How to install a program in Ubuntu

How to install a program in Ubuntu

Installing a program in Ubuntu is an extremely simple task. Ubuntu adds the most common programs by default and powerful that Linux has, however, if we need some more specific software, we can easily install it by following the steps that we are going to indicate below.

In Ubuntu, and Linux in general, unlike how much software is installed in Windows, it is usually not necessary to search for the program on the Internet, download it and install lots of libraries necessary for it to function correctly. We have repositories (PPA) available, which are a kind of centralized warehouse that contains all the software and that is always (relatively) updated. we can also install DEB packages, that we will find these on the internet, the Canonical snap or the Flatpak.

There are several ways to install a program in Ubuntu. We will present them to you from lowest to highest level of «complexity».

Ubuntu Software

Ubuntu Software

The simplest and most intuitive way of all is through this application. In fact, Ubuntu Software (formerly Ubuntu Software Center) is nothing more than a fork from GNOME Software designed to prioritize snap packages. In this store we can search for any type of package, and it will appear if it is in the official Ubuntu repositories or in Snapcraft, where snap packages are uploaded.

To access it we must click on the Ubuntu Software icon, which is usually in the side panel. This application is divided into several sections, all of them accessible from the top:

  • To the left of everything we have the magnifying glass, from where we can carry out searches.
  • In the center we have the sections for:
    • Browse (by store).
    • Installed applications, where we will see what we have installed, although not all the packages appear.
    • Updates, where we will see what is about to update when there are new packages.

Installation options

Regarding Ubuntu Software, it seems important to me to mention again that it is a store designed to prioritize snap packets. Ubuntu's natives are DEBs, with snaps being ones that themselves contain core software and dependencies. They are an option, but may not be our favorite. If we choose to use Ubuntu Software, we have to look at the drop-down menu on the top right. It is here where we will see if an option is in DEB version; by default it will offer us the snap package. Which makes us propose an alternative.


How am I going to install GNOME Software if Ubuntu Software is the same and is already installed? Well, because it is not, nor is it close to being. Ubuntu Software has some restrictions and a philosophy that GNOME Software does not. The official Project GNOME store offers the software without prioritizing or hiding anything, or if prioritize something will be the DEB package option, the one of a lifetime. The bad thing about talking about this option in second position is that to use it we will have to install the store with the penultimate method, with the terminal, and we will deploy its full potential by adding support for Flathub.


Once we have it installed, GNOME Software is almost a copy of Ubuntu Software (in fact it is just the opposite). We will search with the magnifying glass, we will select a program, we will check the source of origin and we will click on Install. As simple as that. The only problem is that the package doesn't show up in Ubuntu Software. If we search for "gnome software" it appears as installed, but it is not. We must install it as we explained in the console section.

The Synaptic Package Manager


Synaptic is a more advanced system installation and removal of applications than Ubuntu Software. Even so, the environment is graphical and very powerful, and it has complete control over the applications that are installed on the system, their dependencies and the different versions of packages that can be installed according to needs. Since Ubuntu 12.04 Synaptic it is not installed by default, and if we want to use it, we have to install it from the Ubuntu Software, looking for Synaptic, or from the terminal.

To open Synaptic we will click on the icon of the grid, or we will press the Meta key, and we will search for Synaptic. With this manager we can install, reinstall and remove packages in a very simple graphical way. The Synaptic screen, as you can see, is divided into 4 sections. The two most important are the list that includes the category section (1) on the left side and the package section (3) on the right side. Selecting a package from the list will display a description of it (4).

To install a package we will select a category, right-click on the desired package and select Mark to install or we will double click on the name of the package. We will mark in this way all the packages that we want to install in the system and click on the button Apply for your installation to begin. Synaptic will download only the necessary packages from repositories on the internet or from the installation media.

You can also use the button Search to find the packages we want to install. By clicking on this button we can search for programs by name or description. Once the program we want to install is located, we double-click on it to install it. If we want to delete a program, all we have to do is right-click on it and select Delete o Delete completely.

