Synaptic Package Manager (synaptic)

Opening Synaptic

To open synaptic click with a mouse:

Desktop -> Administration-> Synaptic Package Manager

On the Desktop panel.

It will ask to verify your password. Type in your root password.

This is what you should see:(Use this picture as a reference for the rest of the HowTo)

Managing Packages


Packages in Debian are kept in repositories. These repositores are listed in you /etc/apt/sources.list file. You can edit them by editing that file with a text editor or you can edit them inside synaptic. To do so open the list of repositories by clicking with your mouse inside synaptic:

Settings -> Repositories

This will open up a list of repositories. The list will show whether a repository is enabled or not, and what type of repository it is. "deb" repositories are the binary files for packages and "deb-src" are the source files. Add and delete the repositores you want. Type the web address in the URI slot, what distobution type in the distribution slot, and which sections of the repository I want to access in the Section slot. For example if I knew the binaries packages I wanted for the "stable" distribution was located at in the main contrib and non-free sections I would type:

Disribution:  stable
Section(s):   main contrib non-free   

I would then click "OK" at the bottom of the screen.

To add a new repositories click on the "new" button. To delete a repository click on the "delete" button. To edit a repository click on the repository in the list.

Updating Packages

New packages and updates are being added and removed from repositories often. Your system needs to be up-to-date. To do so click on the reload button at the top left hand corner of the screen. Synaptic wil then download new package information. Some times synaptic "hiccups" and gives an error. More often then not you just have to update again to fix the error.

Once you have preformed this successfully with no errors your package list is up to date. :)

Upgrading Packages

Once you have updated your system there will often be packages that need to be upgraded. Click on the "Mark All Upgrades" button. A screen will pop up showing packages that need to be upgraded, click "OK" . Click on the "Apply" button at the top of the screen. This will bring up a screen to prompt you if you wish to apply the changes. Review the list makeing sure these are changes you are comfortable with. Then click "OK" Synaptic will begin upgradeing your packages. Note: it is sometimes helpful to click on the terminal button while Synaptic is upgrading your packages so that you can see what is going on and answer any questions the terminal sometimes asks you.

Installing and Removing Packages

First find the package. It is often helful to just press ctrl+f. You can search for a package name or a key word that describes your package.

Once you have found your package click on it as shown above with the package synaptic. If the box next to the package name is filled green it is already installed. If the box is blank install it. To do so right click on the box with your mouse and select "Mark for Installation". After your have marked the package for installation right click on it again and scroll down and check out what's listed under "Mark Recomended for Installation" and "Mark Suggested for Installation". These packages my be important to install with the package you want. You make the decision. Click on them if you want them or just ignore them.

After you have marked your packages click on the "Apply" button at the top of the screen following the same pattern discussed above in the "Upgrading Packages Section". When the process is over the Package has been correctly installed. :D

To remove a package, like installation, click on the package you want to remove. Right click on the box next to the package and scroll down to "Mark for Removal". Mark it for removal then apply your decision by clicking on the "Apply" button as discussed above. Your package will be removed.

Status of Package

You can tell what the status of your packages is(installed, broken, etc) by looking at the color of the square next to the package:

Good luck with your packaging! Always make sure to keep your package up-to-date! :)

ToDo: merge to Synaptic