How to Install DEB Packages on Arch Linux

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DEB packages are targeted for installation on Debian-based computers. But it doesn’t imply you can’t install similar programs on your Arch Linux machine.

Many popular apps are only accessible under Linux as a DEB package, which is the only way to get them. Especially if you have recently switched to Arch Linux and are unclear how to install your favorite apps, this might be a source of anxiety.

DEB files are essential to the operation of Debian or Ubuntu-based variants. You may, however, still install them on your Arch-based system via a variety of methods. Let’s have a look at the many methods of installing DEB files on Arch Linux.

What Is a DEB File?

If you have a DEB or “.deb” file, it is simply an archive containing scripts, configuration files, and other data necessary to install a software on a computer. DEB files are designed particularly for usage on Debian or Debian-based desktop operating systems, such as Pop! OS, Ubuntu, and MX Linux, to mention a few examples of such systems.

If you are coming from a Windows environment, you may think about DEB files in the same way that you would think of a Windows executable file (EXE).

While installing a DEB package on Arch Linux may not be as straightforward as executing a Windows executable, it is by no means a difficult task to complete. The installation process is rather uncomplicated, and the instructions are simple to comprehend.

1. Install the Program From the AUR

The Arch User Repository, often known as AUR, is the single largest software library available across all Linux variants. If you are unable to locate an officially supported package for Arch Linux, the AUR is the first place you should go before proceeding to any other source.

Despite the fact that this will not assist you in installing a DEB file, the odds are good that you will be able to discover an Arch compatible package for the applications you want.

AUR packages can be installed manually or via the use of an AUR assistant. We’ll propose that you utilize yay, which is a well-known and simple-to-use AUR aid, instead. To get started, simply search for the package name using the yes keyword:

yay search_term

yay will list out all the necessary packages. Copy the right package name and install it by running:

yay -S package_name

This should result in the program being successfully installed on your Arch Linux machine. Check out this guide on how to handle packages with yay if you want to learn more about yay in general.

2. Install DEB Packages on Arch Linux With Debtap

How to Install DEB Packages on Arch Linux With Debtap

If you cannot discover an option in the AUR, you should choose for Debtap. It is a command-line utility that transforms a Debian package into an Arch compliant package.

Debtap gets the job done for the most part, but you should still continue with some caution as incompatible upgrades to the package may destroy its functioning.

Installing Debtap on Arch Linux

To install Debtap, open a terminal window and run the following command to install it using an AUR helper:

yay -S debtap

Move into the directory of the DEB file using the cd command and use Debtap to start converting the package.

cd ~/Downloads
debtap yourfile.deb

Debtap will generate a “yourfile.zst” file that you can simply install using your package manager, in this example, pacman.

sudo pacman -U yourfile.zst

This should install the package on your Arch Linux computer.

3. Manually Install DEB Packages on Arch

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, you can manually extract the DEB package and place the contents inside the appropriate directories.

Warning :
Before you go any further, understand that this is not the recommended approach to install DEB packages. Only resort to this strategy if all the options fail.

This strategy is agnostic of the platform, meaning you may apply this method across all distributions, Arch Linux or not.

Extracting a DEB Package

Extracting a DEB Package

Start started by using the ar command to extract the .deb file into a folder.

ar x /path/to/file

Then, navigate into the folder and extract the tarballs with the tar command.

tar xvf control.tar.gz
tar xvf data.tar.gz

You will notice three new folders: etc, opt, and usr. Copy the material inside these folders into the relevant directories. For instance, transfer the contents of the etc folder into the /etc directory of your system and do the same for the remainder correspondingly.

sudo cp ./etc/* /etc/
sudo cp ./opt/* /opt/
sudo cp ./usr/* /usr/

Running the Program

Once all the files have been placed where they go, you may execute the shell script within the /usr/bin folder to launch the program. For simplicity of usage, consider creating a desktop shortcut to start this software.

This is a rather laborious process and one that will not work a hundred percent of the time, which is why we urge you desist from manual installation and regard it as a last-ditch try.

Now You Can Install DEB Packages on Arch Linux

You may install Debian packages on Arch Linux. However, a package not naturally built for Arch Linux might typically break over time when it is upgraded.

With a bleeding-edge distribution, all it might take sometimes is one defective package for the entire system to come apart. It’s a necessary habit to constantly search for faulty packages, patch them, and update the package list of your Linux system.

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