Linux for CG – APT

APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) is a collection of tools to install and manage software packages on Debian and it’s various off shoots (for example Knoppix and Ubuntu). Much like installing software on other operating systems, a package can contain multiple executables (programs).

Some useful packages for CG work include..

In order to install these packages, these are the typical steps that one needs to go through.

Note that APT requires superuser (administrator) privileges which means you have to prefix the sudo command in front of the command. It’s likely if your an artist in a large CG studio that you won’t be a superuser, so these instructions only really apply if your wanting to setup linux at home or in a small studio environment.

The first thing you need to do is get an up-to-date list of all the available packages from the internet.

> sudo apt-get update

The next step is to search for the name of the packages your interested in. APT allows you to do simple word searches for packages

> sudo apt-cache search [package]

Once you’ve found the package your after…

> sudo apt-get install [package]
ie... sudo apt-get install openexr

If the package exists it will download and install the package on your computer, ready to go – no need to restart the computer. Although sometimes you may need to open a new shell in order to pick up any changes. Once that’s done you can upgrade any existing packages on your system by using…

> sudo apt-get upgrade

As an illustrated example, to install the openexr commands you’d run the following series of commands…

> sudo apt-get update
> sudo apt-cache search openexr
> sudo apt-get install openexr

To check if it’s installed the openexr commands correctly try run either exrmaketiled or exrstdattr on the command-line.