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I keep reading about Personal Package Archives ('PPAs') and people answer questions with a link to a PPA. What's the best way to use these?


There are multiple valid answers for this question spanning over several versions of Ubuntu. For your convenience, an index of each is below.


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20  
Since none of the answers actually explain what a PPA is (focusing on how to add them), please think twice before closing "what is a PPA" type questions as duplicates and linking here. Leaving one of them open might actually encourage someone to answer. –  Chan-Ho Suh May 6 '12 at 8:29

10 Answers 10

up vote 134 down vote accepted

For Ubuntu 11.04 and newer

Before adding a PPA you should be aware of some of the risks involved:

Always remember that PPAs are provided by the community, you should be aware of the possible risks before just adding a PPA.

  • First open the dash by either clicking on the Home button (On the top-left Corner) or pressing the Super Key .

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  • Search for 'Software Center' and launch the Ubuntu software center.

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  • Move the mouse to the top panel where the name of the application is written.
  • Now Go to the Edit menu and select Software Sources.
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  • Enter your password when prompted.
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  • Switch to the 'Other Software' tab.

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  • Now click 'Add', a box will appear.

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  • You have to enter the PPA in the box. It can be found in BOLD on the launchpad page.

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  • Now click 'Add source' and close the Software Sources. The cache will be refreshed

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  • Now install the software from the software center.

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Removing a PPA with ppa-purge Install ppa-purge

It may not be safe to just disable any PPA added to our sources by removing it from sources.list or by unticking the PPA in our Software Sources settings. It would then be a much better idea to also remove all packages that were installed from this PPA and replace them with Ubuntu default packages.

To do so we have the script ppa-purge Install ppa-purge that will not only remove the unwanted PPA but also will replace packages that were installed from this PPA by the default Ubuntu versions. After installation simply run

sudo ppa-purge ppa:<lp-name>/<ppa-name>

where <lp-name>/<ppa-name> is the same name we entered to our sources when adding this PPA. The PPA will then be removed. Packages installed from this PPA will be replaced by default Ubuntu packages (installed packages that are not in the default repositories will not be deleted).

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As an answer with a comment pointing to ppa-purge was removed, I felt we may still need a reference for this in our list of answers on how to use a PPA. –  Takkat Dec 30 '11 at 22:51

What is PPA?

PPAs are for non standard software/updates. They are generally used by people who want the latest and greatest. If you are going extra lengths to get this kind of software, then you are expected to know what you are doing. The selection in the Software Centre is ample for most human beings.

Command Line

On the command line you can add a PPA using add-apt-repository, e.g.:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwibber-daily/ppa

To remove a PPA remove the corresponding files in /etc/apt/sources.list.d (this does not remove the packages you installed from the PPA). To see the packages available from a PPA or remove packages installed from a PPA press the "Origin" button on the lower left of the Synaptic window and choose the PPA from the list.

With can use the usual Software Sources dialog and add ppa:gwibber-daily/ppa where it asks for a APT line and enable or disable them just like other repositories.

As anybody can create a PPA there's no guarantee for quality or security of a PPA - just like with any other unofficial software source you have to decide yourself if a PPA it's trustworthy or not. And like any other unofficial software packages from a PPA can cause all sorts of difficulties especially when upgrading to a new release of Ubuntu.

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9  
It bothers me that on the linux that claims to be for human beings adding a ppa requires either magic text on the command line or magic text added to a gui tool. It really isn't good enough. –  trampster Sep 30 '10 at 20:54
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PPAs are for non standard software/updates. They are generally used by people who want the latest and greatest. If you are going extra lengths to get this kind of software, then you are expected to know what you are doing. The selection in the Software Centre is ample for most human beings. –  dv3500ea Sep 30 '10 at 20:59
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@trampster: These issues are going to be handled by the software center in the future: wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwareCenter In the meantime PPAs is what we have. –  Jorge Castro Sep 30 '10 at 21:41
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@trampster Does Windows/Mac keep on top of all its software, giving you updates to it all? PPAs are a security risk and there needs an element of design to stop users being idiots. More: thepcspy.com/read/linux-isnt-invulnerable –  Oli Oct 1 '10 at 17:19
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The recent high demand for PPAs seems to be a result of the dramatic changes in Ubuntu recently, making the stable versions woefully inadequate for a large number of people. This is the first release where I've needed to add more than 1 or 2 fairly unimportant PPAs - previously it has been only to test bug-fixes for me. –  Sean Houlihane Nov 2 '11 at 7:55

For Information on PPA (Personal Package Archive) Visit Ubuntu help on PPA.


There is Y PPA Manager available for Ubuntu. Is is a GUI tool to manage PPAs in the best possible way.

To install y-ppa-manager run following command in terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install y-ppa-manager

For more information and key-features visit https://launchpad.net/y-ppa-manager


How to find PPA? (Solution when Apt unable to locate package)

You can find PPA from launchpad page as following image:


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You can find PPA from Ubuntuupdates -Package Search as following picture:


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Then Add repository from terminal as following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:<someppa/ppa>
sudo apt-get update
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What is a PPA?

It's all very simple once you get the hang of it. I have run into problems here and there, but generally speaking, PPA's are the only way to get your software updated in Ubuntu between distro releases (don't get me into a rant about that). It's too much to explain here, so I will point you to some worthwhile documentation. But first, a few simple rules:

Know what you're installing. Most likely you'll use Launchpad for the majority of your PPA needs, but even so it can be dangerous to your computer. Usually the worry for me is not malicious intent, but conflicting packages. If package A requires a modified version of ffmpeg, and package B in a different repository requires a modified version of ffmpeg too, well, now there's a good chance you might not be able to watch videos, for example, with package A or B or at all.

