Apt-urls – Now available on the Ubuntu wiki

Good news on the wiki front. :-) As of this morning, apt-urls are enabled on the Ubuntu Wiki. What does this mean? In simple terms, this feature provides a simple, wiki-based interface for apt, the base of our software management system. It means that we can now insert clickable links on the wiki that can prompt users to install software from the Ubuntu repositories. How cool is that?

How can you use this new feature? Here is an example of how you could use it in the wiki. In this example, we’ll look at installing the xubuntu-artwork package:

If you are an Ubuntu user who wants to use the stylish Xubuntu artwork on your system, just install the xubuntu-artwork package.

Of course, the end user just sees:

``"If you are an Ubuntu user who wants to use the stylish Xubuntu artwork on your system, just install the "xubuntu-artwork" package." ``

(If you are a Firefox user on Ubuntu, you will also note that the link I’ve provided here works, too. This is because Firefox also allows apt-urls to work in regular web pages.)

After clicking on the link, the user would then be prompted to choose whether or not he or she wants to install the package. If they select yes, they are prompted to enter their password, and the system installs their software. Easy enough!

Because it is using apt, it is relying on the user’s configured set of Ubuntu repositories. (Note: if a user is using a PPA or another software repository, those software sources would also be available.) The installed packages can still be uninstalled via any of the regular software maintenance tools (e.g., synaptic, apt-get, add-remove programs, etc.) In this manner, it doesn’t introduce new tools, it just provides a great new way of interfacing with them.

So … wiki editors … I now call on you to go forth and make good use of this new feature. :-) Let’s start using apt-urls in our wiki documentation.

Thanks to the Canonical system administrators for putting this in place, and to Matthew East for following up on the support ticket.