Debian applications installation


This page gives the packages I install on my Debian GNU/Linux machines just after the base installation and in my first Openbox session.

Some packages I install are not mentioned here because I have written dedicated pages for them. Please see the home page.


As root:

apt-get install \
    firefox-esr midori \
    grip \
    webext-ublock-origin \
    w3m \
    chromium \
    smartmontools \
    fonts-inconsolata \
    ccrypt \
    rsync \
    zip unzip \
    vorbis-tools \
    alsa-utils \
    moc \
    cdtool \
    cdparanoia \
    cdrskin \
    wodim \
    genisoimage \
    vlc \
    ffmpeg \
    sox \
    wkhtmltopdf \
    default-jre default-jdk \
    taskwarrior \
    gcal \
    gftp \
    dlume \
    xpdf \
    evince \
    catdoc \
    octave \
    gnat libaunit18-dev gnat-gps \
    ada-reference-manual-2012 \
    libxmlada-dom8-dev libxmlada-input8-dev libxmlada-sax8-dev \
    libxmlada-schema8-dev libxmlada-unicode8-dev \
    libgtkada-bin libgtkada-doc libgtkada18 libgtkada18-dev \
    valgrind \
    lcov \
    libncurses5 \
    libb-lint-perl \
    gimp jhead imagemagick \
    libimage-exiftool-perl \
    xsane \
    xzgv \
    rawtherapee \
    irssi \
    pan \
    claws-mail \
    claws-mail-themes \
    vim \
    ifp-line-libifp \
    unaccent \
    psmisc \
    sudo \
    pwgen \
    time \
    tree \
    openconnect \
    freerdp2-x11 \
    wireshark \
    tcpdump \
    nmap \
    openssh-server \
    colortest \
    mesa-utils \
    lm-sensors \
    zbar-tools \
    hexedit \
    sakura # As root.
firefox-esr, midori Graphical Web browsers
grip Server application to render local markdown files
webext-ublock-origin Ads, malware, trackers blocker
w3m Text-based Web browser
chromium Graphical Web browser
smartmontools Storage systems control and monitoring tools using S.M.A.R.T. (see this good smartmontools tutorial by Random Bits)
fonts-inconsolata Monospace font
ccrypt Encryption and decryption tool
rsync File-copying tool
zip, unzip Archiver and de-archiver for .zip files
vorbis-tools ogg123, vorbiscomment, …
alsa-utils amixer, alsamixer, …
moc Music On Console
cdtool Includes cdown (CD tracks info extraction)
cdparanoia CD ripper
cdrskin, wodim CD writing tools
genisoimage ISO-9660 CD-ROM filesystem images creation
vlc Multimedia player
ffmpeg Multimedia files transcoding, playing, …
sox Audio files manipulation programs
wkhtmltopdf HTML to PDF conversion tool
default-jre, default-jdk Java runtime, Java development kit
taskwarrior Console based todo list manager
gcal Calendar program
gftp FTP client
dlume Address book
xpdf PDF reader
evince Document viewer (can fill in forms in PDF files)
catdoc Text extractor for MS-Office files
octave GNU Octave language (similar to Matlab)
gnat, libaunit18-dev, gnat-gps Ada programming tools
ada-reference-manual-2012 Ada 2012 reference manual
libxmlada-dom8-dev libxmlada-input8-dev libxmlada-sax8-dev libxmlada-schema8-dev libxmlada-unicode8-dev libgtkada-bin libgtkada-doc libgtkada18 libgtkada18-dev Ada libraries (XML/Ada and GtkAda)
valgrind Program profiling tools
lcov Test coverage report generation tools
libncurses5 Libraries for terminal handling (legacy version), needed to run GNAT Programming Studio as provided with GNAT Community 2018 and 2019.
libb-lint-perl Perl code checker
gimp, jhead, imagemagick Image manipulation programs
libimage-exiftool-perl Includes exiftool (image metadata extraction)
xsane Frontend for SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy), includes Gimp plugin
xzgv Image viewer
rawtherapee Raw image converter
irssi IRC client
pan Usenet newsreader
claws-mail Mail client (MH mailbox format)
claws-mail-themes Claws Mail themes
vim Vim text editor
ifp-line-libifp Tool to access iRiver iFP audio players
unaccent Tool to replace accented letters by unaccented equivalent
psmisc killall, …
sudo Privilege escalation
pwgen Password generator
time CPU resource usage measurement
tree Indented directory listing tool
openconnect Client for GlobalProtect VPN (among others)
freerdp2-x11 X11 based Remote Desktop Protocol client (On Debian Buster, I have to append options /relax-order-checks and +glyph-cache to the xfreerdp command line. See My command line is like: xfreerdp +glyph-cache /relax-order-checks /u:my_user_name /v:my.server /kbd:0x40c /f)
wireshark Graphical network traffic analyzer
tcpdump Command-line network traffic analyzer
nmap Network mapper
openssh-server Secure shell (SSH) server
colortest Terminal color test graphs
mesa-utils glxgears and other programs
lm-sensors Utilities to read temperature/voltage/fan sensors (Run sensors-detect as root to configure and sensors to view a readout of the sensors.)
zbar-tools Bar code / QR-code related utilities
hexedit Hexadecimal editor
sakura Terminal emulator

