Linux

8 Sites for Downloading DEB or RPM Linux Apps

Bertel King 20-02-2020

Installing software on Linux can be a mixed bag. On one hand, the experience can seem straightforward compared to what you find on Microsoft Windows. Much of the software you want is in your Linux distribution’s app store or package manager.

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But sometimes the app you want isn’t there or the provided version is out of date. That’s where Window’s dominant EXE format feels convenient—there are simply so many Linux package formats. Fortunately, most distros use either DEB or RPM.

Here are eight sites to help you find apps in DEB or RPM format.

1. pkgs.org

Download DEBs or RPMs from pkgs.org

pkgs.org exists as a simple place to find and download the latest versions of Linux packages without having to deal with popups or spyware. The site has indexed millions of packages across over a dozen distros. Some of these distros use DEB and others use RPM, so this is a great one-stop-shop to get both.

pkgs.org presents results by distro release, so you can look for DEBs compatible with your exact version of Debian or Ubuntu. The same is true for RPM distros like Fedora and openSUSE. Arch Linux is also included, as pkgs.org is not limited to the DEB and RPM formats.

2. RPM Seek

Download DEBs or RPMs from RPM Seek

While pkgs.org makes searching for packages straightforward, you’re limited to performing searches based on a package’s name. RPM Seek goes a step further by giving you several parameters to use for your searches. Not only can you search based on distro, but you can look for files based on what packages they need installed in order to run (known as dependencies) or the additional software they provide upon installation.

Despite the name, RPM Seek is not limited to RPMs. Debian is one of the distros you can find packages for—Debian uses DEBs.

3. Debian Packages Search

Download DEBs from Debian Packages Search

Linux distributions maintain many computers filled with software that they distribute to other people. That’s where the name distribution (or distro) comes from. While we commonly access this software using a Linux app store, package manager, or the command line, you can also access them via a web browser.

Considering the DEB format was created for it, Debian is the largest distro that packages DEBs 12 Reasons Why You Should Choose Debian Linux Consider a Linux operating system but don't know which to choose? Well, as many distros are based on Debian, why not start there? Read More . Many alternatives are ultimately based on it. So Debian’s list of packages is a great place to look for software. You can download DEBs directly. This method isn’t recommended, as these DEBs often require that you have other DEBs already installed, but this fallback is here if you need it.

You aren’t limited to Debian’s site. You can check out Ubuntu Packages Search or Linux Mint’s packages page as well. Similarly, you can find RPMs on the Fedora Package Sources page.

4. RPM PBone Search

Download RPMs from RPM PBone Search

Looking for a more advanced searching tool to help you diagnose issues with your system? RPM PBone Search is a site designed for more thorough system analysis.

You can provide detailed search parameters that help you determine an RPM’s dependencies or what else might be missing. You can find RPMs based on the RPM’s changelog, summary, or description tags.

RPM PBone Search also empowers you to monitor the size of repositories themselves. You can see when Fedora, openSUSE, or other RPM-based distros add RPMs to their repos and view the full list of what those repos contain.

5. RPM Find

Download RPMs from RPM Find

Most of these search engines have some degree of style. There’s none of that for RPM Find. This is a site displaying simple plain text and basic HTML, so search results appear lightning fast.

For many people, webpage speeds don’t warrant much thought. Slow, bulky webpages load quickly when you have gigabit internet. But many of us are still awaiting access to basic forms of broadband. In that situation, the fewer things a browser has to load, the better.

True to its name, RPM Find is limited to RPMs.

6. Open Build Service

Download DEBs or RPMs from OpenSUSE Build Service

The Open Build Service is a place where anyone can compile and distribute packages for numerous distros and operating systems at one time. It streamlines the process so developers can focus on writing code rather than understanding the nuances between how Debian and Arch Linux distribute software.

Not only can you use the Open Build Service to build software, you can use it to find software as well. To do so, head over to build.opensuse.org.

Why openSUSE? That’s because the Open Build Service began as the openSUSE Build Service, and openSUSE continues to host a public version open for anyone to search for packages regardless of which distro they use (though much of the software is developed with openSUSE in mind).

7. RPM Fusion

Download RPMs from RPM Fusion

One thing people notice when they install Fedora is that this particular Linux distribution does not provide proprietary software. You won’t find closed source Nvidia graphics card or certain video codecs. If you want them, you have to look elsewhere.

That’s where RPM Fusion comes in. This is a third-party repository that has long existed for Fedora users in search of certain software excluded from the official Fedora repositories. If the RPMs you’re looking for are closed source or open source but not safe for a company like Red Hat (which sponsors Fedora) to redistribute, there’s a decent chance you will find them here.

8. Launchpad

Download DEBs or RPMs from Launchpad

Launchpad comes from Canonical, the same company that brings us the Ubuntu desktop. Launchpad is a website for developing and maintaining open source software. While Launchpad is primarily a tool for developers, it’s also a place where you can download packages.

Much of the software on Launchpad targets Ubuntu, so there are many DEBs available on the site. But you will have to search to find them. Many projects only provide downloads as compressed TAR.GZ files. On the flip side, some also provide RPMs.

Launchpad is not as widely used as it once was, so many of the projects here are now hosted elsewhere or abandoned. This is not the site I would check first, but it’s still worth keeping in mind for some apps.

Why Download a DEB or RPM?

Times have changed for Linux. DEBs and RPMs are no longer the go-to method to distribute apps that aren’t in a distro’s app store. But there are reasons to prefer these over other formats.

  1. Most of the software included in your distro is likely packaged as a DEB or RPM already.
  2. You can install, remove, or update software using a single method.
  3. These formats take up less space on your hard drive than the newer approaches.
  4. Currently, DEB or RPM versions open quicker.
  5. DEB and RPM versions offer more consistency. Sometimes newer formats ignore user themes, have different file dialog windows, etc.

While most distros use one of these two formats, that means there are also those that do not. Take for example Arch Linux and the many distros based on it.

If you don’t want to deal with hunting down a package specific to your distro, then maybe you want to go for a universal app format like Flatpak, Snap packages, or AppImage. That’s a big part of why they now exist. Between Flathub and the Snap Store Flathub vs. Snap Store: The Best Sites for Downloading Linux Apps When you want to download Linux apps, how do Flathub and Snap Store compare? We pit them against each other to find out. Read More , there’s a good chance the app you want is a single click or command away.

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  1. dragonmouth
    February 20, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    You make it sound like DEB and RPM are the only widely used package formats. What about Gentoo or Arch-based distros? The do not use either DEB or RPM. Neither have they used Flatpak, Snap or AppImage natively. Only lately have the developers been grafting on the use of "universal package formats".

    " universal app format like Flatpak, Snap packages, or AppImage"
    How can they be called "universal" if there are three of them? Prefix "uni" means "ONE", not three or more. When packages are released, are they released in all three formats or only in one or two? Are the packages released in .DEB and/or .RPM format?