This question no longer applies to current versions of Ubuntu.

See Problem with .deb packages on Ubuntu 16.04 for a similar problem affecting 16.04.

I'm running Ubuntu 11.10 and have some problems with Ubuntu software center and the installation of debian packages.

If I download for instance the debian from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads and try to install with Ubuntu software center I got the window opening but I can see only the GTK Spinner.

The problem exists also with the package of my applications http://www.giuspen.com/cherrytree/ and http://www.giuspen.com/x-tile/ which I create with dpkg-buildpackage,

The same packages are opened and installed properly with gdebi.

  • This feature is available in olld releases .and removed from oneric,may be to discourage offline installation
    – Tachyons
    Mar 5, 2012 at 1:43
  • I believe, this is now changed in 12.04.
    – Anwar
    Jul 31, 2012 at 14:42

2 Answers 2


The Ubuntu software center has many packaged applications but does have the disadvantage that it cannot install .deb files. However there is another option.

Using GDebi to install packages

GDebi is a simple tool to install .deb files. It has a graphical user interface but can also be used in your terminal. It lets you install local deb packages resolving and installing its dependencies.. It automatically checks packages for their dependencies and will try to download them from the Ubuntu software repositories if possible. You may first need to install GDebi - simply install the gdebi package using one of the package managers listed above, or open a Terminal and type sudo apt-get install gdebi

Once you have installed GDebi, use the File Browser to find the package you wish to install. Package files will look similar to this:

enter image description here

Double-click the package to open it with GDebi. If all dependencies have been met for the selected package, simply click the 'Install package' button to install it. GDebi will warn you if there are unmet dependencies, which means that there's dependencies that aren't resolved in the repositories that you're using - you will have to locate the required packages from some other source.


This is a comon problem with the software center. It seems not to like .deb packages it does not already have packages for and they chose to not install gdebi by default. You can get around this by installing gdebi yourself and using it, instead of software center, to install .deb packages.

For similar reasons you might choose to also install synaptic which is another package the chose to drop. Sorry Canonical, many of us are simply not Windows or Macintosh users and we don't like being treated like cattle.

  • 1
    Yep synaptic and gdebi are absolutely indispensable. I never used ubuntu software center but a user of one of my apps notified me that he was unable to install the ".deb" that I created, that's why I investigated on software center.
    – giuspen
    Mar 5, 2012 at 9:11
  • for those new to linux/ubuntu, you can also use dpkg -i deb-file-name.deb from a command prompt to install it. To subsequently remove it use dpkg -r package-name - to find the package-name, use dpkg-deb -I deb-file-name.deb and look for "Package: ...". Note that this will not install dependencies - you will need to install them seperately.
    – drevicko
    Jul 12, 2012 at 3:32

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