While the base version of Ubuntu is suitable for many users’ needs, it can become even more powerful and practical by installing various Ubuntu packages. So what is Ubuntu package management, and why is Ubuntu package management important?
What is Ubuntu package management?
An Ubuntu package is a compressed archive of various files bundled into a single file that holds everything an application needs to be installed and run on an Ubuntu system. This includes the application’s source code, as well as installation scripts that perform tasks such as copying files to the right places on the machine.
Ubuntu package management is the task of finding, installing, updating, and uninstalling Ubuntu packages as necessary while using an Ubuntu system. Ubuntu package management is an ongoing process, and can never truly be considered “complete.” For example, users might want to install an interesting new package, apply the latest update to gain access to new features, or delete a package that they no longer use.
Ubuntu packages are stored in centralized locations called repositories or channels. apt (Advanced Package Tool) is Ubuntu’s built-in tool for handling Ubuntu packages. For example, the command “sudo apt-get install gnote” will use apt to download the Gnote note-taking software from an Ubuntu repository and install it on the current system.
Why should I care?
Without Ubuntu package management, users who want to install an application would have to manually find and download the source code files, compile the application themselves, and then copy it to the right location. What’s more, users would need to manually check for and install software upgrades if they want to keep their applications compatible and up-to-date.
Ubuntu package management provides a streamlined, user-friendly interface to search for, install, update, and remove software with only a few basic commands. Ubuntu package management massively reduces the complexity of working with applications on an Ubuntu system, and managing packages in Ubuntu is a critical part of system maintenance.
While Ubuntu package management is important for anyone using an Ubuntu system, it is especially crucial for software developers. Developers rely on a wide variety of third-party packages that provide valuable functionality to the software they build. This saves countless hours of time and effort that would otherwise be spent reimplementing the same code base.
With potentially dozens or hundreds of packages being used in a single application, developers need a robust solution for Ubuntu package management. Tools like Packagecloud make it easy for developers to install and manage Ubuntu packages across multiple machines.
PS: Thanks for the image, Ubuntu!