One of the great things about Ubuntu used to be that you install software from the packaging system (with apt-get or similar), not by downloading from a website.

Now when I want recent Geogebra or google Chrome I have to do just that: Download a package from the vendor's site.

  1. There used to PPA's for these things that the official packagers don't want to supply, but none seem to be available. Why? What's wrong with Ubuntu?

  2. Is there a clever way to update those manually installed packages?


Thanks to the comments below I realize that

  • the download packages create an entry in /etc/apt/sources.list.d pointing to the vendor's "3rd party repository", which allows the package to be updated automatically by the system. Clever. This works for both GeoGebra and Google Chrome.
  • This scheme kinda solves my problem—I only have to download the program manually once, and that's no harder than adding a PPA, so in that sense there's nothing "wrong" with Ubuntu

That answers both my questions. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


Every new distribution of Ubuntu has got a new code name: take Xenial Xerus for example. If apt-get update is run, it will search through all repositories, including the ones you manually added, along with the codename xenial. If no package with the codename xenial is available, this will prompt back with 404 not found.

The developers for that repository simply did not optimize / put xenial in just yet.

There is a workaround: building from source. If you have a tarball you can extract that, and in there there should be a readme which instructs you how to build that package and install it from source. Often make is used for it. I do not reccomend building with make as it is possible that the source does not have any method to uninstall built package, unless mentioned in the readme file.

But yeah. Using apt-get actually retrieves the file via a website for the codename (eg. xenial), and if it is not available, you are unable to update / install the package, unless you build from source or find another method.

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