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How to update Ubuntu PPAs to the new 20.04 release

If you use a lot of PPAs on your Ubuntu PC and have recently upgraded to Ubuntu 20.04, you may notice that some of your PPAs are not working, as they’re still set to 19.10 or 18.04.

To fix this problem, you will need to update the PPAs. The issue is, many Ubuntu users do not know how to edit existing PPAs to change them to newer releases.

In this guide, we’ll go over how you can edit existing PPAs on your Ubuntu PC to make them work with the new 20.04 release. We’ll also go over how to disable non-working ones.

Editing PPAs

To edit a PPA on Ubuntu, you will need to open up the software sources editor. To do that, open up your app menu and search for “Software & Updates.” Then, launch it to open it up on the desktop. Once “Software & Updates” is open on the desktop, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to edit your existing PPAs in the GUI.

Step 1: Look through the “Software & Updates” window for the “Other Software” tab. If you can’t find it, it’s to the right of the “Ubuntu Software” tab. Click on the “Other Software” tab. In “Other Software,” you’ll see a list of every third-party PPA enabled on your Ubuntu Linux PC.

Step 2: Scroll through the list for URLs that start with “http://ppa.launchpad.net,” and check the box next to it to enable it, as Ubuntu often disables PPAs from previous versions during an upgrade. If you have PPAs that are from previous releases of Ubuntu that are not disabled, ignore them and move to Step 3.

Step 3: Click on a PPA with the mouse to select it. After selecting it, locate the “Edit” button, and click on it with the mouse. By selecting “Edit,” an editing box will appear on the screen.

In the editing box, you will see several columns. These columns are “URI,” “Distribution,” “Components,” and “Comment.” Locate the “Distribution” column, and click on it with the mouse. Then, erase the existing distribution text from the column.

Step 4: After erasing the existing text in the “Distribution” column, write in “focal” to change the PPA from the previous Ubuntu release to the new Ubuntu 20.04 one. Be sure to change the “Distribution” column for each PPA in “Other Software.”

Step 5: Click on the “OK” button to close the “Software & Updates” edit window. Once the “Software & Updates” edit window is closed, click the “Close” button at the bottom of “Software & Updates.”

Step 6: When you click the “Close” button in the “Software & Updates” window, you will see a window telling you that your software sources are out of date. Click the “Reload” button to refresh them.

Remove non-working PPAs from 20.04 LTS

Sometimes updating a PPA to work on a new release of Ubuntu doesn’t go well. Why does this happen? Sometimes people who create PPAs do not make an effort to support the latest versions of Ubuntu right away.

In this section, we’ll show you how to get rid of those non-working PPAs quickly. First, open up “Software & Updates.” Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the “Other Software” column, and click on it with the mouse to access all existing PPAs on your Ubuntu Linux PC.

Step 2: Look through the list of PPAs on your system for the ones that no longer work on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Once you’ve found the non-working PPA, you can do one of two things.

You can temporarily disable the PPA. Doing this means that for now, Ubuntu will not have access to it, and will not be able to install software from it. However, at any time, it can be re-enabled. For example, when the PPA maintainer decides to add Ubuntu 20.04 LTS support. Alternatively, you can disable it forever.

To temporarily disable a non-working PPA, click the check-box next to it and shut it off.

To disable a non-working PPA forever, select it with the mouse. Then, click on the “Remove” button.

Step 3: Find the “Close” button at the bottom of the “Software & Updates” window, and click on it with the mouse to exit the PPA editor.  Upon exiting the PPA editor, you will see a message appear on the screen.

In this message, Ubuntu will ask you to reload your software sources. Click on the “reload” button to refresh all of your software sources.

When Ubuntu’s software sources are refreshed, the non-working PPAs will be removed.

More help removing PPAs

In this guide, we went over briefly how to remove non-working PPAs from 20.04 LTS. However, if the instructions aren’t in-depth enough, follow this link here for a more in-depth break down of how PPAs work, and how to remove them from your Ubuntu Linux PC.

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