Installing software (which are sometimes called ‘programs’, but we’ll call them ‘apps’) on Linux-based operating systems like Elementary OS can sometimes be confusing or difficult. There are actually several ways to do it. This article will describe the 5 ways this can be done.
Please note that Elementary OS is a Debian-based operating system, just like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Debian itself. This means that the instructions for installing apps on those operating systems will mostly work for Elementary OS as well.
Using the Software Center
Use this method if you’re new to Linux (if you’re new to Elementary OS). Using the Software Center to install apps is the easiest (and most enjoyable) way. One of the big benefits it provides is that it’s easy to browse new software, see screenshots and a description of the apps, and see users’ comments on the apps. The problem with using the Software Center is that when you type the common name of an application (such as ‘Apache’), the Software Center often won’t show it. To see that application, you have to type in the full package name (such as ‘apache2’). If this is a problem, see the other methods below.
2Open Software Center. If you have a shortcut to it in your dock, click on its icon there. In not, click on the ‘Applications’ launcher, and find and click on its icon there.
3Become familiar with its interface. On the left side is a list of categories, which you can browse to find apps. For example, you could select Sound & Video to find and install a music player. Also on the start screen are all sorts of new, recommended and highly-rated apps that you should become familiar with and consider installing.
4Search for the app you want. Using the search bar in the top-right corner of Software Center, type in the common name of the app you’re looking for. In the list of results that shows, you’ll probably see many alternative apps that you might want to install instead of (or in addition to) the app you searched for.
5Install the app. When you’ve opened the app’s information page, choose if you want any ‘Optional add-ons from that section below the description. When you’re ready to install, click the ‘Install’ button. You will be prompted for your administrator password; type it to begin installing the software.