Mist: An AUR-Helper-Like Application for Debian and Ubuntu

Mist: An AUR-Helper-Like Application for Debian and Ubuntu

Mist is a helper for MPR (makedeb Package Repository), which provides extra software for Debian and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

The AUR repository has always been one of the key differences between Arch Linux and other distributions.

With its wide range of community-supported software and useful helpers for installing software from it, such as yay, paru, trizen, and others, it has helped to establish Arch as one of the major Linux distros today.

MPR, the community-maintained repository for the makedeb packaging tool, has long been available to users of Debian-based distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and others.

However, the lack of a convenient tool for installing, updating, and removing used software from it has long been a barrier to its widespread use.

Fortunately, things have changed. Please welcome Mist, an AUR-like helper for Debian and Ubuntu-based systems.

Mist: MPR Helper Utilizing the makedeb Tool

The MPR (makedeb Package Repository) inspires by the AUR (Arch User Repository) concept, from which the platform’s code was conceived. Its goal is to assist makedeb users in finding and building their favorite packages that may not be in their distribution’s repositories.

Additionally, unlike PPA repositories, everything in the MPR is stored in a single repo, eliminating the need to search various repositories for the packages you need. But let’s now focus on Mist.

In short, it is a helper for MPR (makedeb Package Repository), which provides extra software for Debian and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. In addition, it uses the same PKGBUILD format as Arch Linux; however, it builds DEB packages instead of Arch ones.

Mist acts as an APT wrapper, offering MPR features such as the ability to search, install, upgrade, and uninstall APT and MPR packages. Furthermore, you can also use it to clone packages from the MPR, read comments on them, and leave your own.

How to Install mist MPR Helper

You must have the makedeb package installed on your system to use the MDP repository. Furthermore, it is a mandatory mist package dependency.

To install makedeb, run the four commands listed below in that order.

wget -qO - 'https://proget.hunterwittenborn.com/debian-feeds/makedeb.pub' | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/makedeb-archive-keyring.gpg &> /dev/null
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/makedeb-archive-keyring.gpg arch=all] https://proget.hunterwittenborn.com/ makedeb main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/makedeb.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install makedeb

With the makedeb tool now installed on your system, you can proceed to the installation of the mist package itself. As in the example above, run the commands listed below in that order.

curl -q 'https://proget.makedeb.org/debian-feeds/prebuilt-mpr.pub' | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/prebuilt-mpr-archive-keyring.gpg 1> /dev/null
echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/prebuilt-mpr-archive-keyring.gpg] https://proget.makedeb.org prebuilt-mpr $(lsb_release -cs)" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/prebuilt-mpr.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install mist

That’s all. The mist MPR helper is now installed and ready to use on your system.

How to Use mist Command

The use of the mist command is entirely straightforward. For example, we’ll install the freetube-bin package, an open-source desktop YouTube player built with privacy in mind.

To install a package, use the syntax mist install package-name. Therefore, the command in our case would be:

mist install freetube-bin
How to install package with the mist command

Then, follow the instructions. All that remains is to enjoy your app once it has been installed.

FreeTube App

The other options of the mist command are full as expected, and if you’ve used other packet managers like APT or DNF, using them should not overwhelm you.

  • clone: Clone a package base on the MPR
  • comment: Comment on a package page
  • help: Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)
  • install: Install packages from APT and the MPR
  • list: List packages available via APT and the MPR
  • list-comments: List the comments on a package
  • remove: Remove packages from the system
  • search: Search for an APT/MPR package
  • update: Update the APT cache on the system
  • upgrade: Upgrade the packages on the system
  • whoami: Show the currently authenticated user

However, remember that the Mist MPR helper is still in its early stages so you may encounter some unexpected issues. Nevertheless, none were experienced throughout our tests, and all operations went smoothly.

The project’s lead developer promises that new features will be implemented in the future. You can find additional information about Mist on the project’s GitHub page.

Bobby Borisov
Bobby Borisov

Bobby is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, Bobby has worked as a Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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