Create website or email links that automatically install software

Sometimes if you're trying to help somebody fix a problem you'll have to tell them how to install software. Yet for some Ubuntu newbies even this can be confusing. The solution is to create a "software install" hyperlink within a web page (such as a forum posting), new email window or Pidgin message window. To do this, simply click the "create link" button on the webpage or within the email (the precise name of this will vary depending on the software/website used) and then type apt:packagename in the URL field, replacing packagename with the precise name of the package as listed in Synaptic.

Create website or email links that automatically install software M 78

Create website or email links that automatically install software M 78

Figure 3.4: Adding a "software install" link to an email (see Tip 20, on the previous page)

For example, let's say you want to tell somebody how to install the thunar package, as referenced in Tip 92, on page 147. If you've creating an email with the instructions, ensure the new mail uses HTML (ensure HTML is checked on the Format menu) and then click Insert ^ Link. In the URL field, delete what's there and type apt:thunar. Don't worry about the Description field—leave it with the default contents that will probably mirror what's in the URL field. See Figure 3.4 for an example. Then click the Close. Note that there's a slight bug in Evolution that means, for some reason, the hyperlink won't actually appear as a link until you type some more into the new mail window, or click the Send button.

Perhaps it goes without saying that should you ever receive such a link in an email, or see one on a website, you should be very wary (especially if there are also additional instructions telling you to add a new software repository). It would be very easy to disguise a malicious link as something seemingly benign, although you will always be prompted to confirm the choice of software before installation.

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