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Re: A case study of a new user turned off debian

Greg Stark wrote:
> The only interface for rolling back is switching the entire machine to an
> earlier distribution and telling apt to try to downgrade -- which is unlikely
> to work. And worse, every time you run apt it only downloads and unpacks
> *more* packages, all of which, of course, fail as well.

(I'm suprised that I need to include my attachment on this list; I
normally only post it to -user.)

Hardly true. Besides dpkg, if your friend had testing in sources.list in
addition to unstable, he would only need to open aptitude, hit enter on
libc6, and he would get a list like this (this is older unstable and
stable though):

  --\ Versions
  ih  2.3.2.ds1-8                                                                 
  ph  2.2.5-6

Press + on the desired version. Here it breaks 600 packages, but
presumably it would not with the libc6 in testing. And yes, aptitude
will really downgrade[1] and I'm sure this qualifies as an "interface".
Not the best possible one..

Suggested project: Create a package that, a-l-apt-move, pulls packages
out of the apt cache and creates apt repositories from them. But make it
create a new repository after every upgrade, by hooking into apt. And
auto-add these repositories to sources.list, and remove old ones after a
while, the whole nine yards.

see shy jo

[1] vis --

Reading changelogs... Done
dpkg - warning: downgrading pdmenu from 1.2.82 to 1.2.69.
(Reading database ... 163455 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace pdmenu 1.2.82 (using .../pdmenu/pdmenu_1.2.69_i386.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement pdmenu ...
Setting up pdmenu (1.2.69) ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/pdmenurc ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/menu-methods/pdmenu ...

Press return to continue.

Reading changelogs... Done
(Reading database ... 163456 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace pdmenu 1.2.69 (using .../pdmenu_1.2.82_i386.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement pdmenu ...
Setting up pdmenu (1.2.82) ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/pdmenurc ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/menu-methods/pdmenu ...

Press return to continue.
Eight reasons why you should be using aptitude instead of apt-get.

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.

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.

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