Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 14:01

At the old days, Ubuntu brought Synaptic Package Manager in every release until it completely replaced with Ubuntu Software Center at 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. Synaptic and Ubuntu Software Center are basically same things (package managers) but different in features. Ubuntu Software Center (later called as USC) is easy to use for beginners. But for many reasons, somebody will need Synaptic again. For example, Synaptic has advanced settings and detailed information in every action it does (while USC hides almost all detailed information). So here is a guide to use Synaptic.



  • Synaptic shows list of applications in text only without icons. It is different with USC. 
  • Synaptic asks user first what to do (selecting actions), then asks user again to Apply it (executing actions). It is the same concept with Gparted usage.
  • Synaptic shows detailed information for every piece of action or application. This will make new user a bit confused, but not for long time.
  • Synaptic asks for root password every user starts it.

Install Synaptic

You must open Ubuntu Software Center > search for synaptic > press Install button. Of course, it's because nowadays Ubuntu have no Synaptic preinstalled anymore.

First Time Usage

We do "reload" by pressing Reload button. This will download repository indexes (map of server contents) about 15 MB in total. Same with Ubuntu Software Center. See picture above. Every line showed is index file. Here, Synaptic is better than USC because it shows details KB/s speed and every URL of individual file.

Search Application

To search application, enter the name into search box. In this example, we search geany. See picture above. The result will be geany, geany-plugin-updatechecker, geany-plugin-vc, and so on. The application we want to install is usually having the most generic name (geany).

Install Application

To install application, click white box in front of application name > Mark for Installation > press Apply button > let Synaptic installs the program.

Uninstall Application

To uninstall application, click green box in front of application name > Mark for Removal > press Apply button > let Synaptic removes it.

Show Application Details

To show detailed information of application, right-click application name entry (.e.g geany) >  Properties. We can see common details, dependencies list, what files will be installed along, version of application, and description.

Set Proxy

To set proxy and authentication, open menu Settings > Preferences > Network > check Manual proxy configuration > insert proxy URL and port > click Authentication button > insert username & password. Important: probably we will need to copy & paste username and password into its text boxes (at least in Synaptic 0.81.1 in Ubuntu 14.04 we need to do it).