Newbie Question ... getting sources.

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at
Sun Oct 31 07:43:48 UTC 2010

My apologies if this is an FAQ... which it almost certainly is...
but would someone (anyone?) be kind enough to take me by the hand
and show me how to obtain sources for, e.g. a few of the "standard"
utilities programs that live in, like, /usr/bin ?  You know, like
"cat" and "man" and so forth.  (No, those actually _aren't_ the specific
sources that I want to look at, but close enough.)

I am completely new to Ubuntu, and still having a good deal of trouble
figuring out the basic lay-of-the-land as it were.  I mean there's
all these different versions (Meerkat, etc.), and then there's these
four different flavors, Main, Restricted, Universe, Multiverse, and
then, on top of all that, there's i386 and amd64 and... And then there's
"server", "desktop", and "notebook".   Oh yea, and then we have xUbuntu,
yUbuintu, and zUbuntu, just to make things even MORE interesting.  Whew!
(I seriously have no idea how you folks manage to keep this bewildering
proliferation of flavors and versions all straight.)

So anyway, I just want to download sources for the blue top bottom quark...
with charm (of course).

But seriously, any old (Linux/Ubuntu) sources for any flavor hardware will
do just fine, I think, as long as they are reasonably recent.  And I don't
need anything obscure... just sources for stuff that's likely to appear in
/bin and/or /usr/bin even on/in a stripped-down distribution.

Oh, and ah, I'm still not quite down with this "apt" thing, so if anybody
could explain that to me in, you know, like 200 words or less, I'd
greatly appreciate it.  (Please don't throw rocks at me but, ah, actually,
I'm pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool FreeBSD man myself.  So I was, you
know, sorta hoping that I could just find a set of /usr/bin sources
(for Ubuntu) all wrapped up pretty in a good old plain .tar.gz file that
I could just FTP down to my FreeBSD machine.  But you know, I searched
for about an hour for such a thing and finally had to just give up, cuz
if such a thing is out there, then it is damn well hidden.

Thanks in advance for any pointers or help.


P.S.  I just built and installed the FreeBSD port of "apt", so guess I
can now use that to get "apt" thingies down to my FreeBSD box.  But the
question remains... What would I do with one, even if I got one?  I have
no idea how to unpack one of those things to get at the goodies inside.

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