If you are a Linux user, you may be familiar with the apt-get command. It is a powerful package management tool that you can use to find, install, update, upgrade, and manage packages on the Linux operating system. It is a command line based tool preferred by most sysadmins and users.
This article explains how to use the apt-get command to install programs from the command line on Debian OS.
We used Debian 10 OS to execute the commands and procedures mentioned in this article.
Using apt to install programs
We will take an example VLC player to install using the apt-get command in the Terminal application command line. To open Terminal, go to the Actions tab in the upper left corner of your desktop. Then enter terminal in the search bar. When the terminal icon appears, click it to open it.
Before installing the software, make sure that the required software is in your OS repositories. If it is not already there, you will need to add the additional repository to your sources.list.
Step 1. Add the repository
Follow the steps below to add the repository to your system.
Enter the following command in Terminal to edit the “sources.list” file.
$ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Now add entries to the file using the following syntax:
deb http://site.example.com/debian distribution component1 deb-src deb-src http://site.example.com/debian distribution component1
For example, to add the repository for the VLC player, we added the following entries:
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free
After that press Ctrl + O to save and Ctrl + X to exit nano editor.
Step 2. Update sources
Now, after adding the repository, you will need to update the package list. To do this, enter the following command in the Terminal:
$ sudo apt-get update
When prompted for a password, enter your sudo password.
Step 3. Install the package using apt-get
Now you can install the package from the updated repository. Use the following syntax in Terminal to install packages using the apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get install package-name-1 package-name-2 package-name-3
You can use the above command to install only one package or multiple packages at a time. Replace the package name with the desired package name. If you don’t remember the exact name of the package, just enter the initial letters and press the Tab key to fill them in automatically.
For example, to install the VLC player, the command would look like this:
$ sudo apt-get install vlc
Step 4. Verify the installation
You can check if the application is installed by looking at it in the list of all installed packages. To do this, run the following command in the Terminal:
$ sudo dpkg--list
After installation, you can launch the application through the Terminal or through the system application menu.
You can also update packages to the latest available versions using the apt-get command.
Use the following command syntax to update packages:
$ sudo apt-get upgrade package-name-1 package-name-2 package-name-3
To update all packages, you can use the following syntax:
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
If you want to remove installed packages using the apt-get command, you can do so using the following syntax:
$ sudo apt-get remove vlc
The system will provide you Well no the ability to confirm the deletion process. Click at to continue and the package will be removed from the system. Note, however, that this will only remove the package and not the configuration files. To remove and configure files, use the following command:
$ sudo apt-get purge package_name
In this article, we have learned how to use the apt-get command to install packages on a Debian system. Using the command line to install and manage packages saves a lot of time. It also comes in handy when you access and install on a remote system via SSH.
How to use apt to install programs from the command line on Debian