In all cases, the changes will take effect once we click on the Apply button.

The Synaptic package manager, like Ubuntu Software, takes care of resolving package dependencies by itself for the applications to work properly. In the same way, it is possible to configure it to install the recommended packages that, without being required by the application, can fulfill other additional functions. If we want to activate this behavior we can go to Configuration > Preferences, and in the tab General check the box Treat recommended packages as dependencies.

flatpak and snap packages

As we have explained, Ubuntu does not support flatpak packages after a fresh installation. In fact, Canonical is not very fond of the idea, and its Ubuntu Software It doesn't even support flatpaks.; it is modified so that support cannot be added to it, or at least not in an easy way that has ever been shared in the Linux community. Snap packages can be installed directly from Ubuntu Software, and their installation is as simple as any other package, although they can also be installed from the terminal as we will explain in the next point.

The thing is different when we want to install flatpak packages. As we explained in this article, first we must install the "flatpak" package, then "gnome-software", since the official Ubuntu store does not support them, then a plugin for GNOME Software and then add Flathub repository. Upon reboot, flatpak packages appear as an option in GNOME Software, but not to Ubuntu Software.

About this type of packages, both the snap and the flatpak have everything needed (software and dependencies) for a program to work. The good thing about them is that they update very quickly and work on any Linux distribution, and in fact there are some programs that we only find in Flathub (flatpak) or Snapcraft (snap). They are an option to consider, but to have it all it is worth using GNOME Software.

via console

So far we have seen the graphical way to install programs in Ubuntu. Next we will see how to do the same but through the terminal. Although many users are put off by everything related to "black screens", you should know that this method is not at all complicated. On the contrary, it is more comfortable and simple, and of course faster.

To install software on Ubuntu with this method, the first thing to do is open the terminal, logically. We can do it from the grid icon or by pressing the Meta key and searching for "terminal", and it is also opened by pressing the Ctrl+Alt+T key combination, as long as the shortcut has not been changed, either by the user or because Canonical so decides in the future. From the terminal, what we can do is:

  • Installing packages:
sudo apt install nombre-del-paquete
  • Install multiple packages:
sudo apt install nombre-del-paquete1 nombre-del-paquete2 nombre-del-paquete3
  • Uninstall packages:
sudo apt remove nombre-del-paquete
  • Uninstall a package and its associated configuration files:
sudo apt remove --purge nombre-del-paquete
  • Update the list of packages available in the repository:
sudo apt update
  • Update all packages installed on the computer:
sudo apt upgrade
  • Install a snap package:
sudo snap install nombre-del-paquete
  • Uninstall a snap package:
sudo snap remove nombre-del-paquete
  • Update snap packages:
sudo snap refresh

Once we execute the command, the system may ask us if we want to install the package we have selected and those others that are dependent on it, showing us certain details such as its full name, version, or size. We will answer affirmatively and wait to finish the installation.

.deb packages

If something we want to install is not available in official repositories, neither as snap nor flatpak, it is likely that its developer offers it as a .deb package. For example, if we want to install the Vivaldi web browser, we can search all we want in GNOME Software and it won't find it even if we have enabled support for flatpak packages. Interestingly, it is available in the official Manjaro repositories, but it is not in most of them because it has a bit of a hundred (I don't remember if it is 4% or 6%) corresponding to the graphical interface that is not open source. In the end, if we want to install Vivaldi on Ubuntu we have to do it using its .deb package.

Be it Vivaldi or any other program, we can install its DEB package by downloading it from its official website and installing it. We can do it in different ways:

  • Double click and install it so it doesn't open them. Ubuntu Software will likely open.
  • Right click and choose "Software Installation", which will open GNOME Software if we have it installed.
  • In a terminal, type sudo dpkg -i package_name (it is worth dragging it to the terminal so as not to make a mistake if the name is long).

Something interesting to note is that many of these packages add us to the official repository of the project to update in the future.