Keep in mind that anyone can create a PPA, even you. Just because a person signs the Code of Conduct doesn't mean they know what they're doing. On Launchpad there is not only updates to stable releases, but also beta and alpha software, and even stuff that doesn't quite work at all yet. There are many useful repositories, such as to get the latest Nvidia drivers or the current stable release of Pidgin. Then again, there's stuff that some guy made in his basement for himself and a couple of friends.

That said, the Ubuntu documentation web pages should have everything you need to know in a pretty understandable format.

Repositories in Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu

Software management: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SoftwareManagement

Repositories and the command line: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/CommandLine

A quick note: I assume you're using Ubuntu 10.04. If you're using 10.10 there is no more "Software Sources" in your menu, even though it is referred to in some of the documentation. To access it simply open the Synaptic Package Manager then select Settings -> Repositories from the menu.

Good Luck and I hope this was helpful.

Edit: Please know that installing software through the Ubuntu Software Center can be troublesome. This is because it does not tell you what dependencies a particular app you want to install requires. That is, you could install the entire KDE desktop, hundreds of MB's worth of stuff, just to get a screen ruler or firewall configurator. I learned this the hard way... For example, type "kruler" in the search box and you will see the final install size as almost 100 MB. At least pay close attention to the final install size if you insist on using the USC. Most new users are unfamiliar with the concepts of window managers and desktop environments having only known Windows, so be careful about simply relying on USC and not learning all about PPAs, which is what I recommend. It's a little more work and this is just my opinion, but you'll probably be happy you did! :)

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For Ubuntu 10.04

To add a PPA in Ubuntu 10.04:

  • Run System->Administration->Software Sources:

menu

  • You will be prompted for your password. Note that you can only add a PPA if you are an administrator user due to the security risks and system wide consequences of adding a PPA. Enter your password into the dialog to continue:

gksu

  • In the Software Sources window, click on the 'Other Software' tab and click the 'Add...' button. This will bring up a prompt asking for the 'APT line':

apt line

  • The text to paste into this box is found on the launchpad page in the 'Adding This PPA to your System' in bold letter.

  • Paste the line you copied into the text box in Software Sources (CTRL+V):

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  • Close the Software Sources window; you will be asked to reload your package information. Do this by clicking the 'Reload' button:

reload sources

  • You can now find software packages from this PPA in Ubuntu Software Centre:

software centre

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For Ubuntu 10.10

While many find it easier to add PPAs using command line tools, this can be done through Ubuntu Software Center for those who prefer graphical interfaces. For this demo, we will be adding the PPA for the Banshee Team in order to get the latest stable release of Banshee.

We'll begin by opening the Ubuntu Software Center which can be found in the Applications menu.

Applications > Ubuntu Software Center

manu

Now in Software Center, go to Edit > Software Sources

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You will be asked to enter your administrative password.

gksu

Now in Software Sources open the Other Software tab and press Add.

add

In this dialog, we will enter the PPA's information.

software-properties-gtk

This information is found on the PPA's website in bold under the heading Adding this PPA to your system. For the Banshee PPA, it looks like this:

ppa

Now we can close Software Sources and Software Center will automatically update so that you can access the new packages from the PPA.

update

The packages available from the PPA can be seen by expanding the Get Software menu in Software Center's left column.

new

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2  
It's a "community wiki" so feel free to expand on it. –  andrewsomething Oct 3 '10 at 17:45
1  
Is that the default Iconset for 10.10? –  Marco Ceppi Oct 6 '10 at 3:02
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No, I forgot I wasn't using the default icons when I took those. That is the faenza-icon-theme. It is available in this PPA: launchpad.net/~tiheum/+archive/equinox –  andrewsomething Oct 6 '10 at 3:06

One thing to keep in mind about using PPAs is that when you add a PPA to your Software Sources, you're giving Administrative access (root) to everyone that can upload to that PPA. Packages in PPAs have access to your entire system as they get installed (just like a regular package from the main Ubuntu Archive), so always decide if you trust a PPA before you add it to your system.

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2  
Very important comment this one. It's really important advertise for potential damage to the system by using ppa's without knowledge. THNX –  Jorge Pinho Jun 11 '11 at 13:59

If you are having a hard time figuring out the correct add-apt-repository command to run, someone has created a script called ppasearch to make this task easier. To install ppasearch, you will need to run the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wrinkliez/ppasearch
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ppasearch

If you are on maverick, you can manually download and install the lucid deb. It should work fine.

This will add the ppasearch PPA (and its key) and install the package. You can run the script by typing the following command in a terminal:

ppasearch PPANAME

So to find the Cardapio team PPA, you might run:

ppasearch cardapio

As you can see from the screenshot below, you are then presented with a list of matching PPAs. Once you select the PPA you want, it will get added by the script by using add-apt-repository. ppasearch will even run sudo apt-get update for you if you wish to update your sources.

ppasearch screenshot

There is also a video of the script in action, but it is slightly out-of-date.

This script should make it easy for you to add PPAs and their keys without having to search around Launchpad.

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Tried this PPA in 2014 and couldn't find ppa.launchpad.net/wrinkliez/ppasearch/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/…. 404 –  isomorphismes May 25 at 23:17

http://www.winehq.org/site/download-deb is my attempt at doing this for the Wine PPA.

I'll note that Maverick changed and now I have to edit the instructions again (there is no more administration->software sources but instead you have to go there from Software Center).

Launchpad's built in instructions are a bit better than they were a year or so ago, but still pretty bad.

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protected by Avinash Raj May 17 at 6:40

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