The Debian project is distributed as a collection of packages, 48,000 of them, as of Debian Wheezy. These packages are categorized into three areas: main, contrib and non-free, mainly based on licensing requirements, e.g., Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG).
The main area contains free software that complies with DFSG. The contrib area contains free software that complies with DFSG, but relies on non-free software for compilation or execution. Finally, the non-free area contains non-free packages that are not compliant with DFSG but redistributable. The main repository is considered a part of Debian, but neither contrib or non-free repository is. The latter two are maintained and provided only as a convenience to users.
Enable Contrib and Non-free Repositories on Debian
If you want to install any non-free package maintained by Debian, you need to enable contrib and non-free repositories. To do so, open /etc/apt/sources.list with a text editor, and append "contrib non-free" to each source.
The following is an example of /etc/apt/sources.list for Debian Wheezy.
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free deb-src http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free # wheezy-updates, previously known as 'volatile' deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free
After modifying sources of packages, run the following command to download package index files for contrib and non-free repositories.
If you are using aptitude, run the following instead.
Now you are ready to search and install any non-free package on Debian.
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