PC-BSD® provides a unique file format known as a PBI (Push Button Installer). PBI files end with the .pbi extension and are self-contained installation programs. When a PBI is installed using AppCafe®, even novice users are protected from the risk of inadvertently overwriting or deleting files needed by the operating system or other applications.
A PBI file includes all the runtime and library dependencies required by the application. This means that the initial download of a PBI is a large file; but this does not necessarily mean that same amount of space will be used. During installation, the PBI system compares the currently installed libraries and files with the ones contained within the PBI file and only installs the ones that are not already installed on the system. A hash database is used to eliminate dependency problems while allowing the computer to share libraries between different programs. Subsequent downloads to upgrade a PBI are significantly smaller as only what has changed in the new version will be downloaded.
AppCafe® provides an intuitive, graphical method for installing and managing PBI software. AppCafe® does not require the root password to install software. This means that you do not have to give out the root password on multi-user systems. However, server applications, such as web servers or databases, will prompt for the user's password and will fail if that user is not a member of the wheel group. This allows you to control which users are able to install server software.
After a regular user installs an application, they have the option to install menu icons for all users, meaning that an application only needs to be installed once on a multi-user system.
If you prefer to install PBIs from the command line, see the section on using pbi_add.
Software installieren und verwalten
To install a PBI, start AppCafe® by double-clicking its icon on the Desktop, going to Kontrollzentrum → AppCafe®, or by typing appcafe from a command prompt. The "Browse for Apps" tab in AppCafe® can be used to browse for available software, as seen in Figure 7.1a. In the example shown in Figure 7.1a, 453 PBIs are currently available. The names and versions of the PBIs which were added or updated in the last 10 days are listed in the “View Recent Additions” pane.
If you know the name of the application you would like to install, type its name into the "Search Here" bar. Alternately, you can click on a software category (for example, "Archivers") to browse for available software. Use the home icon to return to the main screen. In the example shown in Figure 7.1b, the user searched for the "gimp" application.
In Figure 7.1c, the user has clicked on the "gimp" PBI and can now view the following information:
- Name und Symbol der Anwendung.
- Ein Link zur Website der Anwendung. In diesem Beispiel öffnet sich nach dem Anklicken von "The Gimp Team" die Seite gimp.org im voreingestellten Webbrowser.
- Ein "Jetzt installieren!"-Symbol. Wenn die Anwendung bereits installiert ist, wird entweder ein "Upgrade"-Symbol (wenn eine neuere Version verfügbar ist) oder ein "Downgrade"-Symbol (wenn die neueste Version schon installiert ist) ist, angezeigt.
- Die Version der Anwendung.
- Die Größe zum Herunterladen
- Die Systemplattform (i386 für 32-Bit-Anwendungen und amd64 für 64-Bit-Anwendungen). Ist nur eine 32-Bit-Version verfügbar, wird AppCafe® diese installieren und unter PC-BSD® wird weiterhin möglich sein, das Programm auszuführen.
- Die Lizenz unter der die Software steht.
- Der Typ zeigt an, ob die Anwendung eine Grafische oder Textversion (Kommandozeile) ist.
- Eine Beschreibung der Anwendung.
- Sofern verfügbar, eine Liste ähnlicher Anwendungen.
Once you find a PBI that you would like to install, click on its “Install Now!” icon. AppCafe® will switch focus to the "Installed" tab so that you can watch the status of the download and installation. Figure 7.1d shows a screenshot of this tab after “gimp” is successfully installed.
If you highlight an installed PBI and click the “Actions”button, the following actions become available:
- Update: if the “Status” column indicates that a newer version is available, click this action to upgrade to the newer version. Once clicked, it will change to a cancel button should you decide to cancel the operation while the new version is still being downloaded.
- Desktop Icons: used to add or remove a shortcut to the application on any installed and supported desktop (KDE4, LXDE, MATE, and XFCE4).
- Menu Icons: used to add or remove an entry for the application to the menu of any installed and supported desktop (KDE4, LXDE, MATE, and XFCE4). Menu icons can be for that user only or for all users. Adding for all users requires you to be in the wheel group and to input your password.
- Path Links: used to add or remove the command's location to your $PATH or to the $PATH of all users. Adding for all users requires you to be in the wheel group and to input your password. This option is useful if users will be starting the application from the command line.
- File Associations: installs any xdg-mime type file associations from the PBI. For example,*.odt files are associated with OpenOffice and LibreOffice.
- Uninstall: will uninstall the PBI. Once the PBI removal is complete, it will be removed from the Installed list.
- Cancel Actions: cancels any currently pending or running PBI operations such as uninstallation, updating, or installation.
The buttons in the “Application Details” can be used to:
- start the application; if the application has multiple start modes, such as graphical or command-line, a drop-down menu will provide the available ways to start the application
- Anwendung deinstallieren
- open the application's website in the default web browser
- have the application automatically update itself when a newer version is available. By default, this option is unchecked, meaning that AppCafe® will indicate when a new version is available in the "Status" column, but will wait for you to start the update.
Installierte PBIs aktualisieren
The "Status" column of the "Installed" tab will indicate if there are any newer versions available for the PBIs that you have installed. PBIs are created from the original FreeBSD package and automatically become available as an upgrade whenever the underlying package version changes. Figure 7.1e provides an example of a system that has a newer PBI version available.
In this example, a newer version is available for LibreOffice. Check the box for each PBI that you wish to update then click Actions ➜ Update. If any of the selected PBIs require administrative access, AppCafe® will prompt for your password before starting the upgrade.
A status bar will indicate the progress of the download and upgrade process. When the upgrade is complete, the entry will be updated to show the new version. The upgrade process will save all of the current version's settings. For example, when you upgrade Firefox, it will keep all of your bookmarks, history, and cache.
Importing and Exporting PBI Lists
PC-BSD® has the ability to import and export PBI lists. A PBI list is an ASCII text file that contains the names of PBIs (without a version number), one per line. An example is as follows:
thunderbird firefox qtcreator scite gimp pithos quassel ksnapshotopenjdk7
If you import a PBI list into AppCafe®, it will add those applications to the installation queue so that they can be installed. To do so, create the list and save it with a .pbilist extension. Then, go to File → Import PBI List and browse to the location of the list. A pop-up menu will ask if you would like to install the applications in the list. AppCafe® will ignore any invalid lines and PBIs which are already installed.
Alternately, if you export a PBI list on a system that already has PBIs installed, you can then import that list into another PC-BSD® system. To do so, click File → Export PBI List and save the file to the desired location. By default, it will be saved as exportfile.pbilist.
Figure 7.1f shows the screen that opens when you click Configure → AppCafe Settings.
Figure 7.1f: AppCafe® Settings Menu
The settings in the "Configuration" tab apply to all PBIs, whereas the settings in a highlighted application's "Actions" button only apply to that PBI. This tab adds an extra option to store a copy of the downloaded PBI. If you check this box, it will expand to let you select the directory to store the downloaded .pbi files. If you change a setting in the "Configuration" tab, it will not affect PBIs which are already installed.
Figure 7.1g shows the "Repositories" tab.
Figure 7.1g: Repositories Tab
By default, AppCafe® is configured to connect to the official PC-BSD® PBI repository which uses a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to provide the fastest possible download, regardless of geographic location.
If you have access to a custom PBI repository, click the “+” button next to "001 - Official PC-BSD Repository" to add the URL of the repository.
If you have created your own PBI repository, click the “+” button next to "PCBSDCDN" to browse to the location of your .rpo file.