Thursday, January 3, 2013

APTonCD – Create Backup of Any Installed Packages in Ubuntu

The most common method that is used to carry out installation of any sort of additional packages in Ubuntu is the apt-get. The apt-get following the name of the software package you specified to install, it searches for that particular software from the Internet and if found, apt-get downloads and installs it on your system. But there is a tool which allows you to install the download packages on your system without downloading. The tool named, APTonCd, which is a graphical tool that allows you to create one or more CDs or DVDs of all the packages that you’ve downloaded via apt-get and thus creates a removal repository that you can use on other computers with a single action. The main advantage of APTonCD is that you don’t have to download the packages again if you are doing a fresh installation on your or other systems. You can restore the previously installed programs easily. Let’s see how we can do this in Ubuntu.

First you have to install APTonCD.

You can install APTonCD from the Ubuntu Software Center.

                                         Fig1.Search APTonCD from Ubuntu Software Center

Or you can install it through your terminal. Run the following command:
         sudo apt-get install aptoncd
                  Fig2.Install APTonCD through terminal
Once installation is complete, you can launch it from the Dash.                             
                                                      Fig3.Launch APTonCD from Dash             
Backing up Packages:

After you launch it, you can see the following window. Click “Create” button to create a disc with your downloaded, cached deb packages on it. This copies packages from your APT cache located in the /var/cache/apt/archives/directory to the disc.
                                                Fig4.Starting screen to Create the backup.  
Next step is to select the packages which you would like to write to the disk. By default it selects all the packages but you can deselect them if you don’t want those packages to be written on the disc. And also you can add some additional packages you want by clicking the Add button.
                                                      Fig5.Selecting the packages.   

Once you have selected your packages then click the Burn button.

After you get a Window that allows you to select a CD or DVD image, give it a name and the location for the ISO image file, and select optionally create a meta-package.
                                          Fig6.Specifying the installation disc properties.
Click the Apply button and APTonCD will create an ISO image at the location you specified.                                               

                                                 Fig7.Creating the ISO image.

                                                      Fig8.Scanning the packages.

Once the image is created, you can have APTonCD launch a disc-burning application, Such as Brasero, to burn it to a disc immediately. You can burn the ISO image later also. And if you don’t have a disc drive, then there is nothing to worry, you can also save the ISO image as a file and you can transport it using a USB drive between computers.
                                                     Fig9.Burning the packages to the disc

Installing All Packages:
If you burnt the image to disc, you can insert it into your drive by opening it in a file manager window, and double-click the package named ”aptoncd-metapackage” to install it. This will install all packages available on the disc. The package will not be present if you didn’t have APTonCD create a meta-package.

                                                       Fig10.Selecting the aptoncd-metapackage.

If you have not burn into a disc and you have just an ISO image then you can mount it as a disc and install the packages from it.
Adding a Disc as a Repository:
The File -> Add CD/DVD option in APTonCD adds the disc to APT as a software source. The disc will be used as a repository in APT, so you can install packages from it using Synaptic, apt-get, or any other package management tools, even if you’re offline.
                                             Fig11.Adding CD or DVD as APT source.
Restoring Packages to Cache:
Before you click on the Load Button on the restore screen, you have to install the hal package on your system. To do so, run the following command:
                 sudo apt-get install hal
                   Fig12.Installing the hal packages.

Restart APTonCD after running this command and you’ll be able to restore packages by Restore button. You can restore packages to any of your system.
                                                       Fig13.Load the packages.
Use the Load button on the Restore screen to specify a disc drive or ISO image file.
                                                 Fig14.Selecting an ISO image.