Installing applications

One of the major strengths of the Maemo platform is its expandability. There are all sorts of 3rd party applications and packages available to users, and a variety of ways to get a hold of these packages and install them.

DISCLAIMER: installing anything outside out of the box -repositories, official or websites or extras can break your device. If you still want to install something outside, please read Updating the firmware -article through and be sure you can do the operations necessary to reflash the device just in case something goes wrong!


[edit] Repositories

The preferred method for installing most packages is from repositories through the Application manager. The primary (and recommended) repository for most of these packages is Extras. Once a repository is added to your application catalog in Application manager, you will see the packages from that repository listed in Application manager's package list and can install them directly from there.

[edit] .installs

.install files are provided in many places as a way to install applications directly from the browser using Application manager. Downloads is a good example of this (the green arrows are .install files). Most of these .installs simply tell the Application manager to grab a package from a certain repository, and can automatically add repositories to your application catalog if required.

[edit] .debs

.deb (short for Debian) is the package format used by Maemo. .deb packages are roughly analogous to OS X's .pkg or Windows' .exe/.msi installers. .debs are how almost all packages are delivered, but you usually don't deal with them directly, except when installing locally. Some packages are simply not distributed through repositories, or offered separately as .debs (which you may prefer for whatever reason).

You can install .debs by opening them from the browser, or opening local copies with Application manager. The major disadvantage to installing .debs locally as opposed to installing from a repository is that you wont be automatically notified of updates to the package. Also dependency installation is not automatic.

[edit] Console

apt and dpkg are the tools for managing packages from the console. These can be used locally through XTerm or remotely through SSH.

If you have no idea where your deb lies at the filesystem, please see article N900 filesystem for help.

[edit] apt

apt generally deals with installing packages from repositories. This requires Root access. You can install packages from your repositories by running

apt-get install <package name>

and apt will attempt to fetch the .deb and all of its dependencies and install them. You can then remove packages by running

apt-get remove <package name>

This won't cancel the package configuration files, though. If you want to remove packages including their configuration files (i.e. because you suspect they are damaged), run

apt-get purge <package name>

To search the available packages from your repositories, simply run

apt-cache search <search string> 

and it will display a list of matching packages.

[edit] dpkg

dpkg is generally used for installing local .deb files directly, which can be done by running:

dpkg -i <local .deb> 

with a local .deb.

Note: full path must be given. For example:

dpkg -i /home/user/MyDocs/sample.deb

if the deb lies at the root of Nokia N900 when viewed with file manager. See article N900 filesystem for further assistance.

[edit] Troubleshooting

There are a variety of ways the application installation process can fail, only the common ones are outlined here. Application manager keeps a log of recent activity that's available in the menu (Menu -> Tools -> Log...) which may help you in diagnosing problems.

Unable to download 
Typically, when the Application manager instantly complains about not being able to download when you attempt to install applications, this means that your internal flash card is corrupt and set to read-only. This can be fixed by fixing whatever is wrong with the internal card (likely a corrupt filesystem).

[edit] Individual instructions

There is a wiki page for individual instructions. It is called Unusual install instructions. There should be found instructions to every other piece of software that can't be installed by app manager or means above. If the article lacks instructions for some software, please contact the author and ask him to write instructions to wiki and link them to the Unusual install instructions -page.

[edit] Application list

There is an application list that lists every application that has a wiki page. That could be useful.