July 13, 2012

Y-PPA Manager: Manage, Sort, and Backup Your Kubuntu OS's PPA List

If you are anything like me, you like to play with your Kubuntu set-up. Installing apps, uninstalling apps, purging apps (AKA get the hell off of my system and don't come back!). Over the course of time, this can lead to duplicate PPA's, obsolete PPA's, and PPA's that are broken or useless. Uselessness in PPA's usually means that either the particular PPA is neglected by the author, abandoned altogether, or does not contain updated packages for your version of Kubuntu.

Usually upgrading to a newer Kubuntu version tends to fix some of this as all 'non-standard' PPA's are disabled on upgrade with a message that you can always manually enable them later. This is why, for example, that the Medibuntu repository needs re-added after any Kubuntu version upgrade.

That's all fine and well, but if you are looking for an easy way to truly take control over your PPA's in Kubuntu, then Y-PPA is just the thing for you. According to the webpage, Y-PPA does the following:


  • Add PPA
  • Delete PPA - displays all the enabled PPAs (disabled PPAs will not be listed) and you can delete any PPA from that list
  • Purge PPA - uses the "ppa-purge" tool to downgrade the packages in the selected PPA to the version in the official Ubuntu repositories and disables that PPA
  • List packages in a PPA enabled on your computer - lists all the packages that are available for your Ubuntu version in the selected PPA (only PPAs that you have added to your system and are enabled will show up here)
  • Backup PPAs. Even though Y PPA Manager doesn't back up the GPG keys, it uses "lanchpad-getkeys" when you restore a backup so all the GPG keys are automatically imported on restore.
  • Remove duplicate sources .list files (doesn't work for the main sources.list file)
  • Search in all Launchpad PPAs - will perform a search in all the Launchpad PPAs for the package you enter in the search form. The regular search uses the Launchpad PPA search so it may return empty PPAs if the PPAs have a description that matches your search, or a PPA with packages for a different Ubuntu version then your current Ubuntu version (or the Ubuntu version you've set Y PPA Manager to search for - see info regarding the settings below). The deep search will only return the exact matches for your search and will display the PPAs and package versions at a glance.
  • You will be able to perform the following operations on a PPA: add it, list all the packages in that PPA for your Ubuntu version (or the Ubuntu version you've set Y PPA Manager to search for) - including the package versions, download selected packages from a PPA, copy PPA link (so you can then paste it in a web browser).
If you run Muon as your graphical software manager, some of these will already be available such as listing packages installed on your computer from a particular PPA. But many of Y-PPA's features are unique to itself and provide a set of tools that really help you manage one of the most important aspects of your Kubuntu system: Managing the software that's on it.


Invaluable 

Some of the most unique and invaluable features of Y-PPA are the ability not only to backup and restore all of your currently-used PPA's, but to, on upgrade, replace the release name of your former Kubuntu version with the new one (i.e. auto-replace 'Oneiric' with 'Natty'). This is a great time-saver. Basically, it's an easy way to allow consistency from one version of Kubuntu to another.

When used in combination with Muon's ability to load a saved installed packages list this makes a nice one-two punch for keeping different machines in sync as well as the same machine across different Kubuntu versions (even though Muon allows you to save and load currently installed package lists, on a new install you would only have the PPA's from the sources.list file that a new install had. This would likely make some packages un-installable if they originated from a PPA that was not present on the new system).

KDE Integration

On Y-PPA's blog it was announced that Y-PPA now has KDE support. Sweet.

Get it

You can download Y-PPA from get-deb.net. If you are new to get-deb.net, you need to read the easy instructions to enable their PPA. This also allows 1-click installation of any of their great apps that are listed there.

Don't Let Y-PPA's spartan interface fool you as there's a lot of power under the hood