Re: To dselect or aptitude, that is the question
On (20/04/04 22:27), Joey Hess wrote:
> J.S.Sahambi wrote:
> > I have been using apt and dselect for some time. Can any body tell me
> > about the advantages/disadvantages of dselect and aptitude? and which is
> > better?
> Nine reasons why you should be using aptitude instead of apt-get or dselect.
> 1. aptitude can look just like apt-get
> If you run 'aptitude update' or 'aptitude upgrade' or 'aptitude
> install', it looks and works just like apt-get, with a few enhancements.
> So there is no learning curve.
> (If you're a dselect user, learning curve is obviously not one of your
> 2. aptitude tracks automatically installed packages
> Stop worrying about pruning unused libraries and support packages from
> your system. If you use aptitude to install everything, it will keep
> track of what packages are pulled in by dependencies alone, and remove
> those packages when they are no longer needed.
> 3. aptitude sanely handles recommends
> A long-standing failure of apt-get has been its lack of support for
> the Recommends relationship. Which is a problem because many packages
> in Debian rely on Recommends to pull in software that the average user
> generally uses with the package. This is a not uncommon cause of
> trouble, even though apt-get recently became able to at least mention
> recommended packages, it's easy to miss its warnings.
> Aptitude supports Recommends by default, and can be confgigured to
> support Suggests too. It even supports installing recommended packages
> when used in command-line mode.
> 4. use aptitude as a normal user and avoid hosing your system
> Maybe you didn't know that you can run aptitude in gui mode as a regular
> user. Make any changes you'd like to try out. If you get into a real
> mess, you can hit 'q' and exit, your changes will not be saved.
> (Aptitude also lets you use ctrl-u to undo changes.) Since it's running
> as a normal user, you cannot hose your system until you tell aptitude to
> do something, at which point it will prompt you for your root password.
> 5. aptitude has a powerful UI and searching capabilities
> Between aptitude's categorical browser and its great support for
> mutt-style filtering and searching of packages by name, description,
> maintainer, dependencies, etc, you should be able to find packages
> faster than ever before using aptitude.
> 6. aptitude makes it easy to keep track of obsolete software
> If Debian stops distributing a package, apt will leave it on your system
> indefinitly, with no warnings, and no upgrades. Aptitude lists such
> packages in its "Obsolete and Locally Created Packages" section, so you
> can be informed of the problem and do something about it.
> 7. aptitude has an interface to the Debian task system
> Aptitude lets you use Debian's task system as it was designed to be
> used. You can browse the available tasks, select a task for install, and
> then dig into it and de-select parts of the task that you don't want.
> apt-get has no support for tasks, and aptitude is better even than
> special purpose tools like tasksel.
> 8. aptitude supports multiple sources
> If your sources.list is configured to make multiple versions of a
> package available, aptitude lets you drill down to see the available
> versions and pick a non-default version to install. If a package breaks
> in unstable, just roll it back to the version in testing.
> 9. aptitude logs its actions
> Aptitude logs package it installs, upgrades, and removes to
> /varlog/aptitude, which can be useful to work out why things started
> breaking after yesterday's upgrade, or when you removed a partiticlar
This is very useful. I've been using aptitude for a while (moved from
dselect, which I was reasonably happy with) and found it better than
dselect for reasons I found difficult to articulate. Not only have you
articulated all the reasons I like it but highlighted features I haven't
yet discovered ;)
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