Though Ubuntu has the most software of any Linux distribution, it doesn’t have everything. That’s where PPAs come in. A PPA (otherwise known as a personal package archive) is a collection of software located on a server. These servers have lots of software that the developers of Ubuntu did not include by default. A PPA has endless possibilities. Anything can be added to your Ubuntu install. Games, proprietary drivers and just about any kind of program you could possibly want is on one somewhere.
Are you a gamer? If you are, you might be interested to know that there are many, many (free) Linux games for Ubuntu. Even better, you can install them right from the software center once you add the PlayDeb PPA. Copy the command below and paste it into a terminal window.
wget -q -O - http://archive.getdeb.net/getdeb-archive.key | sudo apt-key add - sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu trusty-getdeb games" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/getdeb.list'
After entering the command, it’s time to refresh the Ubuntu software sources.
sudo apt-get update
With PlayDeb now a part of your Ubuntu software sources, head over to the PlayDeb game list, search for a game and click the “Install” button. Alternatively, open the Ubuntu Software Center and browse the games category.
2. WebUpd8 Java
For years, Java has been available on Linux platforms with an easy way to install. Now, not so much. Since Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, Java is no longer available by default. For the most part, this hardly matters as most users just install “Open JDK”, which is an open-source replacement for Java. Sometimes, however, OpenJDK isn’t enough. The folks over at WebUpd8 have made an Oracle Java installer PPA available.
Copy the commands below into a terminal window.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
After adding the PPA, update your software sources and install/build Java!.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer
Afterwards, some Java configuration.
sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-8-oracle
Now that everything has been configured and installed, the Oracle software license.
echo "oracle-java8-installer shared/accepted-oracle-license-v1-1 select true" | sudo /usr/bin/debconf-set-selections
Finally, set the Java environment variables.
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-set-default
If you wish to uninstall Oracle Java 8, enter this command into the terminal.
sudo apt-get remove oracle-java8-installer
As an Ubuntu user, you may have heard of Cinnamon. It’s the default desktop environment created by the Linux Mint project (a Linux distro based on Ubuntu). By default, it’s not possible to install Cinnamon in regular Ubuntu. This is a huge bummer as a lot of people really love Cinnamon, yet don’t really like a lot of the things Linux Mint has to offer (upgrade system, etc.). Thankfully, someone has been kind enough to make a PPA to install Cinnamon right onto Ubuntu.
Copy the commands below into a terminal window to get Cinnamon installed.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lestcape/cinnamon sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install cinnamon
Ever use Gimp? Chances are, if you use Linux and like editing photos, it’s your program of choice. It’s already in the official Ubuntu software sources, but this PPA will allow for faster updates. This means no waiting for a new release of Ubuntu to get the newest version of Gimp.
Note: If you already have Gimp installed before installing this PPA, uninstall it.
First, add the PPA by pasting this command into a terminal window.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gimp
5. Freshplayer Flash Plugin
You might or might not be aware that Adobe is no longer developing Flash for Linux. Google Chrome comes with its own version of flash player, so that is not a concern. However, for Firefox users, the only way to get the most current version of flash player is by using Chrome’s Pepper Flash plugin. For the longest time, this has been a source of frustration. A lot of people have been worried about being left behind on an old version of flash. No longer is this a problem. A developer has created a plugin wrapper for Firefox (it will not work with other browsers).
Before Freshplayer can be installed, Pepper Flash needs to be. Open a terminal window and enter the following commands.
sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
Once installed, configure it.
sudo update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install
Now that Pepper Flash is installed, it’s time to install the Freshplayer wrapper.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
After adding the PPA, update your software sources and install the Freshplayer plugin.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install freshplayerplugin
After installing, navigate to the plugins section of Firefox. You should see something similar to the image below. Note that the file says “libfreshwraper-pepperflash.so”.
PPAs are one of the best parts about Ubuntu. Though each release is a snapshot in time, these types of repositories can break users free. This list is just the beginning; there are dozens upon dozens of other ones just waiting for you. I think that’s what’s great about Linux and Ubuntu especially. Installing software has never been more adventurous.