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Re: How to download a package?

on Wed, Apr 25, 2001 at 09:54:42AM -0400, - (radsky@ncia.net) wrote:

> This may seem like a stupid question but how do you download a Debian
> package?

> (Yes, I'm a really low level newbie)

Not stupid, just getting the hang of things.  True confessions, I still
remember asking what all those '/' things were in Unix filenames....

In general, the package management system deals with this for you.
Though you _can_ download individual Debian package files (DEBs), in
general you don't do this explicitly.

For example if I want to install, say, abiword, I'd run the following
commands as root:

    $ apt-get update	# This synchs my local package list with the
    			# list available on Debian archive servers.
    $ apt-get install abiword

...the second step performs the acts of checking for any dependency
relationships (other packages necessary for AbiWord), downloading all
the DEBs (if necessary -- they could already be on the system),
unpacking the archives, and running any related installation scripts.

Your remaining questions only make sense if you want to download and
install packages manually.  This is possible, it's roughly equivalent to
how RPM works, but it's not necessary in most cases.

>  My hangup concerns these preliminaries before performing a
> download.....
>  1.   Should all downloads be done by  root user or can any user do
>       it?

Any user can download files.  I prefer *not* doing remote-access actions
as root in general.

>  2.   What directory should be set as the active directory in the
>      command line?

Whatever.  I usually do this to /tmp or another location I'll clean out
when I'm done.  Debian itself puts its package files in
/var/cache/apt/archives.  If you're downloading a package that ought to
be on your system, you might want to put it there.

> I've done a lot of web searching, read many books and haven't found
> any information about preparation BEFORE downloading a package..  I
> have downloaded a few packages as root user and downloaded to root's
> home directory ' /root' but haven't yet tried installing because it
> just doesn't seem right to do it from  /root for fear of screwing up
> the system.  I know how to move a package to a different directory if
> that will help, but to which directory?

You won't mess up /root.

> Is /root a good directory to download into or is there a better choice?

I'd probably put things elsewhere.  It's a matter of style, not

> It seems that Debian has some good commands for downloading packages
> but here again, what preliminary preparations such as mentioned above
> are recommended?

Recommended is apt-get, aptitude, possibly apt, and if you've got a sick
mind, dselect.  All of these are user interfaces to the package
management system.  All but apt-get are full-screen (though non-GUI)
systems.  Most people find dselect an aquired taste -- it's not bad but
it takes getting used to.

> Am I tilting at windmills?

Now, just so you know, this isn't a *bad* thing.  But yes.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org

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