This is the end of this guide in which we have shown you various ways to install packages in Ubuntu. We hope you find it useful.

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  1.   Pedro said

    Interesting article for me, because I am profane in Ubuntu, I would ask you a question about how to install Drivers. I have a USB adapter for wifi from TP-Link (Archer T2U) I have downloaded the drivers for Linux from its official website (Archer T2U_V1_150901) but ?? I don't know how they are installed.
    Thanks and Regards

    1.    Luis Gomez said

      Hi Pedro, regarding your question I have to tell you that, as in almost everything in computing, it depends. If we talk about proprietary drivers, generally a script or program is included that performs the task of installing them on our system. First of all, check that there is no readme file that indicates the steps to follow specifically for the controller you want to add. Secondly, I would tell you that, if you have downloaded a tarball, check if there is any script that you can launch from the command line by previously adding the executable properties.

  2.   atareao said

    In Ubuntu, with Unity, it is also possible to install it directly from the Dashboard.

    All the best

  3.   Pedro said

    Thank you very much for the information, I have not seen any readme file that indicates the steps to follow, I even contacted TP-Link and they did not know how to give me the instructions for its installation.

  4.   John Jackson said

    Hi Luis, Thank you for your clear, simple and direct contribution.

    I just installed Ubuntu version 10.10 on a laptop, the problem it presents is not being able to surf the internet even if it detects and connects to WiFi. by ethernet if I can surf, it detects qindows network and all that. By wireless network it only specifies that it is connected. I already gave DHCP the opportunity to do the job as well as manually (IP, Subnet mask, gateway, DNS) and the problem persists.

    I also tried to document myself on the net, only that no attempt worked for me.

    Could you help me figure this out.

    Thanks in advance

  5.   john jackson said

    PS I am resolved

  6.   Mark Lopez said

    I am new to this ubuntu, I have installed version 16.04 but I have the problem that whatever I want to install does not let me, I have tried from console and nothing, in the software center nothing, I tried to install synaptic from console and it tells me that there is no candidate.
    Any idea?
    First of all, Thanks

  7.   alfredo said

    Someone knows where I can download the version of utorrent to download it in armbian of ubuntu 16.04.2. If anyone has the answer, contact me in the following email:

  8.   Virginia Rose said

    Hello friends, thank you for your valuable contributions
    I have a problem. My disk is partitioned in 3. a partition1 for windons, partiticon2 I have linux, and the 3rd for my most personal use, as a backup.
    Arta de windons and their famous viruses, I have decided to use only linux for everything, especially to connect to the internet, install Zorin 9 (based on ubuntu)
    x error delete the firefox packages and now I don't know how to solve the problem
    I have already tried various ways, such as updating update, upgrade, installing firefox x the software center.
    this is my error with update:

    Err trusty-security / main Sources
    Err trusty-security / main Sources
    404 Not Found [IP: 80]
    Fetched 3.547 kB in 34min 28s (1.714 B / s)
    Reading package lists ... Done
    W: An error occurred during the signature verification.
    The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used.
    gpg error: stable InRelease: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY D615560BA5C7FF72
    W: There is no public key available for the following key IDs:
    W: Failed to fetch
    W: Failed to fetch gzip: /var/lib/apt/lists/partial/ve.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_trusty-updates_universe_binary-i386_Packages Hash Sum mismatch
    W: Failed to fetch Unable to find expected entry 'main / binary-i386 / Packages' in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)
    W: Failed to fetch 404 Not Found [IP: 80]
    W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

    the fact is that when trying to install it again it throws the error.
    Please if someone can help me !!!

    1.    David yeshael said

      Hello Rosa, from what I see, it first throws this at you because it does not find that address, since it no longer exists.
      "err trusty-security / main Sources
      Err trusty-security / main Sources »
      "404 Not Found [IP: 80]".
      The second is that you do not have imported the public keys of opera
      "GPG failed: stable InRelease: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY D615560BA5C7FF72 ″

      You can show us your sources list, you do it with:
      cat /etc/apt/sources.list