How do you use terminal to enable Universe source? Or any those 4 from Software Sources: Main, Universe, Restricted, Multiverse Main is on by default and Restricted is on if durring Ubuntu installation i tick Enable Restricted Formats. Answer with line where version checked so it auto detects it. Like command I know for partner but that goes to Other Software tab sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ $(lsb_release -sc) partner"


3 Answers 3


I finally found answer myself. To put all ubuntu sources to work without clicking them just enter in terminal

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main universe restricted multiverse"

So for just "Universe" would be

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

You can then check in Software sources it will show it works now. You can delete manually from sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list line http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu lucid main universe restricted multiverse and save and see in Software sources nothing is ticked. Then do

 sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

& that makes Just universe ticked. For all enabled do

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main universe restricted multiverse"

you can add also partner repository with different link (see difference is ubuntu to canonical)

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) partner"

$(lsb_release -sc) makes checking your Ubuntu version and putting its name in link. Since 10.04 is called lucid then you can test in terminal lsb_release -sc gives word lucid Thats makes added repository link precise name of your ubuntu Release in Software sources. Wrong word and noting will work.

for all differences in repositories read https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu


As of Ubuntu 12.10, you can run:

sudo add-apt-repository universe

Which is easier than running sed over sources.list files, and will take into account which of -updates/-proposed/-backports is enabled.

You can go back with the --remove flag, but you'll still have to remove the packages:

sudo aptitude purge '~i ~s universe/'
  • This command is indepotent (i.e. can be executed multiple time without side effect). The command suggested in answer from @Kangarooo is not, the sources.list file is modified and grows each time the command gets executed (tested with Ubuntu 18.04).
    – fgiraldeau
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 22:13

Universe is enabled by default so you usually don't need to do this. You could edit the sources file from the terminal:

sudoedit /etc/apt/sources.list

And then uncomment the universe sections of the following lines:

#deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise universe
#deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates universe

The Ubuntu help page may be of use. And if you want to enable it via the GUI:

  • I think 'deb security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security universe' should also be mentioned. While Canonical doesn't provide support for universe packages, I see quite a few (community-provided?) updates sitting there. Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 7:09
  • What I was searching for: What is the baseline/default?
    – Timo
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 18:55

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