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deb files are opening not installing

Started by nucman, January 25, 2024, 12:54:23 AM

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Hi all, I'm on about day 5 of using Sparky. When I first installed I am quite sure when I opened a .deb file in the GUI it prompted to install. Now when I open a .deb file it opens the file in ark and just shows the contents. I looked at file associations and I don't see any other apps that should be opening .deb.

I did some searching and found gdebi in the terminal and looked in the App repo and saw numerous gdebi tools, but if my original belief above is correct what I need is already installed. What is the correct app to be opening .deb files in the GUI to prompt to install?

edit: Using Sparky 8 with KDE.



I'm also pretty new to Sparky, so not sure if gdebi is the app you want or not, but it sounds like it could be. Here's one idea that might work for solving part / all of your problem with this type of thing (although whether it's available to you or not will likely depend on what window manager (WM) and/or desktop environment (DE) you're using):

Right-click on the DEB file and choose the option 'Open with...', then select the program you want to use to open it. If you want to make that program the default, click the box that corresponds to that choice before clicking on 'OK' or 'Open'. That will then open it with that program, and the next time you should be able to just double-click the DEB file and have it do the same thing.

If you're not seeing this option via a right-click on the DEB file and if you have some kind of a 'Start' or app menu, you could look in there for an entry called something like 'preferred apps', which might then bring up a GUI interface where you can change the default program for a particular file type. (If you don't have this either, then you can also do manual edits to whatever system file(s) control the mime types and the default apps associated with them [an online search should give you some info to help with that].)

The above is based on my experience with various Linux distros, mainly those based on Debian, and mainly with the Xfce DE, so the names of different settings, options, apps, etc. might be a bit different on your system, but hopefully they're intuitive enough for you to make the connections with what I've written and figure it out.

In the future, when you're looking for help on this or other similar forums, it would be good for you to mention what version of OS (i.e. Sparky here) you're using along with the WM and/or DE. You can use the command-line tool 'inxi' and its various options to generate general / specific / relevant information about your system that you can then copy from the terminal (Shift + Ctrl + C) and paste into your post here using the code markers for easier readability. (Hover over the icons above where you're writing till you see the one marked 'Code', click on that and it should give you code markers like this: "code""/code" except with bracket markers in place of the quote markers. Then just paste the inxi output from the terminal between the code markers so it will show up correctly [you can use the preview option to check it's working as expected].)


Thanks for the reply. I updated my post with my system settings. My primary question in regards to your suggestions is what GUI app should I be using to open deb files to install? When I right click and open with.. I get my list of installed apps but none seem to be correct. (gdebi is not listed as it's cli).

When I go to Default Apps in settings the only apps listed to open a deb file is Ark, which is just the decompression tool. Which is the app that is opening the deb [now]. I have two other deb files in my Downloads and they for sure just installed. So not sure what changed.


On my Linux Mint Debian Edition 6 (based on Debian 12, "Bookworm"), when I open a DEB file it opens a "GDebi Package Installer" GUI window that gives you the option to install, lets you check out what dependencies might be installed, etc. I'm pretty sure this is the 'gdebi' package you're referring to, which can be used in the terminal but is not limited to that (I confirmed this by a bit of a search on the web). I'm reasonably certain that this would work as the default app for the behavior that you already saw and are expecting. So you may want to check / confirm that it is actually currently installed. If it is, and it still doesn't show up in the right-click menu, see if there's an option in that same menu to create a custom command. If so, the command you would want to use is as follows:
gdebi-gtkNote that this is a Debian-based response, and I'm not sure if Sparky uses its own solution for this or not. You could browse the Sparky wiki section on package management (and perhaps other sections) to see if it mentions anything. In any case, I'm reasonably certain that gdebi would work if you want to use it.

I'm not exactly sure why it worked before for you but not now, but my best guess is that Sparky 8 may be a 'rolling' version, which would mean it's based on the current 'testing' version of Debian. If so, based on other comments on this forum, sometimes upgrades with this type of version can remove packages for some reason and then later they are made available again (probably related to trying to fix bugs, or perhaps potential conflicts with other packages, not sure). If this applies to your situation, you prefer something more stable, and you don't want / need to have the latest versions of software, then you may want to go with Sparky 7, which I think is based on the current 'stable' version of Debian. You can see the entry on code names in the Sparky wiki to see which Sparky versions are based on which Debian versions and then check out the pages to get details on the different versions, etc. There's also a fair amount of Q&A on versions in these forums if you want to search for something specific. Hope this helps you figure out a good solution for your setup.


Thank you again for your response. You led me down the correct path. I have gdebi-gtk on my system and I was able to manually browse to it, check the box to always open, and now running a deb file in the GUI works as I am expecting. It opens the package manager and offers to install. Definitely weird it changed/disappeared but you're probably right it's related to the rolling updates.

I mainly picked Sparky 8 because I'm using an Intel NUC11, which has been problematic with other Linux installs. I've gone back and forth between Windows and Linux on this device because I couldn't get Linux to work with the hardware as desired. Fortunately so far everything is working great for the most part so I'll stick with it. Thanks again!


You're welcome. :-) Glad to hear you got it working as expected, and also that Sparky 8 works with your device -- hopefully you won't have too many more 'surprises' like this and/or they won't take too much energy / time to resolve. :-)

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