I want to install ppa packages in a sudo apt-get install <program> style. I don't want to google for the ppa name and I don't want to execute add-apt-repository before executing apt-get. I just want to install a ppa package with one command like ppa install vim to get the newest vim ppa version.

Can you recommend me a tool?

5 Answers 5


Using add-apt-repository (or adding the deb lines to /etc/apt/sources.list manually, which is more-or-less the same thing) is the apt-get way. Apt needs to know what packages are available for installation, and for that to work it has to have a list of installable repositories. It's simply not feasible to search Launchpad for all PPAs for the most recent version, nor is that safe — I could create vim 99999999-9999 which hoses your entire system (debs install as root). Installing software from third party repositories is something you should be forced to think about.


These are three simple commands, provided that you know what the PPA is:

  1. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:george-edison55/george-edison
  2. sudo apt-get update && upgrade
  3. sudo apt-get install stackapplet (name of application that you want to install)
  • 1
    Maybe I know the name of the software (stackapplet in this case). But I also have to know the ppa-name "ppa:george-edison55/george-edison" to install the newest version. Without google I had no chance to get that name. That's not very comfortable. (I know how google works, but I want to get the name without using a browser)
    – 1passenger
    Dec 4, 2010 at 20:56
  • I think what you are really looking for is a new feature for the software center and for that you should report a bug :).
    – RolandiXor
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:41
  • Bug or feature, that's the question. ;) Maybe I should do that.
    – 1passenger
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:48

There isn't such a tool, because that is not the way ppa's work, nor is it safe. You could potential write a script that locates the ppa and pulls the package from it directly, but you would have to note that you can easily break your system that way. Sometimes the longer, more complicated route, is the safer way to do things, and better to be safe than sorry :).

  • Thanks for your answer. :) I know that this can cause some problems. But I can't believe that there is no solution for that. ;)
    – 1passenger
    Dec 4, 2010 at 20:46
  • well if you want the problems, be my guest and write a script for it :) lol.
    – RolandiXor
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:40
  • I don't want the problems, I want a solution. ;-)))
    – 1passenger
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:54

ppasearch might help you find PPAs in a CLI environment.


As indicated clearly in the other answers, what you're asking for would be unsafe. Repositories allow you to not only get software, but to regularly get updates to the software to fix security holes and bugs. What you ask for would be like googling the whole web to find a package and blindly downloading it and installing it. That's a sure way to not only risk getting malware, but, even for good packages, to leave yourself open to security issues that are found later and updated in the ppa, which you would not be tracking.

So you do need to search to find a ppa, using the tools mentioned in the other answers. You should then personally vet the reputation of the ppa, since it could easily take over your whole system if you add it.

If you find a ppa that you trust, use add-apt-repository as described elsewhere.

But another aspect of your question is how to get just a set of specified packages from it. For that, see the info at How do I cherry pick packages from a PPA? - Ask Ubuntu. If you want an easier solution, you should file an enhancement bug request on launchpad with a good use case.

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