How to install software in BOSS Linux?

Software for Linux comes in two forms:

  1. Source archives (usually a file with a .tar.gz/tar.bz2 extension)
  2. Binaries

Installing software from Source is generally more demanding than installing binaries. Source archives have to extracted and then built. The build instructions are usually found in the Readme file. Read it, because it will have all the information needed to get that software installed on your machine. There was a time when building software from source was said to provide markedly superior performance than that achieved when installing from binaries. However, this has changed with time, the performance benefit is marginal these days. There are exceptions to this, but in most cases building from source is the last option for new users.

Installing software from binaries is like installing software on Windows using a Setup.exe/Install.exe file. Unlike windows Linux has a variety of package managers which display all the applications in the distributions repository. All you have to do is to pick the software and it should be installed in a matter of a couple of mouse clicks (and automatic downloads of course). Think of it like your smartphone’s app store, only that here all apps are free.

These package managers often handle dependency resolution automatically. Now dependencies are something most Linux users coming from the world of Windows are a little less familiar with. A Dependency is a software that the software you are installing requires pre-installed on the machine. Similar situations exist with Windows too, take for instance applications that require Java to be installed before they are run, or those that require the .NET framework installed as a pre-requisite. Its the same thing here in Linux.

BOSS GNU/Linux comes with Synaptic Package Manager (all versions upto BOSS 4.0 Savir), Synaptic is a GUI package manager for distributions that use the Debian Package Management System. The Synaptic package manager downloads and displays a list of packages from BOSS Linux software archive at http://packages.bosslinux.in/. Once you’ve downloaded the list of available software (bu clicking the Reload button), you can select and install any of the available software. The last time i checked, BOSS 4.0 had a software repository of 29,000 to choose from. Now that is a huge number, the tough part for most new users is finding what they want, Synaptic’s  Search button is use in such cases. However, if you are looking for the Linux equivalent of a Windows software try searching http://www.osalt.com/. They have a list of open source alternatives to popular windows software, once you know what you are looking for, you can easily install it using Synaptic.

Screenshot of Synaptic on BOSS Linux

Screenshot of Synaptic on BOSS Linux

With the release of BOSS 4.0, BOSS GNU/Linux now has Software Centre, it is an alternative to Synaptic. Software Centre categorizes software so that finding and installing software becomes easier for the new user. It also features detailed information about the various software available including links to the software’s official website.This makes it easier for some people to find the right software for the job.

BOSS 4 Software Centre Screenshot

BOSS 4 Software Centre Screenshot

Software centre helps the user narrow down to the desired software, for instance as in the above screen shot you could select Graphics Software and then further refine your search to include only 3D Graphics Software.

The choice between Synaptic and Software Centre depends entirely on the user’s needs, but as always having a choice is good.

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