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Having just played around with Arch a little bit, the thing about it that impresses me the most about it is the AUR. With a tool like Yaourt, you can really easily install bleeding-edge software, some of which is from git, and it automatically compiles and installs it for you. Is there something like this for Ubuntu? I know about PPAs, but I don't really think they're an equivalent.

Edit: here's why I don't really think PPAs are the same as the AUR:

  • PPAs have compiled packages, while the AUR features both compiled packages and source packages, along with scripts for compiling them on any platform. This means that a PPA has to be maintained by someone who builds them, whereas with the AUR, uncompiled packages can be built on the user end.
  • Since PPAs are specific to the Ubuntu release, many PPAs are out of date. The packages would still work if the PPA maintainers would just update their PPAs to the latest version of Ubuntu, but often they go stale. Sometimes I've had to hack a PPA so that I can keep using the same package that worked in a previous release.
  • Many PPAs don't build properly, even though the projects are more or less stable. I'm thinking of FinalTerm, which mostly works, but the Ubuntu PPA almost never has passing builds, so it's impossible to install on Ubuntu without manually compiling.
  • PPAs don't seem have a rating system where users can vouch for working package repositories. I think this kind of consensus is very useful towards avoiding malware and/or non-working packages.
  • There are tons of AUR packages that come directly from GitHub, so installing a package like something-git will usually give you the latest package straight from GitHub. PPAs aren't updated dynamically like this, and so packages there are typically very out-of-date.
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    I think that AURs and PPAs are more or less equivalent. Why do you think they differ? – Rmano Mar 20 '15 at 14:09
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    I edited the question to explain more about why PPAs aren't the same as the AUR. – Jonathan Mar 20 '15 at 15:16
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    Except for the rating system, the things you point out are all features of the Arch Build System (ABS), not of the AUR itself. Since the ABS is fundamentally different from the Debian packaging system, I don't think an equivalent for AUR can exist. – muru Mar 20 '15 at 15:50
  • Can't you install build-essentials, git clone then depending on the project config, make and checkinstall, then sudo dpkg -i the packages. It sounds like you're saying AUR will then auto-recompile when there are updates? That does sound pretty cool. – pbhj Dec 25 '18 at 16:21
  • AUR and PPA are miles apart in terms of what they do. For every different software, there is a different PPA. Thats a real problem because now you need to go on the Internet and get name of PPA or the AppImage to get the bleeding edge. Therefore the best advice if you use Debian or debian based distro , then learn to build from source and install dependencies manually – Noah J. Standerson Nov 1 '20 at 4:21
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Yes, PPAs. That's the closest you can get right now. If you don't think they're equivalent enough for you, then the answer right now is simply "no". Some comments on your claimed differences:

PPAs have compiled packages, while the AUR features both compiled packages and source packages

PPAs ship source packages too. PPA uploads must be source uploads. Users can access both the source (for example they can rebuild the sources themselves), or binaries built from those sources.

Since PPAs are specific to the Ubuntu release, many PPAs are out of date.

This is true. However, users can quite easily copy a package from any PPA to their own PPAs, including to a different release, while choosing to rebuild them if necessary on the way. See the Package details -> Copy packages page. If there is anything that needs updating to work with a newer release then that won't work, but I presume that's the same with AUR.

In terms of PPAs being up to date, that is presumably simply a matter of volunteer time (who can do the same pocket copy as above), rather than any fundamental difference between PPAs and AUR.

Many PPAs don't build properly, even though the projects are more or less stable

Same answer as above. This has nothing to do with infrastructure or mechanism and everything to do with volunteer time.

PPAs don't seem have a rating system where users can vouch for working package repositories.

Agreed.

There are tons of AUR packages that come directly from GitHub, so installing a package like something-git will usually give you the latest package straight from GitHub.

You could arrange for this to happen automatically in a PPA, but I admit it is far from trivial to set up.

  1. Arrange for an automated VCS import from Github.
  2. Create a build recipe.

None of this is exactly the same, I'll grant you. If you want more ABS/AUR -like functionality in Ubuntu, I think you need to go into more detail of how exactly your proposed changes would work in terms of what Ubuntu already has.

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The main difference between PPAs & AUR is that PPAs are not likely to break your system, whereas with AUR, you get to break your installation at least once a week.

But this is part of the kudos of being an Arch-user; because hey, if it ain't broken then it can't be fixed, and if you don't learn how to fix a broken installation then you don't learn how a Linux system really works.

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Something similar could be https://launchpad.net/.

After you register on Launchpad, you can make your own repo, which can be easily added to any Ubuntu with apt-add-repository command. A lot of interesing projects are running on private ppa repos, sometimes they provide the only solution to keep up-to-date older systems or abandoned softwares. Ofcourse, there are also ppa's with newer versions like the official Ubuntu repos. (I am using for example the ppa for LibreOffice - which provides the nightly builds of the named software.)

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    I don't think Launchpad PPAs are even remotely equivalent to the AUR. I've just edited my question with more about that distinction. – Jonathan Mar 20 '15 at 15:17
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I wanted to add an answer here because I too had asked myself the same question!

AUR is not only like Ubuntu's PPAs but it's similar to the APT-BUILD also. AUR has a GUI app that allows you to first search the main repositories and if you don't find, or you rather compile the package from source, you can click on the AUR tab and find the package there, compile it, then install. Therefore, it's like our PPAs plus APT-BUILD.

My complaint about APT-BUILD is that I don't believe it truly accepts our configuration from the apt-build.conf. AUR will accept very find control over such things as CFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, and even the linker. If you were asking if Ubuntu had something like AUR because you wanted to creation something for us, I hope that you do! We need something beyond APT-BUILD and compiling it from CLI.

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AUR for the win!

... but you might also like OCS-Store,
where you can search and install AppImage files from the Apps category,
for example the Ungoogled Chromium.

For me, with large fonts, the layout is broken, so i have to scroll down for the 'Install' button.

To handle AppImage files more automatic, install AppImageLauncher

You also might have a look at SnapD and SnapCraft. [via Anbox the android emulator]

sudo apt install snapd

# for example ...
snap search anbox
snap install anbox
# for anbox, you also need kernel modules, see
# https://docs.anbox.io/userguide/install.html

# update $PATH and run /snap/bin/anbox
source /etc/profile.d/apps-bin-path.sh
anbox

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