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Suggest Installation Of Packages When Running An Unavailable Command

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 1.2K views

As you may already know, when we run an unavailable or unrecognized command in Linux, we will get an error message - "bash: command not found". The problem is some of us don't know which packages provides that particular command. Not anymore! Today, I've come across an useful utility called "command-not-found" that helps you by suggesting installation of packages when running an unavailable command.

Let us say you want to run a command named "leafpad", which is not available in your Linux system. You are not sure which packages provides this command. This is where "command-not-found" utility comes in help.

It will automatically search the official repositories, when entering an unrecognized or unavailable command. It uses a cache of existing programs and their associated packages to help users in their day-to-day command line work.

Install command-not-found utility in Linux

command-not-found utility is available in AUR. So, you can install it using AUR helpers such as Paru or Yay.

$ paru -S command-not-found


$ yay -S command-not-found

Also, pkgfile package provides command-not-found hook. Just install pkgfile to use command-not-found utility.

$ sudo pacman -S pkgfile

Once it is installed, edit your .bashrc file:

$ vi ~/.bashrc

Add the following line at the end to enable it.

source /usr/share/doc/pkgfile/command-not-found.bash

Update the changes made using command:

$ source ~/.bashrc

On Ubuntu and its derivatives, it comes pre-installed.

Just in case if it is not installed already, you can install it as follows.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install command-not-found

Suggest Installation Of Packages When Running An Unavailable Command

Now, run any unavailable command, for example leafpad:

It will suggest you which package provides this command. Here is the output from my Arch Linux system.

$ leafpad 
leafpad may be found in the following packages:  
extra/leafpad /usr/bin/leafpad

As you see in the above output, the "leafpad" command is provided by leafpad- package.

Let us try another command on Ubuntu:

$ emacs
The program 'emacs' can be found in the following packages:
 * emacs24
 * emacs24-nox
 * e3
 * emacs23
 * emacs23-lucid
 * emacs23-nox
 * emacs24-lucid
 * jove
Try: sudo apt-get install <selected package>

This is just an example. This utility will suggest installation of packages when you run any unavailable command. Once you removed this utility, it won't suggest anything. It merely displays an output something like below.

"bash: emacs: command not found"

Hope this helps.

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