How do I add an icon for smantic package manager?


I think symantic or whatever package thing was supposed to be an easy non-terminal way for noobs like me to start out. At least thats what everyone says. I am rather certain I managed to doof my way to actually installing it with the apt thingy using the terminal.

But it has no icon to run it from on the desktop of pocket chip. So how is it supposed to help me again?

Further research led me to find there was some sort of upgrade that I need to install to be able to add other apps. But I cannot install that because the built in keyboard won’t type the function keys on the terminal app. So any instructions with http urls or the little curly symbol near 1 are impossible to type.

Help a newbie get this a bit more usable for more then just pico8 please? I can’t even follow most of the setup guides at this site since I have no usb keyboard to use (desktop uses an old round plug, and my other devices are phones or laptops which can’t share the keyboard.)


synaptic ?


To run the synaptic package manager from the command line (until you get an icon for it added to your desktop), I think what UnixOutlaw is suggesting is that you simply type the word “synaptic” on the command line. That will start synaptic running.

I don’t have my pocketCHIP yet, so I am not totally clear on the puncutation keys that you can type without the Function key working, but if you are able to type an ampersand (&) on the line right after synaptic, it will allow you to type other commands on the command line while it is running, and if you can type one more command after that, it will mean that synaptic will not get closed if you close the terminal session.

synaptic &
disown %

I know there are instructions around here for how to add just icons to your desktop, or change an icon to one for a different application. But i think the upgrade you are thinking about may be @marshmallow’s version of pocket-home, which is discussed here on the following topic. However, I don’t know if you can type all the characters required to install it! Anyhow, here is the topic, and maybe Marshmallow will explain a little here for you too, that is a very, very long topic!

But if your function keys don’t work, and you have a defective pocketCHIP, maybe you might want to get that fixed? Have you read the topics here about what people did whose PocketCHIPs could not type function keys properly? There may be some other software that would fix that, if you explain exactly what the problem is with your function keys, then maybe someone can point you to the right place for that.


I did try searching for a fix to the function key issue, but I have not been able to type the commands because they have the curly version of this thing - (i don’t have the symbol on my phone keyboard either, but a lot of linux commands I am finding use it) these lack of symbols are why I was trying to use the gui instead of the terminal in the first place, lol!

My function key issue is very simple to explain, but very strange.

When I type, I can type letters and uppercase letters like m and M just fine.

But if I try holding function and pressing the m key, I get strange jibberish, or sometimes shortcut commands, or other strange things like ^[k32] in the console instead. (Output isn’t exact, as it changes on me between boots and I am waiting for chip to charge again at the moment.) Most function keys will do strange things like remembering the last commands or other effects I assume are supposed to be user hotkeys for the terminal.

Sometimes chip can type the expected symbol instead like it’s supposed to, but other times it won’t. It seems to have something to do with restarting or rebooting chip. And even if it’s working correctly, it might start failing at any time during use.

Which is why, as you guessed, I can’t get through the marshmallow install without gambling. :frowning:

I often get abbreviations or names mixed up, so using the terminal is really hard cause there is no visual for what software I can run. Is there a list all type of command like pico8 has the list of carts in a directory, but for installed commands/programs instead? I need a “start menu like search” to help me remember these names, lol.

I tried typing help but the only search command was some strange grep abbreviation that needs parameters to run, so remembering that would be just as hard as remembering the names of the software for users like me. And reading help through the terminal without using any special characters is like pulling teeth.

I will try running the package manager and see if that can update anything on the chip. It looks like the factory shipped setup has a software glitch with its keyboard based on my forum searches.


synaptic works if I type sudo synaptic

It’s interface is only half usable, but by selecting the mark all packages button, then the apply checkbox, and then just hitting enter on the install confirm popup I could get it to update the existing installed programs. Not exactly user intuitive on such a small screen. Is there managers that make use of screen space better? I have used synaptic in ubuntu and xbuntu before, so I knew what keys would work, but this is like the polar opposite of user friendly for “anyone can use chip”. :stuck_out_tongue: Maybe someone should make a package manager that is pocket chip themed for smaller devices. Bonus points for pink colors.

I don’t know if that fixed the keyboard issue, as the keys appear to be working fine at the moment. It updated about 30 packages or so though, so less stuff should break, I hope. :slight_smile:

I’ll try installing marshmallow, not looking foward to typing all them urls, but hopefully that desktop will minimize the typing in terminal once installed. I’ll get to trying it later today.


you might want to try aptitude. It will adapt to the small screen better than synaptic. aptitude isn’t graphical in the popularly understood way, but it does provide an interface that you can use to view and select packages for removal or installation.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install aptitude
$ sudo aptitude

To search for a something, press the “/” key and type in your search term. For, example, searching on the term “apache” will find you all packages with apache in the name. You hit the “n” key to find the next match.

To install a package, search for it, and once its found, type “+”. This will mark it for installation. If the package you chose depends on other packages in order to work, they will all be marked for installation automatically. To start the installation of the marked packages, type “g”. This will take you to a screen listing all the changes that are going to take place. If you are satisfied will the proposed changes, type “g” again to make things happen.

There are two ways to mark a package for removal using aptitude. If you want to remove a package completely, find it as above, then type “_” (underscore). This will completely purge the package from your system. If you want to remove a package but keep its configuration files, then type “-” (minus). This will delete the package but leave the data intact. Once you marked all your packages, as above type “g” to see the proposed changes, and “g” a second time once you are satisfied with the changes.

The equivalent of `“apt-get update” in aptitude, is simply to press the “u” key. If you change your mind about the selections for installation and removal, holding down the ctrl key while typing “u” will undo all the markings you have made.

To quit aptitude once you are finished, type “q”.

There is much more possible with aptitude, but, alas, I am not a power user, so I can’t tell you about all its options.

I hope this helps,

How do I download packages for debian

@darkgriffin The one thing I forgot to suggest that might help with your problem typing symbols sometimes, would be to install a GUI graphical keyboard you could tap on to enter those keys when needed. the only one I know is xvkbd and I am not fond of it because I get confused about what “level” I am at in using it, and I have no idea if it works differently than other virtual keyboards. A number of folks here have mentioned florence, you might try installing florence to see if it would help, or read reviews on various virtual keyboards to see which you might like best.


Aptitude does the trick nicely. I can now update all the stuff.

After my last post, I shutdown the pocket chip. Since I’ve repowered after updating everything, the keyboard is working again.

I’ve since hit the ground running with marshmallow and now a little doom demo running, thanks to the guide at

I think the rest will just be me relearning the software library of debian. Been too long and I program in pico8, windows, and unity3d, so all the key words to search in the repository sort of leaked out the old brain. :slight_smile: Nothing a few google searches and some experimenting can’t fix though.

Thanks everyone for your invaluable help getting this chipster off the ground. :slight_smile: