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Thread: How to Use alien

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    How to Use alien

    I was installing a program when Terminal told me:
    Code:
    rpm: To install rpm packages on Debian systems, use alien. See README.Debian.
    error: cannot open Packages index using db3 - No such file or directory (2)
    error: cannot open Packages database in /var/lib/rpm
    What does this mean? How do I use alien?

    Another supposedly simpler alternative was to install with:
    Code:
    dpkg -i
    The problem is this:
    Code:
    dpkg: requested operation requires superuser privilege
    It says that I have to be logged-in as a "superuser", which I would think to be the Ubuntu-version of a Windows Administrative User. But if I installed only 1 user (mine) and the Ubuntu is running (which can only happen if I am logged-in to the only user available) wouldn't this, by default already be the superuser? Why does this not seem to be the case?

    Thanks for your time.

    Take care,
    RedStarYellowSun

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Kubuntu

    Re: How to Use alien

    alien lets you convert packages from non-debian based distros (like RPM) into DEBs (debian installable packages).

    You won't be able to install it with dpkg, not even if you do
    Code:
    sudo dpkg -i <package name>.rpm
    Which is what it's asking you to do.

    try this instead:

    Code:
    sudo aptitude install alien
    and then

    Code:
    sudo alien -d -i <package_name>.rpm
    What this does is:
    sudo: Super User DO; do something as superuser
    alien: calling the "alien" program
    -d: convert to debian package (the default option, just added for clarity)
    -i: install converted file
    <package_name>.rpm: the RPM you want to install
    Wish I could prove I love you, but does that mean I have to walk on water?
    When we are older you'll understand it's enough when I say so, and maybe some things are that simple.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: How to Use alien

    Apart from any 'normal' user there is always a user named 'root'. Logged in as that user you can do everything on the computer, which is kind of dangerous.
    To run a single command as 'root' use
    sudo command_with_arguments
    The first time you do this in a 10 minute or so timespan you will be asked to provide your password, to prevent misuage by someone walking up to your machine

    To install a .rpm package first convert it to .deb using the alien package (which you might need to install first with:
    sudo apt-get install alien
    )
    After that use
    sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb
    to install the .deb package

    But before doing that I recommend searching for the .deb package on the internet you might be able to find it and that is normally better tuned to Ubuntu/Debian.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Xubuntu

    Re: How to Use alien

    on ubuntu when executing commands with superuser privileges you do:
    'sudo whatevercommandyouwant' it then prompts you for root password, you type your password (the only one you ever put on the system) it will not show anything on screen when you type it if in a terminal, then enter.

    alien usage:
    'alien package.rpm'

    all without quotes

    but why don't you use the package manager to install software on your system? like synaptic or adept or gdebi?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: How to Use alien

    Thanks for your speedy responses! They are quite informative.

    The installation involves more than 1 rpm, though. The instructions bring me to a folder full of rpm's and tells me to use:
    Code:
    rpm -Uvh *rpm
    How does using alien affect this command, then?
    Do I just tweak it into this?
    Code:
    sudo alien -d -i rpm -Uvh *rpm
    Thanks for your time.

    Take care,
    RedStarYellowSun Thanks!
    PS: Does anyone know a good book or website that teaches Terminal commands? Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: How to Use alien

    Have you or have you not checked to see if there is already a .deb package of the app you want to install ?
    Have you checked if it is in the repositories ?
    What is the app you are trying to install ?

    .rpm files are not made for Ubuntu they are made for Red Hat based distros.
    eg. Open Suse, Fedora
    Multi Boot Ubuntu 10.04 64bit, Windoze 7 & XP SP3 on
    Intel E5200 Dual Core 2.5Ghz| 4 Gb DDR2 Ram

    10.04 UNR on eeePC 1000HA
    Linux is NOT Windows

  7. #7
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    Buenos Aires, AR
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    Ubuntu

    Re: How to Use alien

    Search for " Alien GUI " on Launchpad!

