Installing Debian packages of LinuxFocus

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System Administration

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original in en Egon Willighagen 

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Joined the Dutch LF team in 1999 and became second editor earlier this year. Is an informational chemistry student at the University of Nijmegen. Plays basketball and enjoys hiking.

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This article introduces the LinuxFocus Debian packages and shows how to install and update them automatically with apt.

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In this article I will introduce the LinuxFocus Debian packages. The packages are an alternative to the tarred archives. But a better alternative. Why? Debian packages define dependencies so it will report missing files while installing. Even better, when using Apt it will automatically install all packages required. A second advantage is, that packages can be updated with a simple Apt command at any moment.

The Debian packages

At this moment there is only one LinuxFocus issue available, but others will follow soon. Moreover, this issue is only available in English, but I except when you read this article in languages other than English, the issue will be available in other language as well. An up to date list can be found at this web page.

The current packages are:

The first package contains the general layout that is applied to all articles. The second package only contains images and scripts that are given in the May 2000 issue, but not the articles itself. The last package contains the articles of this issue in English.

Note that the version reflects the translation status. Version 1.0 means that all articles are translated. For example, linuxfocus-nl-may2000 with version 0.4 would mean that four articles are translated.

Installing these packages

One way to install these packages is to download the packages and install them with the dpkg utility. A better option is using apt which will be showed later:

> ls -al
totaal 1554
drwxr-xr-x    2 egonw    egonw        1024 jun 30 11:09 .
drwxrwxrwt   41 root     root       205824 jun 30 11:08 ..
-rw-r--r--    1 egonw    egonw      418052 jun 30 11:09 linuxfocus-common-may2000_1.0_i386.deb
-rw-r--r--    1 egonw    egonw      889836 jun 30 11:09 linuxfocus-common_0.2_i386.deb
-rw-r--r--    1 egonw    egonw       65200 jun 30 11:09 linuxfocus-en-may2000_1.0_i386.deb
> dpkg -i linuxfocus-common_0.2_i386.deb 
> dpkg -i linuxfocus-common-may2000_1.0_i386.deb 
> dpkg -i linuxfocus-en-may2000_1.0_i386.deb

This must be done as root and in this specific order since the packages have dependencies. The output of the commands is omitted.

As I have already mentioned, using apt is preferred. With an appropriate setup apt will automatically resolve dependencies and make updating your system very easy.

Setting up Apt

Before apt can be used to install the Debian packages, the program must be configured (and possibly installed). This configuration consists of describing where apt may download Debian packages. Before adaption my /etc/apt/source.list looked something like:

# Official site
deb stable main contrib non-free

This line describes that apt can download Debian packages from the ftp site The packages are all in Debian's stable tree (alternatives are frozen and unstable). And the last three words describe which sections may be searched. The line which begins with the # mark is comment.

We can add the LinuxFocus Debian Packages by adding the following lines to this file:

# LinuxFocus Debian Packages
deb stable non-free

Now that apt is configured we can install the packages like this (being root):

> apt-get update
> apt-get install linuxfocus-en-may2000

Again the output of both commands is omitted. The first command updates the internal database of available packages. The next command installs the May2000 issue. And now apt automatically resolves the dependencies and suggests to download all required packages as well.

We now have the packages installed in /usr/doc/linuxfocus/. They may be viewed with any web browser using the URL file:///usr/doc/linuxfocus/English/May2000/index.html


Since issues are not completely translated to other languages the apt update mechanism can be very handy. The first Debian packages for language other than English are likely to not have all articles translated as can be seen by the version number (see above).

For instance, we have the package linuxfocus-nl-may2000_0.4_i386.deb installed but we know the fifth article has also be translated, we can upgrade to linuxfocus-nl-may2000 version 0.5 with:

> apt-get install linuxfocus-nl-may2000

And an update off all Dutch issues, for example, is done with:

> apt-get install "linuxfocus-nl*"


Without any problem you are able to read the articles, but I am not a Debian maintainer (yet). While I checked these package, they may and probably will contain errors. Please email them to