Linux Mint – Exporting and importing package lists

File Management Commands in Linux

In the previous section, we discussed the preparation needed to move to a new release of Mint, and exporting/importing package lists was mentioned. In this section, we’ll move on to a new release of Mint.

To create or import a package list, you can use Mint’s Backup Tool
to accomplish the task. The Backup Tool was covered in Chapter 10, Securing Linux Mint, and its ability to back up software selections was briefly mentioned. When you open the Backup Tool, you’ll first be prompted with your password, as the utility runs as the root. Once it is opened, Backup software selection is listed as one of the buttons on the very first screen. If you click on it, you’ll first need to set the destination for the file to be created. Here, it’s important to note that since the Backup Tool runs as the root, the home directory option listed is not your home directory, but that of the root. Therefore, you should select Other and then browse manually to where you want the list of software to be exported, followed by clicking on Next.

The next screen will allow you to preview the list, which lists only the software you’ve installed yourself (not the software that are provided by Mint by default). On this screen, you can uncheck a program to make sure it’s not present in the exported list. This may be useful if you no longer wish to use a specific application and would like to omit it from being imported. Once you’re comfortable with the selections, click on Next, and the list will be created and saved in the path you’ve chosen. The following screenshot shows the Software selection section window of the Backup Tool:

Now that you have a list, you can move it somewhere safe, preferably outside of your computer. This way, you can always import it if you need to reinstall Mint, or you can even import it on other machines if you wish to install the same packages there. In addition, having a software selection saved will make rolling out new machines even easier.

Restoring applications through the Backup Tool is very similar to saving a package list, though you start with the Restore software selection button instead, and then select your exported package list when prompted to do so. Mint will then install the packages included in the package list that are not currently present on the system. The following screenshot shows how to restore an exported package list in the Backup Tool:

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