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    hacking on my Debian box
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    1,305

    Re: How to Use alien

    alien only converts the packages, it doesn't install them. Type man alien to see the manual page.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: How to Use alien

    Quote Originally Posted by RedStarYellowSun View Post
    Code:
    rpm -Uvh *rpm
    How does using alien affect this command, then?
    Do I just tweak it into this?
    Code:
    sudo alien -d -i rpm -Uvh *rpm
    Close but not really

    Code:
    sudo alien *.rpm
    Says:

    sudo - do the following as administrator
    alien - name of the program
    *.rpm - specifies all files that end in ".rpm".

    It will convert all the RPM files to Debs. If you need to install the Debs simultaneously, you can do this:

    Code:
    sudo dpkg -i *.deb
    which does exactly as it sounds: installs (-i) all (*) debian packages in the directory.
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: How to Use alien

    To 3rdalbum: Thanks for teaching me this. I certainly learned something. Same goers to glotz, juancarlospaco, and Anthon. Thank you.

    To Bradtek: Answering you question, thanks for having me chesk for a .deb file. I assumed that since the tar.gz with RPM's was the file automatically downloaded in the "download" page, I thought that they had already recognised my Linux distribution and sent me the one appropriate for it.
    The program I am trying to install is OpenOfice.Org 3.0.1 . Since my upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04, I found that it downgraded Open Office to 3.0.0 . The thing is that I rely on some of the features of 3.0.1 that cannot be found on mere 3.0.0, like the Printer Manager (I have problems with HPLIP and I can't print on Windows Vista due to some compatibility problem).
    Okay, so I downloaded the DEBS version on tar.gz and it gave me the folder "OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379" with a "DEBS" folder in it. The instructions tell me to use:
    Code:
    dpkg -i -–force-overwrite openoffice.org*.deb \ desktop-integration/openoffice.org-debian-menus*.deb
    But knowing that I have to use sudo, I modify it to:
    Code:
    sudo dpkg -i -–force-overwrite openoffice.org*.deb \ desktop-integration/openoffice.org-debian-menus*.deb
    And I got:
    Code:
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~$ cd Desktop
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~/Desktop$ cd OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~/Desktop/OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379$ cd DEBS
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~/Desktop/OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379/DEBS$ sudo dpkg -i -–force-overwrite openoffice.org*.deb \ desktop-integration/openoffice.org-debian-menus*.deb
    [sudo] password for jutumang: 
    dpkg: unknown option -
    
    Type dpkg --help for help about installing and deinstalling packages[*];
    Use `dselect' or `aptitude' for user-friendly package management;
    Type dpkg -Dhelp for a list of dpkg debug flag values;
    Type dpkg --force-help for a list of forcing options;
    Type dpkg-deb --help for help about manipulating *.deb files;
    Type dpkg --license for copyright license and lack of warranty (GNU GPL)[*].
    
    Options marked[*] produce a lot of output - pipe it through `less' or `more' !
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~/Desktop/OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379/DEBS$
    What happened?
    I know that I deviated from the instructions, which only tell me to use the code with need of "cd"-ing to the folder. But when I just input it, it gives me basically the same thing:
    Code:
    jutumang@jutumang-laptop:~$ sudo dpkg -i -–force-overwrite openoffice.org*.deb \ desktop-integration/openoffice.org-debian-menus*.deb
    dpkg: unknown option -
    
    Type dpkg --help for help about installing and deinstalling packages[*];
    Use `dselect' or `aptitude' for user-friendly package management;
    Type dpkg -Dhelp for a list of dpkg debug flag values;
    Type dpkg --force-help for a list of forcing options;
    Type dpkg-deb --help for help about manipulating *.deb files;
    Type dpkg --license for copyright license and lack of warranty (GNU GPL)[*].
    
    Options marked[*] produce a lot of output - pipe it through `less' or `more' !
    What do I do?

    Thanks for your time.

    Take care,
    RedStarYellowSun

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