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Installing Software from PPAs

Sometimes software is not available in the Ubuntu repositories; perhaps it is too new, perhaps there is a new version available, or perhaps it is software that no one has had the opportunity to build and get approved for inclusion in the Ubuntu repositories. You can often find this software in a Personal Package Archive, or PPA. The main Launchpad page for PPAs says, “Personal Package Archives (PPA) allow you to upload Ubuntu source packages to be built and published as an apt repository by Launchpad” (see https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+ppas).

In short, a PPA is a small repository that contains software that is not found in the main Ubuntu repositories, perhaps for one of the reasons listed earlier or for other reasons. If a software package or version you want to install is not available from the main Ubuntu repositories, use your Web browser to search the main Launchpad site for the software and see if a PPA exists.

For our example, we install a bleeding-edge testing version of LibreOffice. Unless you absolutely need something offered from a PPA, we suggest you stick with packages from the Ubuntu repositories.

To add the PPA to your system, make a note of its location from the specific PPA’s Web page in Launchpad. In this case, the PPA is at ppa:libreoffice/ppa, as seen in Figure 4-10..

Figure 4-10. You can find technical details and installation instructions on all PPA pages.

The easiest way to add the PPA is to use the Terminal. Enter the following at the command line to add the LibreOffice PPA and to update your package manager’s listing.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update

Then, you can access the contents of the PPA from your preferred package manager: Ubuntu Software Center, Synaptic, the command line, and so on.

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