A Beautiful Frontend for Apt : Nala

You probably type it hundreds or even thousands of times. Apt. Why not make it more readable and functional with Nala.

Nala is an amazing add-on to any up-to-date Ubuntu/Debian distributions. It allows for your packages to be updated and shown to you in a much more readable manner. Nala also works on wsl2! Installation instructions are at the bottom of the post.

From within Nala itself, you can type nala show nala and we get the description:

(Nala is a) command line frontend for the apt package manager. It has a lot of the same functionality, but formats the output to be more human readable. Also implements a history function to see past transactions and undo/redo them. Much like Fedora’s dnf history.

From Nala Readme

Nala offers a great CLU user interface that just makes apt a little more like dnf in Debian. You can get much more detailed information about the packages that are to be installed or updated on your Linux system.

Not only that but Nala will check if your distro is either Debian or Ubuntu. Nala will then go get all the mirrors from the respective master list. Once done we test the latency and score each mirror.

Nala then will choose the fastest 3 mirrors (configurable) and write them to a file.

Another great feature is parallel downloads for your packages which speed things up massively especially if you have a lot of packages to update.

Installation

You can install Nala by downloading it from Gitlab.

# Insert the Scar repo
echo "deb http://deb.volian.org/volian/ scar main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/volian-archive-scar-unstable.list
# Download the public keys for the repo
wget -qO - https://deb.volian.org/volian/scar.key | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/volian-archive-scar-unstable.gpg > /dev/null
# Update and install nala
sudo apt update && sudo apt install nala

You can also install the Nala deb package by downloading the latest release from the releases page on Gitlab.

https://gitlab.com/volian/nala/-/releases or https://gitlab.com/volian/nala/uploads/286ad8c2ed5ac75d4371c0511ef164a7/nala_0.4.0_amd64.deb

Make sure to download the latest release.

Usage

Once installed you can use nala with:

# Displays Nala basic commands.
sudo nala -h
# Fetch and update to the fastest mirrors based on your location.
sudo nala fetch
# Update the packages on your system (essentially apt-get but Prettified)
sudo nala update
# Upgrade the system
nala upgrade
# Update package list with best mirrors then upgrade the system in one command
sudo nala fetch && sudo nala update && sudo nala upgrade -y

Overall Nala is a great addition for those that want a bit more speed, functionality and a beautiful interface when updating and upgrading packages.

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