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Related to this question. But my concern is that over the past year, most of my more interesting (or used) applications are from PPAs, and just backing up my sources list won't add the associated launchpad keys the way that add-apt-repository does.

So I'm looking for a way to list all the PPA urls (like ppa:chromium-daily/stable) so that I can easily script a series of add-apt-repository commands to add them into a new installation gracefully.

Short of dumping my bash history of course. Which might be feasible, depending on how far back that file goes back?

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up vote 39 down vote accepted

Well because I like mucking around with command line scripting, I've written the following. It generates a list of PPA strings that you could backup and then script into add-apt-repository:

grep -RoPish '(?<[^/]+/[^/ ]+' /etc/apt | sort -u | sed 's/^/ppa:/'

That'll generate something like:


If you ever wanted to blanket-restore those, you could pipe them back into the system like so (assuming we saved the PPAs to ~/ppa-backup.txt:

<~/ppa-backup.txt xargs -I % sudo add-apt-repository %

I would probably suggest you don't just restore them all. Look through the backup and make sure you know what each PPA contains.

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Thanks Oli. I'll test that tonight and accept this once tested! – Scaine Mar 2 '11 at 9:22
My god I have a lot of PPAs on my system. This is perfect, Oli. Thanks for your effort! – Scaine Mar 2 '11 at 21:09
Doesn't work as written. – user447607 May 20 at 0:58

What I do is that I copy the whole /etc/apt directory to a safe place. If you have to reinstall or clone your install, just copy back that directory. It'll save even the gpg trusted keys.

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If importing all the GPG keys is what you're looking for, you can use my script (comes in a .deb) to import all missing GPG keys at once. Download

To use, simply run:

sudo launchpad-getkeys

You can take a look inside the .deb if you want, the script is really small and easy to understand (in case you don't trust my deb).

Then to back up all the PPAs, all you have to do is copy all the .list files on the new computer / new installation and once you've copied them, run the above command to import all the keys.

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