

FOSS superhero Martin Wimpress has created a neat new tool. It lets you install .deb installers from third-party repos (including PPAs) as well as websites, Github, and more, all from the command line, in a manner directly inspired by apt.

Or to quote the project’s GitHub page: “apt-get functionality for .debs published in 3rd party repositories or via direct download. It works on Ubuntu and derivative distributions”.

But it gets better.

Like regular apt deb-get is able to handle installing any dependencies required by the software to run (as long those dependencies are in the Ubuntu repo), and it can also handle updates, upgrades, removals (including purge), cleaning, and searching.

I installed Balena Etcher using deb-get

Martin’s rationale for creating the tool —lest anyone complain; he’s entitled to spend his time making whatever he wants— is that third-party repositories exist and won’t be going away just because we hope they will. I’m firmly in the camp that considers Flatpak the future but I’m also pragmatic: not everything is on Flathub, and not everything will ever be on Flathub.

Plus, there are other reasons you may want to go outside of a centralised app hub or the main Ubuntu repos, such as wanting to use software not technically packaged for Ubuntu; software that has a faster release cadence than available elsewhere; or software with licensing restrictions that prevent it from being more commonly available.

Which is why deb-get is so deb-liciously exciting.

You can download deb-get to use on your own system and learn more info about the project over on the Get Deb Github page.

Once installed, run deb-get list to see the software available to install using it. Then install software by running sudo deb-get application — easy! All of your favourite apt commands have equivalents here, so you can deb-get search, deb-get purge, and deb-get clean.

apt martin wimpress PPAs