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I need to download a set of Raspbian packages as I would with apt download some_package. However, I need to do this from an Ubuntu system. Is there a way to do temporarily specify a repo and distro (buster, stretch) to download from?

I saw the post about using proot, and I'd rather keep that as "Plan B." Is there a Plan A?

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You are on your Ubuntu system. Then you can try to add the Raspbian repository to /etc/apt/sources.list. Add this line:

deb http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian/ buster main contrib non-free rpi

You can only add it, but I recommend to comment all other lines in sources.list. They belong to Ubuntu and may confuse selection of the right package. Then do:

rpi ~$ sudo apt update

Never do an sudo apt upgrade! It will break the Ubuntu system. Now you should be able to select and download the packages for Raspbian. Of course you can't install them if you do not run an arm processor on the Ubuntu system and you should never do it to not break your Ubuntu installation. When you are finished just revert settings in sources.list and do sudo apt update again.

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Might want to try logging onto http://archive.raspbian.org/raspbian/pool/main/ with your web browser and grab the debs that way.

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