How-to Install Openoffice2 on Debian Stable

You are running Debian stable, because you prefer the stable Debian tree. It runs great, there is just one problem: the software is a little bit outdated compared to other distributions. That is where backports come in.

This was something that caused me a great amount of trouble in the past, I worked out how to do this and then the backports site changed shortly afterwards. Now it is fairly simple if you can follow the correct instructions.

You have to follow the instructions link on backports, it’s important not to click on the HOWTO link, because this leads to a blank page, you will then wrongly conclude you aren’t going to find any help.

Using backports.org is very simple:

1. Add this line

deb http://www.backports.org/debian sarge-backports main contrib non-free

to your /etc/apt/sources.list.

2. Run apt-get update

3. All backports are deactivated by default. If you want to install something from backports run:

apt-get -t sarge-backports install “package”

This is a lot better than the previous solution which required the use of pinning for each package you wanted to select, this seemed a lot of bother compared to the usual use of dselect. There are instructions on use of pinning on the backports site.

Now that we know how to install a package, the only problem left is to work out the name of the package that provides openoffice2.

I managed to work out this from reading the Contents of the backports repository in my browser. For i386 architecture this can be done by looking inside this file: http://backports.org/debian/dists/sarge-backports/Contents-i386.gz
The other option is to try and guess the name of the package. 🙂

I should have been able to guess the package name was openoffice.org-common. Which I installed apt-get -t sarge-backports install openoffice.org-common

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