Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager – This article explains how to list all available packages (installed and available for installation) in Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Debian repositories, whether official repositories or third party sources like PPA etc.

Below are 2 ways to list packages from the repository: using the GUI or from the command line.

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

If you want to list all the packages in the repository on your desktop, you can use the Synaptic Package Manager.

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Synaptic is a graphical package management application for APT (APT is the native command-line package manager for Debian and its derivatives).

If you don’t have Synaptic installed, you can install it on Debian, Ubuntu, and any Debian- or Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, including the main OS, Linux Mint, etc., using this command:

To list all packages of a particular software repository using Synaptic, launch the application and click Origin at the bottom left of this window. Next, select the repository for which you want to list all available packages (both installed and available for installation) from the list displayed on the right side of the Synaptic Package Manager.

For example, here Synaptic shows all the packages available in the Google repository, listing Google Chrome stable, beta, and unstable, as well as Google Earth Pro and EC:

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Launchpad PPA repositories are also supported. Their name begins with LP-PPA, followed by the original name of the PPA. Synaptic lists 2 entries for each PPA – make sure to choose a PPA entry that ends in /ubuntu-codename, e.g. /bionic, /cosmic, etc. The entry does not list all the packages available in the PPA.

This is a screenshot showing all the packages available in the Ubuntu graphics driver PPA (for Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish, since that’s what I’m using), including those installed on my system:

I don’t know why, but some packages are listed multiple times for PPA sources (and only for PPA repositories). It’s just an obvious thing, and it doesn’t break any functionality.

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

Listing all packages in a repository from the command line in Ubuntu, Debian, or Linux Mint is a bit trickier, but still very easy.

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There are many ways to do this from the command line, but I will list just one. A command to list all available packages in a repository is one of the following:

I will explain later how to find the repository name from /var/list/apt/lists and how to use it. Before that, I will explain what this command does:

The first thing you need to do is find the repository name *_Packages in /var/lib/apt/lists/. You can list all _Packages files in the repository in /var/lib/apt/lists/ using a simple ls:

Since the results can be quite long, you can run the command output further for easier reading:

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If you know part of the repository name (I’m using KEYWORD in the command below as the name), you can filter the results of ls using grep, like this:

For example, suppose you want to list all packages in an official black repository and you know that the repository name must contain black. In this case you would use this command to find the name of the _Packages file from /var/lib/apt/lists/

For shorter queries, some unrelated repositories may be shown, but it’s still easier to see what you’re looking for using grep than listing all the repositories’ _Packages.

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

Now that you know the name of the _Packages file, you can list all the packages in this repository by running this command:

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Use the file containing the framework for which you want to list all available packages in this repository. The example above is for 64bit (amd64), but you can use i386 for 32bit and such.

You don’t need the full filename of the _Packages repository. Back to my Tor storage example, the name of the _Packages file for Tor is deb.torproject.org_torproject.org_dists_cosmic_main_binary-amd64_Packages. In this case, you can use *_Packages after deb.torproject to simplify things, like this:

Another example. Suppose you want to see all the packages available in the Linux Java 11 PPA kernel (ppa:/java). You can list them using:

To use it with other PPA repositories, replace the PPA name with the first part and Java with the second part of the PPA name, and the command will list all packages of this PPA (installed and uninstalled).

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You can list all available packages in all PPA repositories that you have added to your system, using:

For easy access, you can bookmark this command using the Marker Commands Bookmark Manager (although primarily used for research, HSTR can also bookmark commands). May display advertisements and provide an “ad-laden experience”. Be a good customer. Do not resist. Obey, follow, consume and accept corporatism. More information

Linux Mint is a GNU/Linux distribution best known for its distinctive green and black markings. It is based on Ubuntu Linux LTS releases of the latest (early 2020) Linux Mint 19.3 based on Ubuntu 18.04. It is available as live ISO images with Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce. Linux Mint adds its own branding, some custom configuration files, and new versions of Cinnamon and MATE to its Ubuntu LTS variant. Beyond that, the differences are minor.

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

We tested the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 19.3 for this review. The MATE and Xfce desktop versions have the same Ubuntu-based system under the hood, but the default desktop environment will look and behave differently.

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The default Cinnamon desktop in Linux Mint 19.3 with the Nemo file manager and default Celluloid media player plays a fancom of Han Lezul (한이슬) from Rocket Girl performing their hit “Little Kate”.

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu Linux LTS with its own package repository, out-of-the-box custom layout, custom themes, and Linux Mint’s Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments or Xfce desktop environment. It also received some special software packages developed by the Linux Mint team. They have a GitHub page that lists it at Their own Xreader document viewer and Xviewer image viewer are set by default. The Xfce variant of Linux Mint is basically Ubuntu with Xfce installed and used by default with a custom theme.

Cinnamon and Mate are available for other GNU/Linux distributions but are mostly packaged as an afterthought. Linux Mint is the creator of the Cinnamon and Matte desktop environments, so the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint shows the Cinnamon desktop as the developers envisioned it.

Linux Mint boots into a fully functional desktop environment with a handy “Install Linux Mint” icon. By clicking on it, the installer starts and asks which language to use during installation. It then asks for a keyboard layout. Another question from the installer deserves some attention:

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“[ ] Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware, Flash, MP3, and other media. This software is subject to licensing terms with documentation. Some are proprietary.”

The MP3 patent expired a long time ago, this part probably remained from when the previous MP3 codec was subject to the patent. Non-free software is not required to play MP3 or the more modern Opus format that replaced it decades ago for that matter. “Third Party Software for Graphics” is said to be a binary bulb driver for Nvidias graphics cards. Nvidia has put some limitations in its firmware that prevent the free driver from working properly. Owners unlucky enough to have Nvidia hardware might want to check this box. However, it is important to note that:

Another hurdle is choosing which disk to use for installation. The installer offers installation encryption. Enabling this option is a good idea. The main purpose of the installation is to “Erase disk” without specifying which disk if you have more than one. There is an option to manually partition the install target(s) as “something else”. The manual partition selection tool isn’t the most user-friendly, but it works and it’s fine if you’re familiar with disk partitioning.

Linux Mint Synaptic Package Manager

The next step is to set your time zone. You will then be asked to enter a username and password. There is an option to enable it

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At this stage. It’s a good idea, you can enable full disk encryption and share this password with your family while keeping your personal files private if a family member is created.

Once the username and password are provided, there are no more questions. Linux Mint will start the installation process which will be completed faster if the installation target is SSD. It will take some time if you install to hard drive. It is not recommended to do so. SSDs have gotten so cheap since 2020 that running operating systems from HDDs is just ridiculous.

The default Cinnamon desktop in Linux Mint 19.3 shows the image of Han Leezol from Rocket Girl with the default Nemo file manager, LibreOffice and the “Xviewer” image viewer.

Linux Mint started out as a very polished but dark traditional desktop with panels and icons at the bottom. The wallpaper is black with a gray M logo.

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