Monday, November 23, 2009

Using aptitude vs apt-get

Taken the Debian Wiki on Aptitude

Aptitude is an Ncurses based FrontEnd to Apt, the debian package manager. Since it is text based, it is run from a terminal or a CLI (command line interface). Aptitude has a number of useful features, including:
  1. a mutt-like syntax for matching packages in a flexible manner
  2. mark packages as "automatically installed" or "manually installed" so that packages can be auto-removed when no longer required
  3. colorful preview of actions about to be taken
  4. dselect-like persistence of user actions
  5. the ability to retrieve and display the Debian changelog of most packagesAptCLI-like (= apt-get + apt-cache) command line mode ("aptitude install foo")
  6. Score-based and (usually) smarter dependency resolver than apt-get 

For Linux Mint 6, it already come with Aptitude pre-installed. Some useful commands are

# aptitude (To run from the terminal)

After running it, use:
  • F10 to access the menu and use aptitude. This is the main key.
  • ? for help
  • The 'up', 'down', 'left', 'right' keys to navigate.
  • The 'Enter' key to select
  • The '+' or '-' key to install/update or remove a package
  • The 'g' key to preview/confirm actions
  • 'q' to quit 

 You can also commands simliar to apt-get like

# aptitude install mplayer
# aptitude update mplayer
# aptitude upgrade mplayer
# aptitude remove mplayer
# aptitude search mplayer
# aptitude --help (To get the rest of the options)

What is the advantages of using Aptitude versus apt-get? There are a lot similarities and overlap. From what I have gather from the forum and discussion, the advantages of Aptitude over Apt-get are as followed:
  1. Better Dependency Handling
  2. Better at removing obsolete packages from your system
  3. A different log presentation of the what packages have been affected during the installation / removal of package. On the other hands, apt-get tend to log what was present the information on the console during installation.
What's my verdict? I pretty neutral to both. But may stick to apt-get due to familiarity.... :)

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