I've got MINIBIAN running on my B+ and want to keep experimenting with it by installing some software. I am not connected to the web or network, and I can't seem to find a how-to regarding installing software on a Pi that is not connected to a network.. As far as the program, it could be pong for all I care, I just want experience and practice doing this.
MINIBIAN: minibian homepage There are 10,000 "Get your Rpi up and running using NOOBS" threads on the web and then another 10,000 threads that are way over my head, but not much middle ground out there for dealing with Linux and learning how to use the RasPi.

thanks for listing to my mini rant and thanks for any advise, tips, tuts or links for getting what I want done.


(My ultimate goal would be to install JACK2 and then NON sequencer, so I could use the RasPi as a dedicated musical sequencer) NON Sequencer homepage

  • 1
    Why don't you connect the Pi to the network? You need access to the network to download the software anyhow. I see no sense in downloading, then copying, then installing in a non-standard fashion. It's prone to all sorts of dependency problems.
    – joan
    Jan 27, 2015 at 20:04
  • yeah I know.. Honestly its setup far away from the network and moving the whole thing is a pain. PLus I thought it would be a learning experience. Network is in my future I guess. Jan 27, 2015 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


regarding installing software on a Pi that is not connected to a network

The obvious question is then: What software? You have to get it from somewhere. Minibian is based on Raspbian which is based on Debian, and the fundamental units for distro packaged software are .deb packages. The network installer works off a list of available packages to resolve dependencies, then downloads and installs the appropriate .deb files.

You can manually download such files from the same place; you should have a list of repos in /etc/apt/sources.list. For example, a default for raspbian is http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org/raspbian/. If you then navigate to the pool/main directory you'll find packages broken down into subdirectories.

As long as you periodically do an apt-cache update with the system online, you can do do this whenever while offline:

apt-get --print-uris install [whatever]

To get a list of URL's for the package and all its required dependencies. The first field is the URL, the second is the package name, the third is the size, the fourth is the MD5 sum; see man apt-get.

You can then attempt installing those with dpkg -i. Note that the system was not intended to be used this way and:

  • It's likely to be more of a headache than it is worth.
  • I cannot promise you will not end up creating a unfixable mess.

If this situation is unavoidable and long term, your best bet would be to get another pi that you can put on a network and then take it along to update the other one.

If you have a long dependency chain you've fetched using the --print-uris method, you might save yourself some time by sticking the .debs in /var/cache/apt/archives and just running apt-get install on the one package; otherwise you'll have to dpkg -i them individually.

  • There may be an advantage in copying the deb files to /var/cache/apt/archives. It might allow the apt tools to work as well as the dpkg tools.
    – joan
    Jan 27, 2015 at 20:37
  • @joan I'll go with might. I've added a paragraph about this -- certainly some people have referred to copying apt/archive from one system to another. AskUbuntu is probably the place to dig around about this since Ubuntu uses the same system.
    – goldilocks
    Jan 27, 2015 at 21:01
  • Thanks for all the comments folks, I do think the network installer is tha real way to go, but for learning about how things work, command etc etc I think it may be a worthwhile exercise. If I brick the thing, well I don't have anything on it right now, its not used for anything, just learning. I'll just reimage the SD card and start anew. Thanks! Jan 27, 2015 at 21:38
  • You could put the sdcard into a different system and use 'chroot' on the file system on the sd card, thrn install the required software.
    – user236012
    Jan 28, 2015 at 12:14
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    If your apt state is current, apt-get can be told via commandline option to print the uris it would fetch, but not actually do so. You can then wget or curl these with another system. Jan 29, 2015 at 17:37

Download the files to a USB drive. Mount the drive install from there. It's been a long time since i played with Linux... but i remember installing software using a CD Rom. I.e before the Internet.

  • I remember having to mail order them. I don't think any major distro does this anymore though, except for the base install. You can create a local repo but the method looks pretty tedious (you have to maintain meta files for the repo, etc).
    – goldilocks
    Jan 29, 2015 at 18:23

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