Ubuntu repositories

Repositories are servers from which packages are downloaded

In the previous article I discussed the different ways to install programs in Linux. Now I am going to refer to the most common way of installation by describing the Ubuntu repositories.

Even if you don't come from the Linux world, you're probably familiar with the concept of app stores on your mobile devices. Application stores are an evolution of two concepts originating in the Linux world: repositories and package managers.

Package Managers

In the previous article I told you that a package manager is a tool that serves to automate the process of searching, installing, updating, uninstalling and configuring packages.

Package Managers They save a local copy with package information such as the name and version, the description and the location from which to download it. Part of the update procedure is to update that copy.

The originals from which this copy is based are in the repositories. Repositories are the servers on which packages are hosted.

We can distinguish between two types of repositories

  • Ubuntu repositories.
  • Third party repositories.

Ubuntu repositories

Ubuntu includes the following repositories:

  • Main: It includes free and open source software that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, supports and maintains throughout the version's life cycle.
  • World: It contains free and open source software whose maintenance and updates are taken care of by the community.
  • Multiverse Here we find programs that for different reasons cannot be considered open source or have restrictions on their distribution. This usually happens with multimedia codecs.
  • restricted: They are programs that are not under free licenses, but they help the system work better. The case of device drivers.
  • Partners: In the process of disappearing, this repository includes programs, usually not open source, that Canonical distributes through agreements with developers.
  • Backports: Ubuntu's development cycle does not always coincide with that of the applications it includes. However, in some cases it is possible to install from this repository the most current versions of a program that has already been packaged for the next version of Ubuntu.
  • Security: As the name suggests, it includes security updates.

There is a lot to be said for sticking to official repositories. Security issues are reduced and everything is guaranteed to work harmoniously. However, The versions of packages included in the repositories are not always the most current. It is also possible that the application we want to use is not in them.

This is solved with third-party repositories

Third-party repositories

Anyone can create their own software repository just by following the specifications set by the Debian and Ubuntu developers. Then it will be enough to make the address public so that interested parties can add it to their list of repositories. From there, users who have done so will be able to install and update the packages that have been included.

There is an intermediate solution between wait for Ubuntu to approve the inclusion of a package in the official repositories or maintain your own repository: PPA packages:

PPA packages

The acronym PPA refers to the English translation of Personal File Packages. The repositories of these packages are created and hosted on Launchpad, the software development platform maintained by Canonical.

Although neither Canonical nor the Ubuntu community support these types of packages, Launchpad has a code of conduct. This can protect us in some way from computer criminals.

Another advantage of personal package files is that they have their own list of repositories so any modification thereof will not affect the normal operation of the system.

Using repositories to install and uninstall programs means saving time since we can do any task related to them from the package manager. On the other hand, any modification to the system can affect its operation. That is why in the next article we will talk about self-contained packages


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