Is there a good practise for keeping deb files outside of an apt repo up to date?

There are some applications that aren’t in the standard repo, and don’t provide their own (ppa) repository. The only way to download it is via an url, like or

It wouldn’t be that hard to create a script to check these periodically, but it would be nice if they were included in commands like apt update, by adding them in sources.list or anything similar.

Asked By: tygo


Good practices for non-repository deb-packaged software:

  • Check for updates monthly. Weekly for web browsers. Mark your calendar.

  • If the software is also available from the Ubuntu repositories, pick one and stick to it. Don’t switch back and forth. That’s how you break your system.

    Upstream newer software often has newer features. But it might also have dependencies that are incompatible with your system. Repository software is tested to be compatible with your release of Ubuntu, but might be an older version.

  • Before a release-upgrade (like migrating from 20.04 to 22.04), return your system to as close to stock condition as possible. This includes uninstalling all your non-repository debs. Reinstall the packages after the release-upgrade is complete.

    The #1 cause of failed release-upgrades is incompatible package versions from exotic places outside the Ubuntu repositories.

  • Know the reason why your software isn’t in the Debian and Ubuntu repos. Maybe it cannot meet Debian’s quality standards. Maybe the developers just don’t understand Linux enough. Maybe it’s proprietary software. Maybe the contributing community is too small to do the packaging.

    The reason matters: It affects software quality, the support you can expect to receive, and your opportunities to contribute. Debian figured out 25 years ago how to provide great software and great support using 100% volunteers, and thousands of great Open Source projects use it for precisely those reasons.

Answered By: user535733
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