What do I do when software is not available in the Ubuntu software center?

For instance, I cannot find programs like Netlogo, FIJI (although ImageJ is available), or Copasi.

All I manage to do is download the files, extract them to my home folder (i.e. programs are not available globally), and open the program from this folder. Then, however, no icon is automatically added to my applications (and I don't know how to do that manually). To me, this does not seem like an elegant workflow to install software. Is there a better way?

Thanks for the help.

  • Are you asking for install instructions when a "*.deb" package exists but is not available in the software centre or where only source code is available? – Warren Hill May 29 at 16:25
  • When the publisher of an application does not take the time to make it available in the standard repositories, no no volunteer has yet made a .deb, .io, or .flatpakref, you read the app's installation instructions and do what they say. Look for a README file. – K7AAY May 29 at 17:16
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    Possible duplicate of How do I install applications in Ubuntu? – karel May 29 at 19:02
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    I've voted to reopen this. Third-party applications are explicitly on-topic, per the help center. If this gets reopened, it should most likely be closed as a duplicate of that question, as @karel suggested, but I don't think it should remain closed as off-topic. – Eliah Kagan Nov 4 at 9:54

Yes, there has long been a better way.

.zip, .tar, .tgz, and .bz2 files (those are what you cited) are simply compressed sets of files. They must be manually installed by the user to work. Manual installation includes manually creating the links for desktop icons.

That laborious and imprecise method of distributing software was superseded over 20 years ago by packages (like .deb and .snap packages), which make distribution, installation, upgrading, and integration into the desktop quite trivial for each user.

Packages are often created by community volunteers (like you). They generally do not need to be created by developers.

How to create a .deb package for distribution by Debian and Ubuntu: https://mentors.debian.net.
How to create a .snap package for distribution by Ubuntu and other distros: https://snapcraft.io.

Software Center only knows about .deb software that is distributed by the Ubuntu repositories, .snap software that is distributed by Snapcraft.io, and locally-installed .deb and .snap packages.

  • Thank you for the knowledgable answer, it helped me a lot! – godot Jun 1 at 15:19

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