It's official: Prey is now on Ubuntu and Debian

Good news Ubuntu users! If you already upgraded to Ubuntu Natty Narwhal (11.04) then you’ll be able to install Prey directly from Ubuntu’s official package repositories.

April 29, 2011

Good news Ubuntu users! If you already upgraded to Ubuntu Natty Narwhal (11.04) then you'll be able to install Prey directly from Ubuntu's official package repositories. We've been working side by side with the Debian devs so now you'll be able to find Prey in Ubuntu's Software Center or get it by opening up a terminal and typing the famous one-liner:

$ sudo apt-get install prey

The package is listed on Ubuntu's universe repository so be sure to enable it through Synaptic it (Settings > Repositories > check Community-maintained Open Source software) if you want to use it.

Now, there's a few differences between the official Prey version and the one bundled in Debian and Ubuntu. Keep on reading!

Modified paths

To comply better with the Debian package policies, some stuff has been moved from their regular locations. While our package keeps everything on /usr/share/prey, on the Debian/Ubuntu Prey version:

  • The core files were moved to /usr/lib/prey.
  • Configuration is now stored on /etc/prey/config instead of /usr/share/prey/config.
  • Modules are now kept on /var/lib/prey/modules, rather than /usr/share/prey/modules
  • Instead of modifying the running user's crontab, the install script creates an entry in /etc/cron.d/prey.

Manual configuration -- for now

The graphic configurator is not available yet as there are some things that need to be tweaked before it can shipped on Debian. This means that if you use the Debian/Ubuntu version, you'll need to setup your configuration by hand for the time being (sudo gedit /etc/prey/config). Control Panel users need to enter their device and API keys while standalone users need to enter a Check URL and setup their SMTP server settings.

Updates via apt-get

The Debian policy is that packages should not upgrade themselves, but rather through the system's package manager. This means that the Debian/Ubuntu version will not auto-update as the official client does. This also means that you will get updates with a small delay, depending on the time it takes Debian or Ubuntu to sync their repos with the upstream version.

Current available version is 0.4.4

The current version available on Ubuntu's universe repo is 0.4.4, which means that you won't be able to use the features we've been adding lately, such as On Demand activation, Hardware Scan or Offline Actions. Prey 0.5.3 is already on Debian's unstable repo so hopefully we'll get that soon on Ubuntu too.

In other words, if you're considering upgrading to Pro we recommend to stick to the official client for now. Otherwise you'll miss the good stuff!

Can I switch from one version to the other?

Yes but you'll need to uninstall the one you're running first, otherwise your computer might explode into pieces. Jokes aside, the Debian/Ubuntu version will not be aware of the previous installation so things might get hairy if you don't remove your previous installation (e.g. a version might try to overwrite the other one's files when upgrading).

Remember if you wish to install the official release as usual, you can always do by downloading the .DEB package and using GDebi or simply dpkg -i prey-*.deb. So thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially Debian ninjas Alessio Treglia and Jelmer Vernooij!

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