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How to use the Nala package manager on Ubuntu

Nala is a new package manager for Ubuntu. It uses Ubuntu’s Apt as the backend but gives users faster downloads, a mirror picker, and much more. In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up and use Nala on your Linux PC.

How to install Nala on Ubuntu

The Nala package manager is available for all Ubuntu users in the default repositories, as it is included in Debian, and Ubuntu takes packages from Debian each release. To install this version of Nala on your Ubuntu system, open up a terminal window.

To open up a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop, press Ctrl + Alt + T to open up one on the desktop. Alternatively, you can launch a terminal on Ubuntu by searching for “Terminal” in the app menu.

Once the terminal window is open, use the apt install command below to install the package. However, keep in mind, as this package is distributed via Ubuntu, updates to Nala are not as fast as directly from the developers.

sudo apt install nala

If you prefer to get a more up-to-date version of the Nala package manager, you can add the official software repository for Nala. This repo is regularly updated and will see new features and improvements much sooner than what Ubuntu can deliver.

To add the Nala software repository to your computer, use the following echo command in a terminal window.

echo "deb https://deb.volian.org/volian/ scar main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/volian-archive-scar-unstable.list

After adding the software repository, you’ll need to add the GPG key for the repo. The software will not install on Ubuntu without this key. Using the following apt-key command below, set up the key.

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv-keys A87015F3DA22D980

With the key added to your system, run the update command. Then, install Nala from the repos using the apt install command.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nala

How to use Nala to install software

To install software using the Nala tool, start by launching a terminal window. Once it is open, use the nala search command to find the software package you wish to install. For example, to search for “gimp,” type the following command.

nala search gimp

Once you’ve run the search command, locate the package you wish to install in the search results. In this case, we’ll install “gimp.” To install it the Gimp tool, run the following install command.

sudo nala install gimp

How to use Nala to install DEB packages

The Nala app makes it much easier to install DEB packages than Apt. Users do not need to add “./” in front of DEB packages, and can instead enter the command below to install DEB packages.

To install any DEB package on your computer using the Nala package manager, start by accessing the “Downloads” folder where you’ve downloaded the DEB package file.

cd ~/Downloads

Inside of the “Downloads” folder, you can install the DEB package using the command below.

sudo nala install deb-package.deb

Alternatively, if you need to install multiple DEB packages at once, you can use a wildcard. To install multiple packages do the following. The wildcard will install every DEB package in the directory.

sudo nala install *.deb

How to use Nala to uninstall software

To uninstall software from Ubuntu with the Nala tool, do the following. First, find the name of the package or program you wish to uninstall. You can do this with the command below.

nala search package

Once you’ve located the package(s), run the following nala remove command. This command will uninstall the package you wish to uninstall, as well as clean up all dependencies automatically (something Apt does not do.)

How to use Nala to update

To update your software on Ubuntu with the Nala package manager, do the following. First, use the nala update command to check for any new updates to your system. This operation will only take a few seconds.

sudo nala update

After running the command above, run nala list –upgradable to view what upgrades are available to install. This command is handy so you know what you are upgrading before you do it.

nala list --upgradable

Once you’ve read the available upgrades, you can install them using the nala upgrade command.

sudo nala upgrade

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