Nala: A Beautiful and Structured Frontend for the APT Command

Do you still ignore the required dependencies and autoremove packages while installing the new application on Linux?

Initially, you take note of application dependencies and package going to wipe out from your system, but with time, we procrastinate due to the ugly interface of the apt command.

Nala frontend for apt command, remove that limitation, and provide you with a beautiful, clean, and structured list of packages and dependencies while installing new packages on your Linux system.

Features

  • Clean and Structed Frontend
  • Parallel Download Support
  • Auto fetch mirrors repositories from the respective master list
  • Store Install, Remove, and Upgrade in History with Unique ID
  • Rollback to previous Installation using Unique ID.

Install Nala on Linux

Multiple Linux installations for amd64, arm64, and armhf packages are available for Nala. Currently, Nala is unavailable within repositories, but you can follow the below-listed method to install it on your system.

Method 1: Adding Custom Repositories [Recommended]

Open your terminal and copy-paste the below command to add Volian Scar repositories in your system, including the Nala package.

echo "deb [arch=amd64,arm64,armhf] http://deb.volian.org/volian/ scar main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/volian-archive-scar-unstable.list

Next, add the GPG key for verification, as shown below.

wget -qO - https://deb.volian.org/volian/scar.key | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/volian-archive-scar-unstable.gpg > /dev/null

Now update and install the Nala package manager in your system using the below command.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install nala -y

Method 2: Debian Package

You can also download the “deb” package and install it locally without an internet connection using the apt or dpkg command as shown below.

$ sudo apt install nala_version_arch.deb
#OR
$ sudo dpkg -i nala_version_arch.deb

To download the package, you can head over to the Releases page.

Usage

The apt and Nala are pretty the same, and if you are familiar with the apt command, you can easily handle and utilize the Nala package manager.

Updating & Upgrading system

You can easily update your system using the same apt method by replacing apt with Nala package manager, as shown below.

$ sudo nala update && sudo nala upgrade

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Updating & Upgrade System packages using Nala package manager
Updating & Upgrade System packages using Nala package manager

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Installing Package using Nala

Any standard package available in the repository can be easily installed using the Nala package manager below the command install terminator in your Linux system (ex: Ubuntu).

$ sudo nala install terminator

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Installing package using Nala package manager
Installing Package using Nala

Removing Package using Nala

To remove any package, you can use the remove or purge command depending on whether you want to keep configuration files.

In my case, I want to remove binary files without removing the configuration file of the terminator, using the below command.

$ sudo nala remove terminator

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Removing package using Nala package manager
Removing package using Nala package manager

Fetching all mirrors repositories respective to the master list

Fetch command first the identity Linux distribution is whether Debian or Ubuntu and then fetch all the mirrors repositories respective to the master list.

Nala auto-detects the fastest mirror and uses that to download packages on your system; use the below command.

$ sudo nala fetch

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Fetching all mirrors repositories respective to the master list
Fetching all mirrors repositories respective to the master list

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Nala History Command

Nala history command stores system activity related to Install, Remove and Upgrade with Unique ID in the history located at “/var/lib/nala/history.json” in your system.

$ nala history

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Nala History Command
Nala History Command

To get information such as package and dependence used while specific command in the history, use info command along with the ID as shown below.

$ nala history info 4

Below is the behavior of the above command.

Checking info of the history command
Checking info of the history command

To rollback/undo the system with a specific command state using undo command along with ID as shown below.

$ sudo nala history undo 4

Right now, undo command is only supported for the install command.

Wrap Up

You can find more information about Nala on the project’s GitLab page.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. InnocentBystander

    Thank you very much for this excellent apt frontend. I am hesitant. This is giving sudo privilege to an utility which is not officially endorsed by Debian. May I have your opinion on this?

    1. Jake Redfield

      Nala is an extension to apt command, Feel free to use the sudo command with it.

  2. Butch

    I think Nala is a great extention to the apt command. I also think Blake is very helpful when you need help or assistance. I use it with fish and it runs very well and coloring of letters is very nice looking and easy on your eyes.

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