Configuration, preferences

Firefox ESR

At about:config, set the following options to true:

  • browser.sessionstore.warnOnQuit
  • browser.tabs.warnOnClose
  • browser.tabs.warnOnCloseOtherTabs
  • browser.warnOnQuit

At about:preferences#search, set DuckDuckGo as default search engine.

At about:preferences#privacy, uncheck “Ask to save logins and passwords for websites”.


In Settings | Search engines, set DuckDuckGo as the search engine used in the adress bar.

In Settings | Autofill | Passwords, disable “Offer to save passwords” and “Auto sign-in”.


Set personal information (real name, user name, nickname) in ~/.irssi/config.

Many Irssi themes are available. I chose the rolle theme.

To install and use the theme, just copy the theme file to ~/.irssi and issue a /SET theme <theme_name> command in Irssi.

Claws Mail

Setup MH directory properly, restore files ~/.claws-mail/accountrc and .signature, and directory ~/.claws-mail/addrbook.

In Preferences, Themes: orbit-claws.

In Preferences, Other, Miscellaneous: Confirm on exit.

In Preferences, Message View, External Programs: Uncheck “Use system defaults when possible”. Enter external programs as follows:

  • Web browser: firefox ‘%s’
  • Text editor: gvim ‘%s’
  • Command for ‘Display as text’: gvim ‘%s’


In Edit News Servers, add a news server. I use, with my Free E-Mail login. This works even when connecting through an ISP other than Free.

In Edit Preferences, Applications, Web browser: Custom Command: firefox

The two settings are saved in ~/.pan2/servers.xml and ~/.pan2/preferences.xml respectively.


In Preferences, Interface, Theme: System.

In Preferences, Interface, Icon Theme: Color.

In Keyboard Shortcuts, View: Set Zoom in shortcut to ‘=’.

Music On Console

I use Music On Console in shuffle mode. I’ve set the shuffle mode in the ~/.moc/config file.

Note also in the same file the ShowTime setting. It avoids a huge delay when quitting mocp (due to the program reading the tags in the files).


By default, Taskwarrior stores the data in ~/.task, but it is possible to set another directory. See my ~/.taskrc file.


Such a ~/.xzgvrc file ensure that the program starts in “fit to window” mode for high resolution images or in 100% mode for images smaller than the window. For high resolution images, switching between “fit to window” mode and 100% mode is possible with the Z key.


Check that /usr/bin/vim.gtk is the selected editor in the Debian alternatives system with update-alternatives --display editor (as root). If not, use update-alternatives --config editor (as root).

Restore file ~/.vimrc.

my ~/.vimrc file is heavily commented. The most “interesting” thing may be the affectation of the backupdir and directory options (the directories where the backup files and the swap files are written respectively). They are affected to ~/.vim/backup and ~/.vim/swap respectively (assuming ~/.vim is the first entry of the runtimepath option and ~/.vim/backup and ~/.vim/swap are writable directories or can be created as writable directories).

The point of this is to avoid having backup and swap files in the working directories and having them in dedicated directories ~/.vim/backup and ~/.vim/swap instead. You may be interested by this page by Xilin Sun (which also covers the undo files).

