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It's not. A .deb file is just a collection of files; much like a tar file. You'd need to setup gnome or kde to run something like "gksu dpkg -i $1.deb" before a GUI could automatically install it. Given that normal users aren't supposed to be installing packages (other than with sudo), as well as that you should normally use apt (apt-get, synaptic, etc) to install packages from a repository, there's little reason to setup the GUI to install a .deb.
Except that windows converts seem to think that "clicking on things" is the generic way of interacting with their computer.
The reason why I often put "clicking on" in inverted comas is because the really is no such thing: it is a construct of what ever the file manager/desktop environment/window manager wants it to be. I assume that this may involve reading the mime type of the file, and then running what ever the mailcap says it should. Or perhaps different file managers have their own databases telling them what to do with different files. Since, (as you alluded to) deb files are just ar archives, it would not surprise me if the file manager tried to pass off the deb file to some gui front end to ar... perhaps that is what it was doing.
Anyway thanks for letting me know that file managers are usually not set up to do anything special with deb files: that info will help me, the next time someone is confused about why "clicking on a deb file does not work".
install_flash_player_10_linux.deb is that the .deb from Adobe's website? if so good luck with that since it is a package for Ubuntu and NOT Debian.
If it is a .deb, isn't it's construction that of Debian? After all, Ubuntu can be called a Glorified Debian, being built on it. Needless to say, it works just fine here.
Brian, I did have KDE. Don't ask... Reinstalled obviously, just haven't yet converted.
Let me hijack my own thread for a sec. Ignoring settings and preferences, does a conversion from Gnome to KDE (and/or the reverse) affect my saved files in any way?
Will I lose files on my desktop?
Will I lose files in any other directory (/), (/home), (/user) etc...?
I like my Firefox. Will I need to re-install it?
Also, if I want to save back-ups of .deb or tarballz, etc, is it sufficient to move the icon (for example, the .deb icon) to CD or another partition, or is there more to it?
If the .deb is not clickable, does it still contain the files I need to install it on another system later?
If you download debs and later on want to use them on the SAME operating system, then of course that's possible. You could move them to a partition/CD/USB, whatever and copy them over again to install. The fact of being not clickable has to do with the .deb begin an archive file. So most likely if you 'double click' it, then it will propose to or just open it with an archive manager that will only show you the contents. If by moving 'the icon' you mean the entire package and not a 'shortcut' to it, then yes, moving it to another medium is a form of having a 'backup' copy.
The 'dpkg' program of Debian knows what to do with it, so best practice to install a .deb is to open a terminal and (most likely as root) use
to install it.
Be aware though if you always use the downloaded files from a 'old' backup that your system becomes 'outdated' pretty soon. Best practice is to just install from fresh every time, not only to get the latest version of the software you need/want, but also to acquire some more knowledge and understanding of Linux.
Are files that I individually download from the www, ones with icons that Idownload to my desktop, also stored there ( /var/cache/apt/archive/* )?
What ~sHyLoCk~ is referring to is the cache where apt-get stores all the downloaded packages. If you back that up, then you have all packages that you installed using the apt-get program, ready to install again if needed. It does NOT contain the packages you download and install manually.
Those files that you download manually are stored in the location of your choice (or as indicated in your preferences of the program you use to download them, Firefox?).