Repositories

On Ubuntu, Software is getting installed via so called packages. Most of these packages are organized in repositories. A repository is basically a list of available software packages it is responsible for, normally located on a remote computer (therefore it often has a website-like address). The repository is providing information about packages for your OS (where to download the software, who created it and stuff like that).

The Advanced Packaging Too (APT) has got a lists with addresses of repositories it should keep track of (=it is mirroring them on your local machine). Where and how these lists are managed is covered on this page.

Terms

Launchpad

FIXME

PPA

FIXME

The repository address syntax

Every repository address consists of the following:

  1. Type: deb or deb-src.
    deb-repositories are distributing binary packages, deb-src are distributing the source code of the binary packaes (useful if you want to compile the software at your own, helping you to resolve dependencies and getting all needed source code). If you do not want to compile software on your own, you do not need any deb-src repositories in general (you may use # within .list files to comment unneeded repositories out).
  2. Location: Normally a web address like http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu.
    cdrom:, ftp://, file: and copy: locations are also possible.
  3. Distribution: The lowercase codename of your Ubuntu distribution (e.g. karmic, jaunty or lucid).
    This makes it possible for the repository to serve the correct version of a package for the Ubuntu version you are using. If you are note sure about the codename of your Ubuntu, have a look at ”How to check which Ubuntu release is installed (including codename)”.
  4. List of components (optional): Sometimes a space separated list of components is used to separate the parts of the repository.
    Known are main,1) resticted,2), universe,3) multiverse4) and partner 5)

Example of a complete repository address:

deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu karmic partner

Where does Ubuntu store the repositories it should keep track of?

apt is the Ubuntu package manager and therefore responsible to communicate with the repositories. To store the used repositories, .list files are used:

  • /etc/apt/sources.list is the central repository list. You should not touch this file!
    The list was created when you installed your system, enabling you to basically use your OS. Changing this file is a bad idea because it may gets overwritten when you are updating the system.
  • User-generated *.list files within the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory are considered automatically.
    E.g. utilities like add-apt-repository are placing .list files in here.

If you want to add a third-party repository, see ”Adding new repositories”.

See also

1) contains software which is directly supported by the Ubuntu development team because the software is essential and fitting the Ubuntu licensing standards
2) contains software which is directly supported by the Ubuntu development team because the software is essential but not fitting the Ubuntu licensing standards
3) contains non-essential open source software which is not directly supported by the Ubuntu development team, but someone else
4) contains non-essential, non-open source software which is not directly supported by the Ubuntu development team, but someone else
5) contains often needed, commercial and/or non-open source software of Canonical partners, e.g. adobe_reader
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