Here is the code (with comments removed) of my ~/.vimrc that makes the affectation of the backupdir and directory options:

function s:CanWriteToDir(path_to_dir)

    if !isdirectory(a:path_to_dir) && exists("*mkdir")
        silent! call mkdir(a:path_to_dir, "p", 0700)
    return (filewritable(a:path_to_dir) == 2)


let s:DotVimPath = split(&runtimepath,",")[0]

let s:BackupDir = s:DotVimPath . "/backup"
if s:CanWriteToDir(s:BackupDir)
    set backup
    let &backupdir = s:BackupDir . "," . &backupdir

let s:SwapDir = s:DotVimPath . "/swap"
if s:CanWriteToDir(s:SwapDir)
    let &directory = s:SwapDir . "//" . "," . &directory

You may also be interested in using the Base16 color schemes.


Set font to Inconsolata Medium 12.

Privilege escalation for use of ifp-line-libifp

Use visudo to add a line in /etc/sudoers. This line allows any user to execute /usr/bin/ifp without password. See my /etc/sudoers file.

Run ifp with sudo:

sudo ifp ls

An alias can come in handy (see my ~/.bash_aliases file):

alias ifp='sudo ifp'

Google Chrome installation

I downloaded the 64 bit .deb Debian package from and installed it as root with:

dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb # As root.

The installation was not successful. I had to issue the following command to fix the system:

apt install -f # As root.

This caused the following packages to be installed:

  • libappindicator3-1
  • libdbusmenu-glib4
  • libdbusmenu-gtk3-4
  • libindicator3-7

I didn’t want Google Chrome to be the default browser, so I reselected Firefox ESR in the Debian alternatives system with update-alternatives --config x-www-browser (as root).

I then tweaked Google Chrome’s settings as for Chromium.

signal-desktop installation and linking to a “dumb phone”

Here are the commands I issued (as root) to install signal-desktop (you may want to check the Signal official site):

wget -O - | apt-key add
echo "deb [arch=amd64] xenial main" \
    > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list
apt-get update
apt-get install signal-desktop
chmod 4755 /opt/Signal/chrome-sandbox

The rest of this section is largely taken from the “How to install and use Signal messenger without a smartphone” page.

If your phone is not able to read QR codes (like my “dumb phone”), you can link it using signal-cli. You will also need a QR code decoder program. zbarimg (provided by Debian package zbar-tools) is an example of such a program.

First, download signal-cli (as a normal user, and check the latest version number on

cd ~/Downloads

Then install it as root:

cd /opt
tar -xvf /home/<username>/Downloads/signal-cli-0.7.4.tar.gz

Then, as a normal user (substitute +336xxxxxxxx with your real phone number):

# Request a verification code (you'll receive it in an SMS).
/opt/signal-cli-0.7.4/bin/signal-cli -u +336xxxxxxxx register

# Verify your account.
/opt/signal-cli-0.7.4/bin/signal-cli \
    -u +336xxxxxxxx verify <verification_code_received_by_sms>

# Launch signal-desktop.
signal-desktop &

You’re presented with a QR code. You need to save the QR code image to a file (say, ~/qr.png):

  • Open developer tools (menu View | Toggle Developer Tools).
  • Go to Network tab.
  • Click All.
  • Type “data:image/png” in the filter text box.
  • Hit Ctrl-R if you don’t see any “data:image/png” entry appear.
  • Click the “data:image/png” entry.
  • Save the image (right click on it, save to ~/qr.png).

Finally, use zbarimg to extract the tsdevice link and link your computer with your phone:

zbarimg ~/qr.png 2>/dev/null|head -1|sed "s/^[^:]\+://"

/opt/signal-cli-0.7.4/bin/signal-cli -u +336xxxxxxxx \
  addDevice --uri "<tsdevice_link>"

Wireshark installation

When installing Wireshark (Debian package wireshark), I choose to allow “normal” users that are members of the wireshark group to capture packets.

You can add a user to group wireshark with a command like (as root):

usermod -aG wireshark user_name # As root.

Session for desktop installation

Here is how I currently install and use Session for desktop. I download the Appimage file for Linux from and place it in my home directory. Then I give the file executable permission with a command like:

chmod +x session-desktop-linux-x86_64-1.5.2.AppImage

I launch Session for desktop with a command like:

session-desktop-linux-x86_64-1.5.2.AppImage --no-sandbox &

(See for a discussion about the use of the --no-sandbox flag).