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How do I use software from a PPA?

To start installing and using software from a Personal Package Archive, you first need to tell Ubuntu where to find the PPA and how to verify the authenticity of its software. There is some critical information on the PPA overview web page that you'll need to copy.

Adding the PPA to Ubuntu

Step 1: Copy the first line from the apt sources.list entries section of the PPA overview page. To see the sources list, you may need to click the link “Technical details about this PPA”. For example:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/awn-testing/ubuntu jaunty main

Step 2: On your Ubuntu computer, open System > Administration > Software Sources.

Step 3: Click the Third Party Software tab.

Step 4: Click the Add button.

Step 5: Paste the line you copied in step 1 and click the Add Source button.

Step 6: Now copy the second line from the apt sources.list entries section of the PPA overview page and paste it in just as you did in steps 4 and 5.

Close the Software Sources window. When prompted, reload the software sources information. Don't worry if you see a warning about unverified software sources; we're going to fix that next.

Telling Ubuntu how to authenticate the PPA

Now Ubuntu knows about the PPA. It also needs to know how to check the software hasn't been tampered with since Launchpad built it.

Note: This is not an endorsement of any of the software in PPAs. You must make sure you trust the PPA owner before installing their software.

Step 1: On the PPA's overview page (or the user's overview page, which should be linked from the PPA page) you'll see the PPA's OpenPGP key id. It'll look something like this: 1024/12345678. Copy, or make a note of, the portion after the slash, e.g: 12345678.

Step 2: Open a terminal window using Applications > Accessories > Terminal. Enter this command in the terminal:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 12345678

Replace 12345678 with the key id you copied in step 1. Note: “sudo” is a command prefix that tells Ubuntu to execute the command as the “superuser”. Depending on how you configured Ubuntu, you may be prompted for your superuser password.

Step 3: Finally, tell Ubuntu to re-load the details of each software archive it knows about by entering this command in a terminal window:

sudo apt-get update

Installing software packages from the PPA

Step 1: Install software from the PPA by issuing this command in a terminal window:

sudo apt-get install <Package Name(s)>

You can install several packages with one apt-get command by adding more package names, separated by spaces. For example:

sudo apt-get install csockets-dev cxxtest