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Raspberry Pi For Dummies by Mike Cook, Sean McManus

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Installing and Managing Software on Your Raspberry Pi

After you’ve got the hang of it, the Raspberry Pi makes it incredibly easy to discover, download, and install new software. Linux distributions come with thousands of packages, which are software programs that are ready to download from the Internet and install on your computer.

Some packages require other packages to work successfully, but luckily a program called a package manager untangles all these dependencies and takes responsibility for downloading and installing the software you want, together with any other software it needs to work correctly. On the Raspberry Pi, the package manager is called apt.

Installing software requires the authority of the root user or superuser of the computer. The Raspberry Pi doesn’t come with a root account enabled, in common with some other Linux distributions. One school of thought says that a root account is a security threat because people are inclined to use it all the time rather than log in and out of it when they need it. That leaves the whole system and its files vulnerable, including to any malicious software that might get in. Instead of using a root account, you use the word sudo before a command on the Raspberry Pi to indicate that you want to carry it out with the authority of the root user. You can’t use it before all commands, but it’s essential for installing software.

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