Installing software on Linux can be a mixed bag. For one thing, the experience may seem simple compared to what you find on Microsoft Windows. Most of the software you want can be found in the app store or package manager of your Linux distribution.
But sometimes the app you want is not there or the version provided is out of date. This is where Windows’ dominant EXE format comes in handy – there are just so many Linux package formats out there. Fortunately, most distributions use DEB or RPM.
Here are eight sites to help you find applications in DEB or RPM format.
SEE ALSO: 4 Free Boot Managers – Dual Boot Windows and Linux
pkgs.org exists as a simple place to find and download the latest versions of Linux packages without having to deal with popups or spyware. The site has indexed millions of packages across more than a dozen distributions. Some of these distros use DEB and some use RPM, so it’s a great one-stop-shop to get both.
pkgs.org presents results by distribution version, so you can search for DEBs that are compatible with your exact version of Debian or Ubuntu. The same goes for RPM distributions like Fedora and openSUSE. Arch Linux is also included, as pkgs.org is not limited to DEB and RPM formats.
Although pkgs.org makes it easy to find packages, you are limited to performing searches based on the name of a package. RPM Seek goes further by giving you several parameters to use for your research. Not only can you search by distribution, but you can search for files based on the packages they need to work (called dependencies) or additional software they provide during installation.
Despite its name, RPM Seek is not limited to RPMs. Debian is one of the distributions you can find packages for – Debian uses DEBs.
Linux distributions keep many computers full of software that they distribute to other people. This is where the distribution of names (or distribution) comes from. While we typically access this software using a Linux app store, package manager, or the command line, you can also access it through a web browser.
You are not limited to the Debian site. You can also consult the finding Ubuntu packages or the Linux Mint packages page . Likewise, you can find RPMs on the page Fedora package sources .
Are you looking for a more advanced research tool to help diagnose problems with your system? RPM PBone Search is a site designed for more in-depth system analysis.
You can provide detailed search parameters that help you determine the dependencies of an RPM or any other missing item. You can find RPMs based on the changelog, summary, or RPM description tags.
RPM PBone Search also allows you to monitor the size of the repositories themselves. You can see when Fedora, openSUSE, or other RPM-based distributions add RPMs to their repositories and view the full list of what those repositories contain.
Most of these search engines have a certain style. There is none of that for RPM Find. This is a site showing simple plain text and basic HTML, so search results appear very quickly.
For many people, web page speed doesn’t deserve much thought. Slow, large web pages load quickly when you have gigabit internet. But many of us are still waiting for access to basic forms of broadband. In this situation, the less a browser has to load, the better.
True to its name, RPM Find is limited to RPMs.
The Open Build Service is a place where anyone can compile and distribute packages for many distributions and operating systems at once. It streamlines the process so developers can focus on writing code rather than understanding the nuances between how Debian and Arch Linux distribute software.
Not only can you use the Open Build service to build software, but you can also use it to research software. To do this, Appointment at build.opensuse.org.
Why openSUSE? This is because Open Build Service started out as openSUSE Build Service, and openSUSE continues to host a public version open to anyone to find packages regardless of the distribution they use (although much of the software is developed with openSUSE in mind).
One thing people notice when they install Fedora is that this particular Linux distribution does not come with proprietary software. You won’t find a closed-source Nvidia graphics card or some video codecs. If you want them, you have to look elsewhere.
This is where RPM Fusion comes in. This is a long-standing, third-party repository for Fedora users looking for certain software that is excluded from official Fedora repositories. If the RPMs you are looking for are open source or open source but not safe for a company like Red Hat (which sponsors Fedora) to redistribute, chances are you will find them here.
Launchpad comes from Canonical, the same company that brings us the Ubuntu desktop. Launchpad is a website for the development and maintenance of open source software. While Launchpad is primarily a tool for developers, it’s also a place where you can download packages.
Much of the software on Launchpad targets Ubuntu, so there are plenty of DEBs available on the site. But you will have to search to find them. Many projects only provide downloads as compressed TAR.GZ files. On the other hand, some also provide RPMs.
Launchpad is not as widely used as it once was, many projects here are now being hosted elsewhere or abandoned. This isn’t the site I would check out first, but there are some apps that are worth keeping in mind.
READ ALSO: Top 7 Smallest Linux Distros That Need Almost No Space
Why download a DEB or an RPM?
Times have changed for Linux. DEBs and RPMs are no longer the go-to method for distributing applications that are not in a distribution’s app store. But there are reasons to prefer them to other formats.
- Most of the software included in your distribution is probably already provided as a DEB or RPM.
- You can install, remove, or update software using only one method.
- These formats take up less space on your hard drive than the newer approaches.
- Currently, DEB or RPM versions open faster.
- DEB and RPM versions offer more consistency. Sometimes newer formats ignore user themes, have different file dialog windows, etc.
While most distributions use one of these two formats, that means there are some that don’t. Take for example Arch Linux and the many distributions based on it.