Download Packages With Windows

Editor’s note: This tutorial was originally posted on the Ubuntu Forums. Due to recent forum policy change, and the probably unsuitability of the how-to for the Ubuntu wiki, I’ve reposted it and will maintain it here. Wassail is such a simple program that it’s status can be considered stable; I have not made any changes to the code since its first release. This is not to say that I have or will abandon the project, but that it should continue to work indefinitely with minimal maintenance on my part.

Download Packages With Windows

It’s commonly known how to download programs (and dependencies) for an offline computer with an online machine running Ubuntu, but what if your only access to the internet is through Windows?

You can still do it! I’ve written a small program in VB.Net that should run on any Windows computer. It takes a user-specified download script and downloads the files just the same as Ubuntu would.
You can download this program on SourceForge here. It’s available as a zipped .exe, or you can download the entire source code from the same site and compile it yourself if you prefer.
Though I wrote this tutorial for Ubuntu, it should work on any Debian or RPM based distribution able to run Synaptic.

1. On offline Ubuntu machine: Open a terminal with Control+Alt+t and type

synaptic

This will open up the Synaptic Package manager. You can browse available software in the column on the far left, or if you know specifically what you’re looking for, type it into the search box.
When you find the software you want to install, right click it and select “Mark for Installation”. If a dialog comes up “Mark Additional Required Changes” select Mark. This will ensure that all the packages required for the selected software get installed as well.

2. Once you’ve picked your software, go to File>Generate Package Download Script. Save the script to its own folder (call the folder “packages”) on a USB flash drive or some other portable media. You can name the script whatever you want, but for clarity we’ll assume you named it “download”.
The Package Download Script is just a little text file that will tell your online computer which packages to download, so you can transfer them to the offline computer.

3. Take the flash drive to your online Windows computer. Download Wassail and extract the .exe program file from the .zip into the same “packages” folder.

NOTE: If when you try to run Wassail it returns an error message saying that the .NET framework is not installed, it’s easily fixed. You can download .NET 4.0 for free at here.

4.Double click the Wassail.exe and press the “Select Download Script” button. Find and select your script.

This will download the packages to the “packages” folder. If you open the folder in a file manager you’ll see one or more files with the extension .deb. These are the software package files.

Wassail will return a message of “Done!” when it is complete. Be patient! Some package files can be quite large.

5. Copy the “packages” folder containing the .deb files to the /home folder of the offline Ubuntu computer.

6. Open up a terminal on the offline computer and type

sudo dpkg -iR packages

You’ll be prompted for your administrator password, which will be the same as your user login password. Enter it and Ubuntu will install your software!

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