Re: Maze of Twisty Turny Little Package Managers
On Wednesday 29 November 2006 02:13, Arlie Stephens wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> It appears that there are a lot of tools for managing packages and
> dependencies on debian - dpkg, apt-get, aptitude, synaptic, ????.
> To what extent do these tools understand the same data, i.e. to what
> extent can one mix and match between them?
It's not a problem as long as you understand what parts of the information
In terms of history first came dpkg, next dselect, then apt-get and then
aptitude. Both apt-get and aptitude work with dpkg behind the scenes.
synaptic (I think that there is also a kde version) is just a glorified GUI
based aptitude AFAIK.
all know what packages are installed but they handle dependencies a bit
dpkg is used for installing local deb files (files downloaded yourself or
created locally). The rest are tools for managing dependencies in a smarter
way, mainly installing all dependencies of a package when needed.
the main advantage of aptitude (and synaptic) over previous options is the
ability to remember which packages were installed automatically and remove
them automatically when no longer needed. for dselect and dpkg and apt-get
there is an external tool called deborphan that tries to fined unneeded
libraries without prior knowledge. Another advantage is that you can
configure your prefrences about what to do with recomended and sugested
dselect has an advantage when porting a system in that it can dump and reload
the list of installed packages (can be done with aptitude with the aid on an
external script and a lot of parsing but it is difficult).
apt-get is mainly for people who got used to it before aptitude came into the
picture and don't want to switch (although aptitude has a command line
interface which is identical to apt-get).
apt-get and up have the added advantage that you can configure in /etc/apt to
download package list from stable, testing, unstable and experimental and
then give package or computer specific preferences as to which repository to
use for what.
> I notice some confusion (someone else's question) about which are the
> 'official' or favored method in debian - but my confusion is even more
> fundamental. To what extent is it safe to follow people's
> recomendations, when one person habitually uses apt-get, another
> mentions aptitude, etc. etc.?
> Related to this, I've a problem specific to a combination of aptitude
> and my employer's internal servers. (We've got mirrors of several
> linux distros, with company "value add", which I'm expected to use
> rather than the official distributions.) The people maintaining these
> sites don't seem to use aptitude at all, and I think they've broken
> something, because aptitude always tells me that most upgradeable
> packages are "held" at some current, lower version. (They claim
> not to have done this on purpose, which was my first guess, since I
> can imagine them wanting to test and officially 'bless' new versions.)
> Any idea what they could have done, and how I could work around it?
> (I don't think it's debian itself, because my home system - which uses
> the official sites - doesn't have any such problem.)
> Perhaps what I really need is some kind of FAQ for coping with the
> large number of package management options and their confusing
> interrelationships. Does any such thing exist?
> (Arlie Stephens email@example.com)