Skip to content
the core 0install package
Python Other
Pull request Compare This branch is 1203 commits behind 0install:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Copyright Thomas Leonard and others, 2012


Zero Install is a decentralised cross-distribution software installation system available under the LGPL. It allows software developers to publish programs directly from their own web-sites, while supporting features familiar from centralised distribution repositories such as shared libraries, automatic updates and digital signatures. It is intended to complement, rather than replace, the operating system's package management. 0install packages never interfere with those provided by the distribution.

0install does not define a new packaging format; unmodified tarballs or zip archives can be used. Instead, it defines an XML metadata format to describe these packages and the dependencies between them. A single metadata file can be used on multiple platforms (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Mac OS X and Windows), assuming binary or source archives are available that work on those systems.

0install also has some interesting features not often found in traditional package managers. For example, while it will share libraries whenever possible, it can always install multiple versions of a package in parallel when there are conflicting requirements. Installation is always side-effect-free (each package is unpacked to its own directory and will not touch shared directories such as /usr/bin), making it ideal for use with sandboxing technologies and virtualisation.

The XML file describing the program's requirements can also be included in a source-code repository, allowing full dependency handling for unreleased developer versions. For example, a user can clone a Git repository and build and test the program, automatically downloading newer versions of libraries where necessary, without interfering with the versions of those libraries installed by their distribution, which continue to be used for other software.

See the web-site for full details.


Zero Install uses the normal Python distutils method of installation. To install system-wide, run like this:

$ sudo python install

You can also install just to your home directory (this doesn't require root access):

$ python install --home ~ --install-data ~/.local
$ export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH

Logging out and back in again will ensure $PATH and the Applications menu get updated correctly, on Ubuntu at least.


To install Edit and name it 'rox-edit':

$ 0install add rox-edit

To run it (use the name you chose above):

$ rox-edit

When you run it, 0install will check how long it has been since it checked for updates and will run a check in the background if it has been too long. To check for updates manually:

$ 0install update rox-edit 2.0.5 -> 2.0.6

This shows that ROX-Lib, a library rox-edit uses, was upgraded.

If an upgrade stops a program from working, use "0install whatchanged". This will tell you when the application was last upgraded and what changed, and tell you how to revert to the previous version:

$ 0install whatchanged rox-edit
Last checked    : Tue Sep 25 09:45:19 2012
Last update     : 2012-09-25
Previous update : 2012-08-25 2.0.5 -> 2.0.6

To run using the previous selections, use:
0install run /home/tal/.config/

To see where things have been stored:

$ 0install select rox-edit
- URI:
  Version: 2.2
  Path: /home/tal/.cache/
  - URI:
    Version: 2.0.6
    Path: /home/tal/.cache/
  - URI:
    Version: 2.7.3-4
    Path: (package:deb:python2.7:2.7.3-4:x86_64)

To view or change configuration settings:

$ 0install config

For more information, see the man-page for 0install and the web-site.


This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


Please report any bugs to the mailing list.

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.