Install Boxee with APT on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

Boxee folks helpfully host an APT repository (, but, as of this writing, only for Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) and 8.10 (Intrepid). But if you happen to run a later version such as 9.04 (Jaunty) or 9.10 (Karmic), you could still install from the Boxee repository through the magic of APT pinning. This method should work just as well with later versions of Ubuntu also.

Update 5 March 2010: Since APT repository at appears to be unmaintained, I've reverted back to manual installs until an updated repository becomes available. I don't recommend you follow the steps below unless you want to get stuck with an outdated Boxee version. Here are the steps to revert back.

First we make sure the system is up to date:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade

Note: If you're running Jaunty, substitute references to "karmic" with "jaunty".

Create "/etc/apt/apt.conf" to tell APT that Karmic is our default release:

APT::Default-Release "karmic";

Create "/etc/apt/preferences" to give Karmic packages a higher priority than Intrepid packages:

Package: *
Pin: release a=karmic
Pin-Priority: 990

Package: *
Pin: release a=intrepid
Pin-Priority: 450

Create "/etc/apt/sources.list.d/intrepid.list" to tell APT where to get Intrepid packages:

deb intrepid main restricted universe multiverse

Create "/etc/apt/sources.list.d/boxee.list" to give APT a source for Boxee packages:

deb intrepid main

Now we update APT to pick up our changes and install Boxee:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install boxee

If all worked as it should, you should find shortcut to Boxee under "Applications" > "Sound & Video". Now, as new versions of Boxee are made available through their APT repo, we can get them through Synaptic APT GUI or via the console by running "sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude safe-upgrade".

Once Boxee adds Karmic support to their repo, we can remove the Intrepid Ubuntu sources and replace references to Intrepid with Karmic so APT will continue to get Boxee packages from the Boxee repo, just get Boxee packages for Karmic instead of Intrepid:

sudo rm /etc/apt/apt.conf /etc/apt/preferences /etc/apt/sources.list.d/intrepid.list
sudo sed -i 's/intrepid/karmic/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/boxee.list
sudo aptitude update

Once Boxee packages become available from Ubuntu sources, we can remove the Boxee repo altogether:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/boxee.list
sudo aptitude update


  • 1. Elanor replies at 11th February 2010, 7:29 pm :

    Thanks for this – Boxee does have a jaunty repository so I used that instead. Adding sources and installing went well. Started up perfectly! 😀

  • 2. Alain Kelder replies at 11th February 2010, 7:39 pm :

    Awesome, thanks for the feedback!

  • 3. Nate replies at 16th February 2010, 9:00 pm :

    Didn’t work for me…followed each step & double-checked, but after running the “install” I received the following:

    Couldn’t find any package whose name or description matched “boxee”

    Any ideas?


  • 4. Alain Kelder replies at 16th February 2010, 9:15 pm :


    Post output of “apt-cache policy | grep boxee”

    I get:

    apt-cache policy | grep boxee
     500 intrepid/main Packages
  • 5. Alain Kelder is a Giant D&hellip replies at 5th March 2010, 8:57 pm :

    […] The steps below probably don’t apply to you, UNLESS you made APT changes to pull in Boxee from the Intrepid repository as per my my previous post. […]

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