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17 October, 2005
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Mandriva offers 12,000 free software packages -- take your pick

Installing And Updating Software Is Easy In Mandriva Linux (aka Mandrake Linux)

Mandriva's Gaël Duval (founder of Mandriva/Mandrake Linux) recently told MozillaQuest Magazine that there are more than 12,000 packages in the full Mandriva 2006 tree on the Mandriva mirrors.

Mike Angelo -- 17 October 2005 (C) -- Page 1

This Web site is best viewed at a screen resolution of 1280 by 1024 pixels.

Article Index

Introduction

Mandriva Software Management Tab

Installing and Removing Software

Adding Installation Media Sources

Wrap-Up

Resources

To learn why Linux is so much a better choice than is Microsoft Windows, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

To learn how to run MS Windows-based software and accessories in GNU-Linux, please see our article Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems

Executive Summary

Today you get a good overview of installing and removing software to and from a Mandriva Linux system using the MCC Software Management tab -- with a little bit of tutorial and how-to thrown in. Mandriva's Software Management tools make Installing and removing software easy, simple, and efficient.

Installing and updating software is easy in Mandriva Linux (aka Mandrake Linux). Often trying to install new software or updating already installed software in GNU-based Linux systems can be difficult and a real pain in the butt. With Mandriva Linux, installing new software is as easy as just a few mouse clicks.

Mandriva Linux (Mandrake Linux) has a great and easy to use set of graphical user interface (GUI) tools for installing new applications on your Mandriva Linux system, for removing software from your system, and for updating already installed software. They are part of the Mandriva Control Center (MCC) and are located in the Software Management tab of the MCC. These tools are RPM based.

The Software Management tab in the Mandriva Control Center is one reason we rate Mandriva Linux as a good desktop Linux. For more about our rating Mandriva as a good desktop Linux, please see the articles in our In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux series, Network Neighbor-hood and MS Windows Partitions and Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops.

The two main workhorses of the Software Management tab are the Install Software and Remove Software modules. Actually, the Remove Software module ought to be named List and Remove Installed Software to better encapsulate the functions of this module.

A big problem with trying to install software on a GNU-based Linux system has to do with something called dependencies. Mandriva's Software Packages Installation module transparently cleans up all that dependency mess.

We used the Mandriva Media Manager to add a Mandriva FTP mirror site to places where the Software Packages Installation module looks for available software packages. That opens access to nearly all the software that Mandriva has packaged for its Linux distribution, which is much more than the software included in the installation CDs or DVD. There are more than 12,000 packages in the full Mandriva 2006 tree on the Mandriva mirrors

Often trying to install new software or updating already installed software in GNU-based Linux systems can be difficult and a real pain in the butt. Not so for Mandrake Linux, now known as Mandriva Linux. With Mandriva Linux, installing new software is as easy as just a few mouse clicks.

Mandriva Linux 2006 already has been released to Mandriva Club members. It likely will be released to the public and retail trade shortly. The legwork for this article was done running Mandriva LE 2005 on our Pogo Linux test machine. However, this article should be quite applicable to Mandriva Linux 2006 too.

[Mandriva 2006 was released after this article was written and as we were in the process of publishing this article, Ed.]

The difficulties often encountered with trying to install new software or updating already installed software in GNU-based Linux systems are not nice for new-to-Linux users -- or for experienced Linux users for that matter. And such problems often can discourage MS Windows users from migrating to Linux. Thus, an easy-to-use software installation, removal, and maintenance module is an important component of a good desktop Linux system.

Mandriva Software Management Tab

Mandriva Linux (Mandrake Linux) has a great and easy to use set of graphical user interface (GUI) tools for installing new applications on your Mandriva Linux system, for removing software from your system, and for updating already installed software. They are part of the Mandriva Control Center (MCC) and are located in the Software Management tab of the MCC. These MCC software tools are RPM-based tools.

