How to add repositories to Debian

Many great Linux applications are packaged for Ubuntu on  So what if you are a Debian user (remember that Ubuntu is derived from Debian!)?  Are you left out in the cold?  Not necessarily!

Here are some simple steps to add most any Launchpad repository to your Debian system. This example uses the excellent Double Commander cross-platform file manager.

  • Open a Terminal window in Debian.
  • In the Terminal window, elevate your user privileges, so that you can execute the remaining commands without logging in as root.
su -s
  • Open the Launchpad page for the application repository that you want to add in a web browser.  For Double Commander, the page is  In the Adding this PPA to your system section of the web page, click on Technical details about this PPA to open the details pane.  In the details pane, choose Lucid from the Display sources.list entries for list.
  • In the Terminal window, enter this command, replacing launchpad_URL with the URL from the details pane above (e.g., for our example).
echo "deb launchpad_URL lucid main ## A descriptive comment" | tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
  • On the Launchpad web page, locate the signing key in below the details pane. You only need the 8-character portion after the ‘/’. For example, for Double Commander, the signing key is BE35DEDD.
  • Enter the following command in the Terminal to add the signing key to your system, replacing SIGNING_KEY with the actual key you found:
apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys SIGNING_KEY
  • Now, you are ready to actually install the application from the new repository. Enter the following commands in the Terminal. Of course, use the appropriate application name, such as doublecmd-gtk for Double Commander.
apt-get update
apt-get install appname

That’s it! Enjoy using your new applications. And let me know how this works for you in the comments.


3 thoughts on “How to add repositories to Debian

  1. The last part, where you import the gpg doesn’t work rigth now. I don’t konw if the server is down or the site was changed. If you get an ansewr please let me know.

  2. If you have to do this for each package, this would be a massive PITA. Not to mention defeating the purpose of using Apt?

  3. Actually, nevermind. I can see why it’s a horrible idea to not put in specific packages unless you _really_ need them. Great way to accidentally bjork your entire OS is to just keep adding random Ubuntu packages..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s