Installing Software on the Raspberry Pi
For Linux, software applications are generally referred to as packages.
Packages are stored in a repository. A repository that contains
all the packages that work in a Raspberry Pi is available and already
set up to use in the Raspberry Pi.
The RPi has an ARM11 type
processor and programs must specifically be made to run on the ARM11 (ARMv6)
platform. Programs or packages made for other platforms such as Windows
or MAC and even other Linux OS using AMD or Intel x86 processors will
not work on the RPi.
Do not change the default repository else the OS may become irreversibly trashed.
it is quite common that the version of whatever program available for
the RPi is several versions behind what is available for the same
program on other platforms.
How to Download Programs and Updates:
The easiest way to download and install programs, (If you know the filename), is to use the apt-get
command at a terminal prompt.
sudo apt-get install filename
Note before attempting to install anything be sure to do update (within the same day or so): sudo apt-get upadate
If you don't know the filename then a Package Manager can be used - see below.
Google search BUT when Google searching for a program to run on your RPi - If the site
does not say it was made to work on the RPi, and the site does not give
specific instructions on how to install the program on a RPi, then
don't even bother to download it.
Some programs for other
platforms can be made to work on the RPi by compiling from source code.
This is beyond the scope of this web site.
Using a Package Manager:
package manager allows the user to search the repository for available
packages and download / install the packages. The PM will also show
what has already been installed in the system and can be used to
uninstall packages as well.
There is a PM utility included with Raspbian called Aptitude Package
but the program is pretty
cumbersome to use. I find myself using this program to search and find
the program I want then quit and use the apt-get command to actually do
For a much easier to use GUI PM see Synaptic section below.
If you must then here are hints on using Aptitude installer to find programs:
- Aptitude works either from the command prompt or from the GUI Desktop through LXTerminal
- Start from a terminal command prompt like this:
(Note If in Desktop (GUI) do not attempt to start Aptitude from the start menu or desktop ICON).
- Press u to do update
- Use cursor and enter keys to browse and select. [Not Installed Packages].
- Cursor down and enter on a category such as games, etc
- Cursor over each entry and read description about what it is.
Write down the filename and go to a terminal prompt and enter sudo apt-get install filename
If you prefer to use the Aptitude program then continue with the following steps:
Install from Aptitude:
- Highlight with cursor and push +. The selected item will turn green.
- When done with selections press: g
- Selection(s) will now be downloaded and installed
You can also use the search / find but the search is performed on the
filename only not the description. Many filenames are a bit cryptic and
may not revel what the program actually is. You might have better luck
doing a Google search and then looking in Aptitude to see if the
program is listed in Not Installed Packages.
Aptitude Screen Shot
Synaptic Package Manager (GUI)
This is much easier to use than the text based Aptitude package manager.
After installation, the Synaptic PM can be found in the start menu
under [other]. If you prefer to have a screen icon you can right mouse
click on the name and select [add to desktop].
sudo apt-get install synaptic
Synaptic Screen Shot
The installed packages will be checked.
Updating System and Installed Packages
Update Package Lists:
This command is used to update the package lists for installed
programs as well as list of programs that have not been installed. The
system needs this information to know which packages need updating when
the upgrade command is done.This
should always be done before attempting to do an upgrade as well as
before installing an individual package.
sudo apt-get update
This command will update all installed programs to the latest versions available for the RPi.
This should be done soon after a new OS install and periodically every-so-often. I do update once a week or so.
sudo apt-get upgrade