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I'm trying to get familiar with Linux.

One thing I struggle currently is managing packages.

Native Linux package managers need tiresome work if I want latest versions.
(Find and Add PPA or repository, Update, ...)

I tried Linuxbrew, but it's error prone unlike Homebrew on macOS.

How do you manage your packages especially if you want up-to-date?

I'm running Kubuntu and openSUSE Tumbleweed for moving from macOS to Linux.

Are PPA things fine with you? Or Linuxbrew works fine with you? Or ...

How do you guys manage packages on Linux? There's no better option for that? Or ...

Any opinion, advice, suggestion, your experience, ... are welcome!

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Many Linux (and BSD) versions have their own package managers built in and do not require you to touch the source files or use PPA files.

For example, with Linux Mint there is the "Software Manager" which has tens of thousands of applications that can be installed with a few clicks.

I have used PPA's for a few programs, but were possible I use the Software Manager.

I don't use Ubuntu or Kubuntu, but I believe there is "Software Centre" which is used to install applications. There should be no need to touch a PPA with that either.

In order to keep Linux Mint up-to-date, there is "Update Manager" which sits in the desktop panel and will tell you when something needs to be updated. I'm guessing Kubuntu would have something like this too.

Edit: If you want the "bleeding edge" or "very latest version" of a certain software application the day it is released you may need to follow the PPA, but that is not always the case. In most cases, the tested version that is installed using the package manager will be updated through the package management system. There is often very little need to have the very latest version on the day of release as well - at least for me :]

For example, Firefox is updated (on Linux Mint) through the Software Manager and the updates follow the main branch very closely.

  • Thanks! but Softwares Manager things doesn't help if you want latest version of packages. I think most Software Managers are just GUI Wrapper for CLI Package Manager, thus also need PPA or repository thing. – lūcēte celsē Jul 6 '17 at 6:05
  • @HeathLucasKim - See edited question. – Tigger Jul 6 '17 at 6:16
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If I want the latest version (or if no package is available), I do compile the source code myself. There's really no alternative to comipling if you want the latest version -- all packages have some lag compared to the current repository, and there is software that is only on github etc. and hasn't made it into a package yet.

I install compiled packages under /usr/local, and manage them with stow.

Note that you only want to do this for the handful of software where you really, really need that, because the current version provides functionality that's not already available in the packaged version. Otherwise, just use the packages that are provided by my distro.

If you only want the latest packages because it's "cool" and you don't actually need it: Don't bother.

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Caveat: I am really not an expert on this and have never really used Arch Linux

It is true that Linux has more package managers than macOS (but there is value in that!) and therefore it is more difficult to find one that would have as much of the software that homebrew has. (Btw macOS also has multiple different package managers actually).

I think Arch Linux might be a good option if what you desire is the newest packages of almost everything. You might especially find use in its AUR (Arch User Repository) system (similar to PPA on Ubuntu-based distros). It is difficult to say though whether (Arch Linux) AUR community is bigger or smaller than (Ubuntu) PPA community.

Snap, Flatpak and Appimage packages are also something you will encounter. All three work on most Linux distros, tend to be more secure, but take more RAM and disk space than native distro packages. (Please correct me if I'm wrong about this being always the case!).

Warning: Even though newer packages means you have access to the newest bugfixes and the newest features. That normally also means you have access to the newest security (and other) bugs. The advantage of stable/old software is that more people have tried and tested it before you use it. And your package manager only updates packages when security vulnerabilities are found and the new packages have been tested to some degree.

For myself personally, I am too lazy to experiment with different systems and to risk having to deal with possible problems of bleeding edge packages, so I have stuck with Ubuntu, because it is good enough for me. I do use several PPA's for missing software (very very rarely also to get newer software). Also I use several flatpak and snap and appimage packages - again almost entirely because of missing software rather than newer software.

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