Maemo 5: FAQ & Tips

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Can I install standalone .deb files?

The main (and recommended) way to install software on your Maemo 5 device is from software repositories like e.g. the "official" Extras, Extras-Testing or Extras-Devel repos, using the built-in Application Manager.

However, sometimes you can encounter packages made available for download as standalone .deb files. This is often the case with software at very early development stage, before it even gets uploaded to Extras-Devel. Such standalone .deb packages can also be installed and used, if you only accept to install a package not guaranteed for quality/stability and/or of unknown origin. Of course, there is no rule that such a standalone .deb package HAS TO be unstable or insecure, it's just that you should be aware of some POSSIBLE risks involved with installing such a package.

On pre-PR1.1 firmware versions the Application Manager supported the so-called Red Pill Mode which, among others, offered an "Install from file" function. Starting from PR1.1 firmware version the Red Pill Mode is no longer supported, but there are still several ways to install standalone .deb files.

Along with removal of the aforementioned "Red Pill Mode", the Application Manager has been made to recognize the MIME type and extension of a .deb file, so that it automatically opens and starts the installation once you click a .deb file (either stored locally or downloadable via a link in the web browser). Therefore, you can simply tap on a .deb file saved on your device, or click a link to a .deb file in the browser, and the Application Manager will attempt to install it.

In some cases, the Application Manager will complain about the format of the .deb file being incorrect and refuse to install it. In such case, you can try another method: open the X-Terminal, type sudo gainroot to get administrative priviledges (this requires the rootsh package to be installed in your system) and then type dpkg -i [path to your file] (e.g. dpkg -i /home/user/MyDocs/somedebfile.deb) to install it.

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