I've used Ubuntu for a little over 2 years now. I've recently ungraded to Ubuntu 22.04. So far, I'm very happy with it as the GUI is more like Windows PC. However, I still have a reoccurring problem, and that is installing programs on Ubuntu/Linux. I follow instructions very carefully, and from my perspective, the problem isn't me. The problem appears to be scripts pointing to outdated and or defunct packages/repositories. I understand the attraction to Linux platforms, but issues with installation appears to be unique to Linux. I don't have the same issues installing programs under windows. Yet, people don't give me the benefit of the doubt and immediately assume I did something wrong.

The best installations I've ever had were using AppImgage files. How come more programmers aren't using them? I don't mean to seem ungrateful for the time and effort that people put into creating these free applications. But, yet at the same time, installations appear to be sloppy more times than not.

What are some common beginner mistakes and pitfalls I should avoid when installing software on Ubuntu? What is the best way to ensure proper installation of programs?

Thank you!

  • "I follow instructions very carefully, and from my perspective, the problem isn't me." That suggests that perhaps you followed the wrong instructions. The internet is full of lousy instructions from well-intentioned folks. Many problems cannot be solved by following instructions. You must learn and finally understand the problem to solve it properly.
    – user535733
    Jun 1 at 18:45
  • As new user best to always install from Ubuntu repository. And to understand things better to use synaptic which used to be a default & now has to be installed. You can install apps from any flavor into any flavor, but may also get additional dependencies. I use kubuntu, so mostly qt apps, but I install some gnome apps & get a lot of dependencies. sudo apt install synaptic. Then you see actual app file name which is not always the name used.
    – oldfred
    Jun 1 at 18:45
  • Thank you @ArturMeinild After rereading, I realized my post was a bit ambiguous. However, so is the process of installing programs. I've read a lot about linux on how to, but very little is available on trouble shooting. Content is written in such away like "it's so simple," or assuming that the reader is a Linux veteran. I'm very frustrated, I spend hours trying to learn linux, and the more I learn, the less I know.
    – AOS
    Jun 1 at 18:59
  • 1
    Artur's answer has some very good general advice. This is a good question, but it would be better suited for Ubuntu Forums. These kinds of broad, generalized questions just aren't a very good fit for our Q&A format.
    – Nmath
    Jun 1 at 19:12
  • Thanks @Nmath, I was just confused, and had many thoughts at the same time. This is the first place I got tangible answers, instead of 1,500 downvotes 'cause I didn't understand. 🤣🤣🤣
    – AOS
    Jun 1 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


In my experience, most new Ubuntu users that appear here with packaging and installation problems have caused a number of self-inflicted problems.

However, it's not always easy as a beginner to understand how you inflict these issues on yourself, so here comes a list of things to do and not do when using Ubuntu.

Do only this to be safe and not run into problems:
  • Install software from the Ubuntu store and official software repositories. These are officially supported, and will not get you into versioning conflicts. This will by default be .deb packages (Debian native, Ubuntu's default packaging system) and also Snap packages (see next bullet).
  • Install Snaps, Flatpaks or AppImages. These are all good solutions to running newer versions of applications that (mostly) just work. And if they don't work, the installation is fully reversible, with no harm done to the rest of the system.
Do only this if you understand the full consequences:
  • Upgrade packages to newer versions than the ones supported by Ubuntu. Some new user think they need to install newer versions because of security patches, not realizing the Ubuntu team already patches all packages. This can lead to more problems than it solves.
  • Install software from PPAs (Personal Package Archives) or third-party repos. PPAs are only up to date if their maintainer assures this. A PPA can get outdated and abandoned with a new release, so plan accordingly.
  • Compile or install custom versions of applications. This will usually require more specialized knowledge, and also knowledge about how to troubleshoot if things go haywire. In addition, be aware that by doing this, you immediately loose all security updates provided by the Ubuntu team (since you have now chosen to be the maintainer of your installed application). Again, plan accordingly.
Never do this under any circumstances:
  • Mess with the default Python installation on Ubuntu. This will usually end with a broken system.
  • Follow guides you don't understand. Don't just blindly follow guides on the internet. Just don't. Check if a guide is up to date, how reliable the source is, and what the guide actually tells. There are tons of outdated guides, so at least some basic understanding and critical review is necessary when reading any guide. Even the official Ubuntu documentation can be wrong about some details from time to time.
  • Thanks you. Are Snaps and FlatPacks compatible with Ubuntu 22.04 (64bit) structure?
    – AOS
    Jun 1 at 19:06
  • Snaps are part of the system by default. See the tags snap, flatpak and appimage (click "Learn More...") to see more details and installation instructions for those. Jun 1 at 19:07
  • Ahh! Thank you.. My seedbox recommended Linux/Ubuntu for dummies. I think there's no other book that can get simpler than that...
    – AOS
    Jun 1 at 19:12
  • 1
    +1 Very good answer, well written, easy to understand.
    – user535733
    Jun 1 at 19:38
  • About the Mess with the default Python installation, with the recent shift from pip to pipx should be much less problems Jun 1 at 20:03

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