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I've installed Debian recently, and found out from people I know with Debian that my apt is broken. I can apt-get some programs, but I can't apt-get most. Software such as OpenOffice, licq, aMSN should be on the list I've been told. However I've had to download these as tarballs (except for licq, which annoyed me, and OpenOffice because I can't stay online for long enough). It's good practice and all playing with tarballs but it's tedious having to search the internet for a program that I could've easily "apt-get install [name]" on. These programs are on the Debian website as packages.
Now before I search for a program I "apt-cache search [name] |more" it first so I can see if it exists on my apt list.
I've gone as far as reinstalling Debian in order to get my apt working properly, but it isn't. Any hints on how to fix this problem would be greatly appreciated.
That has nothing to do with apt but with the sources list for apt.Openoffice isn't in the regular debian distro but you can add it to the sources list.There are a lot of places where you can get apps that are not included in the distro.
At /etc/apt is the 'sources.list'.You can add url's there.For the url try to check with google for 'unofficial apt sources' or 'openoffice debian' for openoffice.Most app's that are not in the distro got a link to a source on their website.
I assume you're using Woody (the stable branch)? OOo has yet to enter stable/testing AFAIK. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list with a text editor like nano, etc. Go to: http://www.apt-get.org/ & search for OpenOffice. You want backported packages built for Woody/stable.