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Some of the tools used to install packages on a Ubuntu system are the programs called apt-get or just apt, from the apt package8. Other front-ends for package management, like aptitude and synaptic, are also in use. These front-ends are recommended for new users, since they integrate some additional features (package searching and status checks) in a nice user interface.

The apt and apt-get front-end must be configured so that it knows from where to retrieve packages. The results of this configuration are written to the file /etc/apt/sources.list. You can examine and edit this file to your liking after the installation is complete.

If you are installing at default priority, the installer will largely take care of the configuration auto- matically, based on the installation method you are using and possibly using choices made earlier in the installation. In most cases the installer will automatically add a security mirror and, if you are installing the stable distribution, a mirror for the “stable-updates” service.


8. Note that the program which actually installs the packages is called dpkg. However, this program is more of a low-level tool. apt-get and apt are higher-level tools, which will invoke dpkg as appropriate. They know how to retrieve packages from your CD, the network, or wherever. They are also able to automatically install other packages which are required to make the package you’re trying to install work correctly.

If you are installing at a lower priority (e.g. in expert mode), you will be able to make more decisions yourself. You can choose whether or not to use the security and/or stable-updates services, and you can choose to add packages from the “contrib” and “non-free” sections of the archive. Installing from more than one CD or DVD


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