The thing that I miss most of all since moving from Arch Linux back over to Debian is the Arch User Repository (AUR). Every package I ever needed was there, sometimes multiple times based on different forks that folks were maintaining.
Even without the AUR, Debian has a massive number of packages available, arguably more than Arch just due to the aforementioned duplicates in packages.
But enough of the flame bait, let’s talk about searching for installable packages, based on which source repositories you already have configured.
It’s good practice to run
apt update first, to make sure you have the local
cache primed, and up to date.
To search for packages, we’re going to use the
apt-cache command. The
we’re talking about is the local cache of available packages that gets loaded
when you run
Let’s say you want to find all of the GNOME Shell extensions that are readily available, simply run:
apt-cache search gnome-shell-extension
And all of the packages that mention that string will be listed out.
YMMV, but you may have noticed that there were some packages listed that don’t
appear to contain the string
gnome-shell-extension. The reason for this is
that by default, the
apt-cache search looks at both the name of the package as
well as the description.
To further hone things down to just the package names, you’ll want to include
--names-only argument as well:
apt-cache search --names-onle gnome-shell-extension
Once you find the package you’re looking for, go ahead and
apt install and be
on your way!