Use GDebi As Default Package Installer In Ubuntu

Make Gdebi default in Ubuntu

If you use Ubuntu or Ubuntu based Linux distribution such as Elementary OS Freya, you might be using Ubuntu Software Center to install .deb executable files. Ubuntu Software Center is a nice application for finding and installing apps but it is resource heavy and slow. This is why I prefer using App Grid, a lighter alternative of Ubuntu Software Center.

Now, if you just trying to install a .deb file, I would not recommend either of Ubuntu Software Center or App Grid. I suggest GDebi, a dedicated program for installing Debian executable files. It is extremely lightweight and focused on installing .deb files. Best thing about GDebi is that it also shows the dependencies that will be installed along with the desired program.

In this post we shall see how to install GDebi and use it as the default installer instead of Ubuntu Software Center.

Install GDebi in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

Open a terminal and use the following command:

sudo apt-get install gdebi

Make GDebi default for .deb installation

Once you have installed GDebi, it’s time to see how to make it the default application for installing .deb files. Please note that I am using Elementary OS Freya in this tutorial but the steps are applicable to all Ubuntu based distribution. Just the screenshots may look different.

Download a .deb file first. Let’s say you have downloaded Google Chrome. Go to the download directory and right click on the .deb file. In here, go to properties.

Make GDebi default in Ubuntu Linux

In the properties, you should see the option of open with. Click on it and change it to GDebi.

Make GDebi default instead of Ubuntu Software Center

Next time you double click on a .deb file, it will automatically open GDebi to install the .deb file. Indeed using such light applications is a good way to speed up Ubuntu or other Linux systems.

Suggested read
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What do you say? You still prefer Ubuntu Software Center for application installation or GDebi? Or if you are old school, Synaptic Package Manager perhaps? Which one is your favorite?


  1. No way. Good article but doesn”t work for me: the GDebi program doesn’t show on open with tab.
    Any ideas, please?

    • This can be used for any application, just correct the name .desktop

      gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/gedit.desktop

      (Note that the .desktop files should be in /usr/share/applications, but if not will be in ~/.local/share/applications, so change the path accordingly if you need to. Also, if you cannot correctly guess the .desktop file’s name, you can get the correct name by going to the folder and browsing for it).

      [Desktop Entry]
      Name=Text Editor
      Comment=Edit text files
      X-GNOME-FullName=Text Editor

      Find the Exec= line and you will see the command listed after it. Simply go to the end of the line, hit the spacebar, and add %f, so the line looks like:

      Exec=gedit %f

      (Once again, substitute your command’s name for gedit).

      Simply save the file when exiting, and you shouldn’t even need to restart Nautilus, let alone log out or totally reboot. You should immediately see the desired program in the list of apps presented in Other Application…, and once you open a file with it, the app should be easily accessible in the list of secondary programs found in Open With.

  2. If it handles dependencies better than software center, I will give it a try. I want to install the new version of Gnumeric – an old one is found in synaptic package manager.

  3. Hi. I prefer for “standalon” debs: gdebi. Everything else synaptic or terminal :) U.S.C. is “too much” for me.

  4. Hi, I Love your article called “how to create a bootable ubuntu usb driver for mac”. It complete all of the details. But I am waiting for your next article about how to dual boot Ubuntu with mac. I search this topic from Google and I found that there will be lack of a lot of details. Hope you can help me


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