Like a lot of helpers on the forum, I have to type out boxes like this

[code]sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp[/code]
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp
Not only must we teach them how to install software from the command line, we also need to explain how to open a terminal and sometimes explain how sudo works, not ideal. But there is a way to change it.

Introducing AptURL.

This package is automatically installed in every Ubuntu version starting from 7.10, well to use it we need to only give the user an url, following our Gimp example, all we need to do is just type

[url=apt://gimp]Click here to install Gimp[/url]
Click here to install Gimp

Quite simple. But what if we need to give them a ton of stuff to install? Say Banshee and a ton of it's extensions. Again, simple

[url=apt://banshee,banshee-extension-alarm,banshee-extension-albumartwriter,banshee-extension-ampache,banshee-extension-appindicator,banshee-extension-awn,banshee-extension-coverwallpaper,banshee-extension-duplicatesongdetector,banshee-extension-foldersync,banshee-extension-jamendo,banshee-extension-karaoke,banshee-extension-lastfmfingerprint,banshee-extension-lcd,banshee-extension-lirc,banshee-extension-liveradio,banshee-extension-lyrics,banshee-extension-magnatune,banshee-extension-mirage,banshee-extension-openvp,banshee-extension-radiostationfetcher,banshee-extension-randombylastfm,banshee-extensions-common,banshee-extension-soundmenu,banshee-extension-streamrecorder,banshee-extension-telepathy,banshee-extension-zeitgeistdataprovider]Click here to install Banshee and all of it's extensions[/url]
Click here to install Banshee and all of it's extensions

Notice how that wall of text easily shrinks to just a few words.

Why bother?

Quite simple. New users are afraid of the terminal. Instructing them to do something they never did before might scare them and might even drive them away. Using AptURL we can provide users with simple URLs that they only need to click. Every user knows how to click links.

Random titbits.

  • Same links can be used to uninstall stuff
  • If you are lazy, you can skip on typing out the 2 slashes and decrease the size to just apt:gimp
  • Remember, AptURLs are links and so they shouldn't be used when telling someone how to install stuff on Ubuntu Server
  • If you are talking about a non-Ubuntu based OS, AptURL might not be installed and you should provide terminal instructions
  • If you want to tell someone how to install something from a PPA, you should stick to GUI only or CLI only.
    To install a PPA - open the Software Sources menu by launching the Ubuntu Software Center and selecting Edit -> Software Sources. Choose the Other Software tab and click Add. Paste ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
    Now just [url=ppa://wine1.5]press here to install Wine[/url]
  • If you want to make use of apt links easier, go to this launchpad bug (#1001791) and press "Does this bug affect you?", no need to leave a comment on Launchpad. This will let us use [apt]Gimp[/apt]