Changes Coming to Ubuntu PPA Usage

May 17, 2023

The way you manage Personal Package Archives will be changing with the release of Ubuntu 23.10.

With the upcoming Ubuntu 23.10 (Mantic Minotaur), there will be a considerable change to how PPAs are handled. As you may know, in the current iteration of the software-properties software, when you add PPA from the command line, a .list file is created in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/, and the associated GPG key is added to /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/.

When 23.10 is released, those PPAs will use the deb822 format for .source files and their corresponding GPG keys will be added directly to the file in a Signed-By field. This means users won't have to manage a collection of .list files.

According to the developers, this change offers one very important benefit: When a PPA is removed from a system, the GPG key will be automatically removed as well. As well, keys will now be unique to a PPA and cannot be used for other repositories. As well, other keys cannot be used to sign a PPA. These benefits will go a long way to enhance the security of PPAs. Another benefit of the new system is that users won't have to worry about deleting .list files that can accumulate on a system.

Of course, there's always a downside, the biggest of which is that PPAs will have root access to a system. Because of this, a program maintainer could add malicious code to a repository, and the next time you upgrade, that malicious code would be installed and have unfettered access to your machine.

Read the announcement from the ubuntu-devel mailing list.


Related content

  • News

    Updates on technologies, trends, and tools

  • Pacstall

    Many users wish Ubuntu had a free and easily accessible user-driven package repository like Arch's AUR. Pacstall steps into the gap.

  • Manjaro Linux 23.1.0 "Vulcan” Released

    Christmas has come a bit early for Manjaro fans, as version 23.1.0 is already available for download and installation.

  • Self-Built PPAs

    Is the current package for your favorite Ubuntu program woefully behind the times? No problem: Just a few steps creates an updated Debian package that you can then share with others in a PPA.

  • Linux Kernel 6.5 Has Been Released

    The newest Linux kernel, version 6.5, now includes initial support for two very exciting features.

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More