The Software Management tab in the Mandriva Control Center is one reason we rate Mandriva Linux as a good desktop Linux. For more about our rating Mandriva as a good desktop Linux, please see the articles in our In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux series, Network Neighbor-hood and MS Windows Partitions and Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops.

You can get to the Mandriva Control Center by clicking on the MCC icon on the K-Panel at the bottom of your screen. It's the one that shows Configure Your Computer - System configuration tool when you place the mouse cursor over it. Please see Figure 1, below.

You also can get to the MCC through the menuing system. To do that, simply click on the K-Menu star icon on the K-Panel. Then the menu path is K-Menu > System > Configuration > Configure your computer. Please see Figure 2. For you Microsoft Windows users, the K-Menu is similar to the Start button menu on the MS Windows Taskbar and the K-Panel is similar to the Windows Taskbar.

Figure 1. Left

Figure 2. Right

The top tab in the MCC is the Software Management tab. Click on it to show the contents of the Software Management tab. There are five selections there.

1. Install Software (Look at installable software and install software packages)

2. Remove Software (Look at installed software and uninstall software packages)

3. Mandrakelinux Update (Look at available updates and apply fixes or upgrades to installed packages)

4. The Software Media Manager (Select from where software packages are downloaded when updating the system)

5. Update Media (Upload your configuration in order to keep you informed about security updates and useful upgrades)

Installing and Removing Software

The two main workhorses of the Software Management tab are the Install Software and Remove Software module screens. Actually screen 2, Remove Software, ought to be named List and Remove Installed Software to better encapsulate the functions of this screen.

These first two screens look and feel very much alike. The main look-difference is that the bottom left button in screen 1 says Install and in screen 2 it says Remove. Also, screen 1 is labeled Software Packages Installation and screen 2 is labeled Software Packages Removal. Please see Figures 3 (screen 2), below, and 4 (screen 1), on page 2.

Figure 3. Software Installed Packages List and Removal Screen.

Don't let the term packages confuse you. Pretty much, you can think of package and program as meaning the same thing when it comes to installing or removing software. Actually the term package is a more precise term than is the term program or application when it comes to installing and removing software to and from a GNU-based Linux distribution.

For more about our rating Mandriva as a good desktop Linux, please see the articles in our In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux series, Network Neighbor-hood and MS Windows Partitions and Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops.

  • List and Remove Installed Software

Figure 3, above, shows the Software Packages Removal screen. Actually, it is a listing of all the software installed on your Mandriva Linux system. In Figure 3, we have selected the option to list all the installed software by groups such as office software, graphics software, sound software, and so forth.

In Figure 3, the Office group tree is expanded. AbiWord, a great MS Word clone, is the top listed installed office application. To the right of the packages listings is the description panel. In Figure 3 it shows that AbiWord is a Lean and fast full-featured word processor, which takes up about 10-MB of hard drive space. The installed version number, 2.2.7-1mdk, is shown in the description panel.

To remove an installed software package simply check the check-box to the left of its name in the installed packages list by clicking on it. Then click the Remove button. That's very simple indeed.

  • Install Software

Figure 4 (on page 2) shows the Software Packages Installation screen. Please notice how similar it is to the Software Packages Removal screen. However, the Software Packages Installation screen does not show the software packages installed on your Mandriva Linux system. Rather, it shows the packages that are not already installed but are available to you for installation.

Another difference is that the button in the lower left of the Software Packages Installation screen says Install rather than Remove. Also, please notice that in the package description panel for abiword-plugin-freetranslation the entry Medium: AleContribs. That means that the software installer will grab the freetranslation plug-in from the Ale FTP Mandriva mirror -- more about that further on. There is no Medium entry in the Software Packages Removal screen.

The description panel in the Software Packages Installation screen also indicates there is no version of the selected package installed on your system -- Currently installed version: (none).

You can select one or more software packages for installation. To do that, simply check the check-box to the left of a package name in the available packages list by clicking on it.

Article Index

Introduction

Mandriva Software Management Tab

Installing and Removing Software

Adding Installation Media Sources

Wrap-Up

Resources

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OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more

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