I've been peeking into the ubuntu respository and I see four folders, multiverse, universe, restricted and main. What do they represent?


2 Answers 2


From the Ubuntu documentation:

The repository components are:

  • Main - Officially supported software.

  • Restricted - Supported software that is not available under a completely free license.

  • Universe - Community maintained software, i.e. not officially supported software.

  • Multiverse - Software that is not free.

For example:

  • The Ubuntu Desktop team manages the gnome-terminal package, it is officially supported and in the main repository.

  • bcmwl-kernel-source (the Broadcom wireless driver) is in restricted, since it is a supported, but proprietary, driver.

  • Community written software that is not officially supported (for example, the game supertuxkart) is in the universe repository.

  • Packages like ubuntu-restricted-extras (which contains proprietary codecs that allow you to play media files, including flash player) are in the multiverse repository because they are not free and their restrictive licenses prevent inclusion in the default package set.

From Wikipedia:-


  • 10
    Additonally: packages in Main and Restricted (almost always) have their translations delivered in ubuntu language packs, whereas packages in Universe and Multiverse deliver their own translations
    – kyleN
    Aug 23, 2011 at 17:26
  • 1
    In this case the post author uses "free software" to mean FOSS and "non-free software" to mean proprietary and/or paid software. Feb 20, 2021 at 17:48
  • 1
    What if I am hosting my own apt server, do these even make sense?
    – Mehdi
    Mar 18, 2021 at 10:04

Ubuntu provides four different official software repositories:

  • Main

  • Restricted

  • Universe

  • Multiverse

Main – Officially Supported, Open-Source Software:

Licence: Open Source
Updates: Canonical provides critical updates.

Restricted – Officially Supported, Closed-Source Software:

Licence: Proprietary
Updates: Canonical provides critical updates supplied by the developers.

Universe – Community-Maintained, Open-Source Software:

Licence: Open source
Updates: Canonical does not provide update.
Some updates may be provided by the Ubuntu community.

Multiverse – Unsupported, Closed-Source and Patent-Encumbered Software:

Licence: Unknown
Updates: Canonical does not provide updates.
Some updates may be provided by Ubuntu community.

About Canonical and Ubuntu

reference here

  • I wouldn't say that all four are "official". Universe and Multiverse are not official in the meaning that Canonical does invest much of its own resources into it. The unpayed community does the work here for Canonical.
    – buhtz
    Sep 28, 2022 at 12:05

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