Add ubuntu ppa repository to Debian 7 wheezy

Launchpad ppa

On ubuntu, lots of software can be installed from the launchpad ppa repository. The repository url has to be added to the apt sources list on ubuntu and then the software can be installed from the package manager like synaptic. However for Debian there is no such ppa repository. But since ubuntu is based on Debian and uses the same apt based package management system, in many cases its possible to use the ubuntu ppa repositories in debian directly.

Debian 7

On debian 7 the add-apt-repository command is available and can be used to add any launchpad ppa repository in a single command.

# add-apt-repository 'deb quantal main'

The section titled 'Technical details about this PPA' will contain the deb urls for the given ppa repository.
The ppa shown above can be found at

Older debian versions

On older versions of debian, if the add-apt-repository command is not available, the the repository can be added by manually editing the /etc/apt/sources.list file and adding the key with apt-key.

Step 1

First import the key using the apt-key command

# sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 685D1580

The key can be found on the launchpad website under the section titled 'Technical details about this PPA'.

Signing key:
1024R/685D1580 (What is this?)


Check the signing key portion after the forward slash. That is the key to use in the apt-key command.

Step 2

Next, add the deb line to /etc/apt/sources.list at the end

# echo 'deb quantal main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list

Update cache

Now update the apt cache and get the new softwares listed in synaptic.

# apt-get update

Last Updated On : 30th June 2013

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About Silver Moon

Php developer, blogger and Linux enthusiast.
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5 Comments + Add Comment

  • You not need to add first apt-get install software-properties-common python-software-properties?

    I read here:

  • How do we remove a ppa in Debian 7(.7) ?

  • thx about your information

  • I tryied to add this “ppa:gregory-hainaut/pcsx2.official.ppa” to my Debian sid laptop. Whiteout success. My command locked like this :sudo add-apt-repository http://ppa:gregory-hainaut/pcsx2.official.ppa

    It added the ppa to my sources.list but it was invalid and I got an error when apt-get update. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Maybe it’s the quotes? I just successfully added a repository and if I try to add it without the quotes it also gives an error: “Error: need a repository as argument”

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