I want to be able to search all available software like one would using "Synaptic Package manager" or "Ubuntu Software Center" through Command Line.`

I want a better way than pressing Tab after typing a few letters after "sudo apt-get install ". It is not enough and can't search deep like Synaptic Package Manager.

3 Answers 3


You can use apt-cache search. For example to search firefox:

apt-cache search firefox

This is the according snippet from man 8 apt-cache:

   search regex [ regex ... ]
       search performs a full text search on all available package lists 
       for the POSIX regex pattern given, see regex(7). It searches the 
       package names and the descriptions for an occurrence of the regular
       expression and prints out the package name and the short description, 
       including virtual package names. If --full is given then output 
       identical to show is produced for each matched package, and if 
       --names-only is given then the long description is not searched, 
       only the package name is.

       Separate arguments can be used to specify multiple search patterns 
       that are and'ed together.
apt-cache search foo

The man page for apt-cache will show you all the options.


I found that aptitude has a search feature.

aptitude search firefox

Linux Mint and many other distros come with aptitude preinstalled. But if you don't already have it use the following command.

sudo apt-get install aptitude

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