Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 21:19


After examples of productive activities, I think it's time to know the ways to install more software on Trisquel GNU/Linux. Officially there is one way: run you Synaptic Package Manager and get software with it. This way gets you software from official Trisquel repository. That is the normal way we get more software on Trisquel. I will discuss how to do it first using Synaptic with internet access and later with Terminal without internet access. I consider it's enough to just download everything from official repository without third-party ones as it's guaranteed to be 100% free software. I hope this will help you a lot and make you days using Trisquel much more easier. Enjoy!

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Read previous parts: Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1


  • 1. What you need to know about Trisquel
  • 2. Ways to get software
  • 3. What software are available?
  • 4. Installing software with Synaptic
  • 5. Example installing Qt SDK
  • 6. Installing software without internet access
  • 7. End words

1. What you need to know about Trisquel

2. Ways to get software

In general, yes, you have one official way to do it just like what you have on Windows and macOS. Please note that this way requires internet access on your running Trisquel computer. But in particular, actually there are more ways to get more software on Trisquel.
  • 1) Install software from official repository. This is the one official way: particularly, this means you download binary code package in .deb format using either Synaptic or APT package manager into your Trisquel system. This needs direct internet access.
  • 2) Compile a software from the source code. It's very common on Slackware or Gentoo (alternatively, Dragora or GuixSD in 100% free distros group). Installing software from source is natural in the free software community, but unfortunately it's extremely difficult for individual end-user, and fortunately Trisquel Developers have already compiled them all for us, so this should not be your first option. However, Trisquel official repository provides source code packages of all software distributed.
  • 3) Install software from non-official repository. It's very common on Ubuntu as well as Arch, with third-party repositories named "PPA" and "AUR", respectively. The secret is, Trisquel 8.0 is compatible with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, so PPAs for 16.04 are basically installable on 8.0. According to Trisquel officials, this is not official and not recommended. This requires direct internet access.
  • 4) Download a binary code package (.deb) and install manually with GDebi. This one is also official way, and it's closer to Windows way, but it's more complicated for individual user because of "dependencies". You can only do this easily if the package is single (one file) without other packages ("dependencies"); otherwise, installing this way is for advanced user only. Installing the downloaded package does not need internet access.
  • 5) Download software in AppImage format (.appimage) and click to run it. For most GNU/Linux users, this is a new thing: AppImage is similar to EXE or DMG so you just download the file with .appimage extension and give it permission and click so it runs. Very similar to "Portable Apps" for Windows if you know. This is the easiest way to get software but this is not official and not recommended by Trisquel. Running AppImage does not need internet access.
It's enough for a starter knowing only those five. In this article, you will learn the first one only. You won't need to waste your time exploring more new (and perhaps confusing) things like Snappy, Flatpak, or even Docker.

3. What software are available?

See table below. These are free software available on Trisquel repository I've checked using Synaptic. I compare them to the popular nonfree software counterparts from Windows. Please take a note that "free" and "nonfree" here are not "gratis"/"paid" but instead "full-rights"/"restricted-rights" for user. You can learn more here.

Nonfree Software
Free Software
Microsoft Office
Adobe Reader
Internet Explorer
Google Chrome
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe PageMaker
Adobe InDesign
Macromedia Flash MX
Microsoft Visual Basic
Microsoft Visual Basic .NET
Microsoft Visual C++
Microsoft Visual Studio
Qt Software Development Kit (Qt Creator + Qt Framework + Qt Designer + Qt Linguist + GCC)
Adobe Premiere Pro
Ulead Studio
Sony Vegas Studio
Camtasia Studio
Windows Media Player
GOM Player
3D Studio Max
Internet Download Manager (IDM)
Yahoo! Messenger
Sublime Text
Intellij IDEA
EASEUS Partition Editor
AOMEI Partition Assistant
MiniTool Partition Wizard

More free software see:

4. Installing software with Synaptic

Run Synaptic from your start menu > System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. It looks like this.

1) First, click Reload button. Synaptic will download information about the repository server. This does not install nor upgrade any program. Once completely finished, you don't need to do Reload anymore. Internet access is required for this.

(Download package information )

2) Second, type software name on the search box. For example, inkscape. Synaptic will automatically find it for you. This does not need internet access anymore as the information has been downloaded by Reload.

3) To install, right-click the software name > Mark for Installation > click Apply on the toolbar > click OK once > click OK once again. Synaptic will download the software along with required other software (if any) and install them automatically for you.

4) Once installed, the software inkscape is present on your start menu. Congratulations!

5. Example installing Qt SDK

This is a bonus example to install Qt SDK, that is, a full software development kit to so you can create cross-platform GUI applications. We will use the editor Qt Creator, use the programming language C++, with the library Qt Framework, and the compiler GNU C++ Compiler. Follow instructions below to install it completed with excellent code examples.

1) Find the software name qtcreator

2) See the information available there: the version available is 3.5, it's not (blank column) qtcreator software installed currently, and the description says "the IDE for Qt" so it's the correct thing

 (From left to right: blank box=it's ready to be installed, Package column=the name, Installed version column=it's not already installed, Latest version column=software version available, Description=short identifier to the program)

Also find the software qt5-doc, qt5-default and qtbase5-examples and qtbase5-doc-html so you get full compiler support and a lot of source code examples. See reference here.

3) Right-click the name > Mark for installation > OK > repeat for other names so all of them marked for installation > finally click Apply > OK > let the installation goes. 

4) Find the program Qt Creator on your start menu. Run it.

5) You can start coding by examples available built-in Qt Creator under Examples section.  See, wonderful!

(Qt Creator integrated development environment window showing built-in code examples ready to use)

6. Installing software without internet access

There are many, many ways to do it. The easiest one everybody could imagine is by copying downloaded packages done above from one Trisquel 8.0 computer to another Trisquel 8.0 computer. So, other computer may have same set of software without re-downloading from the internet --in other words, without internet access--. You just need to distribute the files using USB stick or such storage media. This kind of trick will work very well on school labs' and offices' computers which have identical OSes but do not have good internet access. Here's how to do:

1) Finish all exercises above.

2) Go to /var/cahe/apt/archives/. You see many, many software packages in .deb format here. They are all software you have downloaded from exercise above.

(The directory where all downloaded packages stored by Synaptic)

3) Copy all files in .deb format into your USB stick. You better save them in a new folder named 'trisquel-8.0-amd64' if your system is 64-bit, or 'trisquel-8.0-i386' if your system is 32-bit. It should looks like below. I assume your computer and your other computers are all 64-bit here.

 (Saved packages in the USB stick)

4) Go to other Trisquel 8.0 computer. Copy the files into this computer. You better copy and paste the 'trisquel-8.0-amd64' folder into the Downloads folder.

5) Enter the folder 'trisquel-8.0-amd64' so you see all the .deb files.

6) Click menu bar File > Open in Terminal > a Terminal Emulator appears > make sure the address shown is the same as shown in the File Manager.

7) Type the command line to install them all:
$ sudo dpkg -i *.deb

8) Find all your software present on the start menu.

9) Repeat the same process for other Trisquel 8.0 computers. Congratulations!

End Words

That's all. As a friendly manual, I consider it's important to make this as short as possible and in the same time as useful as possible as well. In the long term, you will eventually see how helpful is learning by Synaptic first, as it helps you understand in easier manner before you actually go to command line (apt-get). I hope this will really, really make your life with Trisquel easier. From this point you can learn more about Trisquel package management on Trisquel Wiki. For the next chance, I will discuss more about upgrading individual software package as well as upgrading the whole system. Enjoy!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.