How-To Geek

Install an RPM Package on Ubuntu Linux

Installing software on Ubuntu usually entails using Synaptic or by using an apt-get command from the terminal. Unfortunately, there are still a number of packages out there that are only distributed in RPM format.

There’s a utility called Alien that converts packages from one format to the other. This doesn’t always mean that an rpm will work on your system, though. You will need to install some prerequisite software packages in order to install alien, however. These packages include gcc and make.

Run this command to install alien and other necessary packages:

sudo apt-get install alien dpkg-dev debhelper build-essential

To convert a package from rpm to debian format, use this command syntax. The sudo may not be necessary, but we’ll include it just in case.

sudo alien packagename.rpm

To install the package, you’ll use the dpkg utility, which is the internal package management tool behind debian and Ubuntu.

sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb

The package should now be installed, providing it’s compatible with your system.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/27/06

Comments (17)

  1. devlin

    Worked great thank you.

  2. JoeDandy

    Worked for me thanks…

  3. Ceezey

    Cool as school – worked a treat! Thanks

  4. Ehsan

    Where does it copy files?! i’m struggling 2 hours to install java JDK rpm file :(
    NetBeans ask for JDK path, where it will be after installing JDK with rpm?!

  5. ubersoldat

    Why would you install the JDK with an RPM?

  6. 3372

    after i install the rpm file..why i still cannot install the qmail packet in ubuntu?

  7. Othman

    Works just perfect, any other way to do that?

  8. kurt

    Im so grateful :D

  9. amad g

    How about Converting .rpm files to .deb files?
    Some Debian files are not available in RPM.

  10. okkie

    i have /home/okkie/Desktop/pips-sc43s-cups-2.6.2-2.i386.rpm on my desktop
    i followed ypur instructions to use alien but comp tells me package on the desktop can’t be found.I did the exercise in root.

  11. Eggsy

    Thanks for the guide :)

  12. frk888

    Thanks for this simply solution!

  13. charlie


    I’ve done this before and It’s always worked fine, except for now. After I

    sudo alien

    it says:


    But I can’t find it anywhere! Has anyone ever faced this problem?


  14. Marc

    Same here, Charlie. Didn’t have this problem before…I’m guessing you’re also using Ubuntu 10.10?

  15. BartekM

    Thank you so much!
    Just what I needed!!

  16. Anderson de Lima

    Thank you, guys! Problem solved.

  17. sabin

    worked great ,thanx

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