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Software managment

HandyLinux has three tools to install or uninstall applications, the Software Center (used by default), Synaptic and your Terminal.

Find software

To add a software, we must find it. You can find software :

For a list of Recommended software,
visit the dedicated section of the wiki.

Software Center

The Software Center is the more user-friendly tool to manage your softwares. A complete section is dedicated to the Software Center in the "raiders" section.
Note that some fine configuration are unavailable with this simplified tool : if you need more details and a full access to all Debian packages, use Synaptic.


Synaptic is the complete graphic interface of your Debian package manager . It allows you a full view of the proposed packages, installed or not. It is much more detailed than the Software Center because it shows the entirety of available packages (libraries included).


Synaptic starts from the HandyMenu section “Raiders”, button “List of Applications”, then choose “Synaptic Package Manager” in the category “system.” Your password will be requested.
At first launch, an information window will appear to briefly explains the functioning of Synaptic.

So the main window presents to you all the available packages. At first launch, you need to click “Reload” in the toolbar to reload the package information, be informed of new packages, removing packages or available updates.
Installed packages are marked with a green square, the new packages by a star, the packages to be uninstall are pink or red ( uninstall or purge). packages to install are green.
Interface details :

  • 1 - menu bar : actions on the packages and synaptic configuration
  • 2 - Toolbar : retake some of the tools in the menu bar
  • 3 - main window : list of available packages
  • 4 - filters panel : can select all or part of available packages by selected criteria
  • 5 - description : when a package is selected, its description is displayed here
  • 6 - status bar : little useful information


Note that Synaptic can be used as it and does not need a particular configuration. For basic use, you can switch to next chapter.

Configuration of Synaptic goes through the Settings tab of the menu bar . You can set your preferences, your deposits (the sources of your software), your filters, define an internal option (for experts only) manage the appearance of your toolbar.


Well named section. As in most applications, the famous “Preferences” section …
But keep in mind that Synaptic is not like other software : it manages all the programs installed on your system. When you delete a program, it does not go in the trash.
After these warnings a little creepy, let's go to the available settings. The preferences window has six tabs:

  • General : entries are explicit. Precision about the “Consider recommended packages as dependencies” entry: HandyLinux is configured to not install recommended packages to ease the system. If your machine is powerful enough, you can activate the recommended packages here.
  • Columns and fonts : allows to show/hide some columns in the list of packages and adjust the font if necessary.
  • Colours : choose here the respective colors of the packets according to their state.
  • Files : when you install a program, it is first stored in cache in a directory on your system before being unpacked and installed. These packages can take place as and when your usage. Here you can delete or configure an automatic action.
  • Network : how Synaptic  is connected to the Internet. If your situation requires changing these settings, you'll know (proxy-users) :)
  • Distribution : how to perform updates. explicit. If in doubt, do not change.


Deposits are servers on which are stored Debian packages. HandyLinux uses several Debian repositories and the Videolan repository giving access to a newer version of VLC as well as library for reading DVDs.
Deposits are in the form of internet addresses, complemented details on the distribution (HandyLinux is based on Debian Wheezy/Stable) and the categories (HandyLinux uses “main”,“contrib” and “non-free”)
You can enable or desable one or more repositories, but also add some.

Add repository

If you normally use a software not present in the official Debian repositories, you can add other repositories to access. You can also add backports repositories to access the most recent Debian package.
In the deposit window, click on “new”, a blank line appears in the main list. You must now complete the fields of the new repository like this :

Click on “Submit” to save your addition and then click “Reload” in the main menu bar of Synaptic to update the list of available packages.


This section allows you to change the filters present in the section “Customized filters” at the bottom left of the window of Synaptic . Entries are explicit. I do not advise you to change the present filters, but you can add to narrow your search.

Intern option

This section allows you to change the internal behavior of Synaptic and therefore, how to manage packages on HandyLinux .
If you choose this distribution, but you want “work in the config package”, so come on the forum to learn how …: D

Tools bar

Show, hide, icons, text or both the choice is yours ..

Using Synaptic

Synaptic enables you to install, uninstall software, but also to update your system.
Note that you'll be notified of available updates from the notification area with the update-notifier

Install or remove software

More detailed Synaptic interface relative to the repository implies that you know the name of the software to install or remove … otherwise search in 35000 packages listed may be long …
To install a software :

  • click “Refresh” to update the package list and the changes since your last use.
  • look for the package to install with built-in search, scrolling the list, or click on a package, and then typing the first few letters of the package to install.
  • right-click the package and select “Mark for Installation” :
  • an information window tells you to install additional packages :
  • once selected  your software for installation, click on “Apply” to start the installation process :
  • a confirmation will be asked :
  • then the installation begins :
  • once done, an information window is displayed :
  • and it's done: D

To remove a software : same as above, but choose “Mark for (Complete) Removal” :

  • Removal: uninstalls the selected software
  • Complete Removal: uninstalls the selected software and purge the associated configuration files.

System update

Synaptic is able to update all the software installed on your system. The procedure is quite simple :

  • click “Refresh” to refresh the information about available software, installed or not.
  • click “Update All level” to select the available updates
  • click on “Apply” to perform the operations. A confirmation window will appear to verify the packages to update and the necessary changes (packages to delete, add, etc …)
  • and it's done: D


The Debian Software Center and the Synaptic Package Manager are only some graphical interfaces of the apt and aptitude commands that manage packages in Debian. These commands are available directly from a terminal (HandyMenu > Raiders > Open a terminal)

Here are the basic commands for managing debian packages on HandyLinux:

sudo apt-get update refresh the list of available packages and the regarding information
sudo apt-get install package install the “package”. eg: sudo apt-get install gimp
sudo apt-get remove package uninstall the “package”.
sudo apt-get remove --purge package uninstalls the “package” and its configuration files.
sudo apt-get clean cleans packages cache on the system
sudo apt-get autoremove eliminates unnecessary packages
sudo apt-get upgrade update packages
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade Update distribution
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -s simulates the upgrade, which will test without breaking your system if an update involves uninstalling any other packages already in your system.
sudo apt-get check allows to update the package cache and looking for broken dependencies.
sudo apt-cache search package allows searching a package.
sudo apt-cache policy package show the availability of a package, his version and in which deposits it is
softwares.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/14 03:01 (external edit)