automagic way to (re-)install all packages on a system?

Scott geekboy at
Thu Sep 20 07:16:09 UTC 2007

Jeff.Hodges at wrote:
> Here's a scenario..
> I'm wondering if there's an automagic way to re-install all packages that are 
> installed on a given "source" system -- e.g. have synaptic or aptitude write 
> out a file of a system's current set of installed packages, then be able to do 
> an ubuntu install on a new "target" system, say, and then feed that file to 
> synaptic/aptitude/whatever, and have all the packages that'd been installed on 
> the source system installed on the target system.
> I've poked thru the man pages and help files and maybe I missed it, but I 
> didn't see anything that looked like it unequivocally satisfied the above 
> scenario.
> Is there a (straightforward) way to do this?

You've got several options. Off the top of my head, these are two of them.:

The first is apt-mirror package (sudo apt-get install apt-mirror). With
it you can make a local mirror of all of the installed packages on your
system. You can then use it to install the same packages on a different
box.  I've not done it in a while, but I just burned the mirror I made
to DVD and then used the DVD as a source for my new install.

There is no single metapackage in this instance though.

But speaking of metapackages. - lately I've been using the aptoncd app
(sudo apt-get install aptoncd).  It will burn all of the packages in
your apt cache as well as any extras you select from elsewhere on your
system (say you downloaded a .deb file from some website) to a CD or DVD
(one or more as needed).

The only downside is that it's not going to include any packages that
you installed originally from a CD/DVD (i.e. a regular Ubuntu install
CD). There are ways around this though. In my case I started off by
installing Ubuntu from a netboot CD [1]. That way everything was in my
package cache.


BTW, that CD is on any Ubuntu mirror. I just used the main site as an
example. It's an 8.8MB file.

APTonCD is a cool app.  It's GNOME based. Check it out @

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