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Re: aptitude has Priority: standard, why?

On 03/31/2015 at 09:18 AM, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 31, 2015, at 05:14, Fabian Greffrath wrote:
>> I am curious why the aptitude package still has Priority: standard,
>> i.e. why it is installed next to apt in each and every Debian
>> installation?
>> Aptitude isn't recommended for dist-upgrading since Lenny, I
>> think.
>> Do we really need to have two CLI package management tools
>> installed, is this reasonable?
> Well, aptitude IS the CLI package manager.  As far as I know, it is
> also the most complete and advanced package manager Debian has.  Make
> no mistake: aptitude is the Debian package manager you should be
> using if you can deal with text mode and the command line.
> apt-get is the simple tool everyone knows about, though. It also
> needs another simple tools like apt-cache to be really usable. We
> can't very well leave them out of the "standard" Debian system, based
> on popularity alone.  And the dependency resolver in apt-get is often
> far easier to tailor for dist-upgrade than the one in aptitude.

Not for dist-upgrade alone; it's far saner and easier to handle in
_most_ cases, in my experience.

Repeatedly over the years - I'd almost say consistently - I've seen
aptitude report that a requested package change (install, remove, or
some combination) would result in an invalid or conflicting dependency
situation, and suggest a solution which involves _not making the change
which was requested_.

If the requested configuration is, in fact, contradictory, then this is
of course reasonable. However, in most if not all such cases, requesting
the same change of apt-get produces a workable dependency solution

Sometimes (when I've bothered to stick with it long enough), telling
aptitude "no, try again" a few dozen times (and rejecting "solutions"
which would downgrade or remove dozens, if not hundreds, of packages
along the way) will eventually get it to suggest a solution which will
make that change without extraneous side effects - which may or may not
be the same as the one provided by apt-get.

But as long as aptitude continues to take this brain-dead approach to
dependency resolution, necessitating digging through obviously-bad
suggestions before finding something as reasonable as what apt-get
provides easily, it is IMO not viable for actual use - except perhaps by
people who already know completely what they are doing and how to
override aptitude's suggestions.

If there's a way to configure aptitude not to do that already, then that
configuration should be the default.

(Note that I have not seen this recently, for the simple reason that
I've rarely bothered _trying_ aptitude for actual package-management
changes in years; however, every single time I _have_ tried it, I've
seen this behavior in some form. The only things I still use aptitude
for are 'aptitude why' and 'aptitude why-not', since there does not
appear to be any analog to those on the apt or apt-get side.)

> That said, apt-get / apt-cache are simplified package management
> tools. They're useful, and easier to tailor to the dist-upgrade
> process.  However, for day-to-day use, apt-get/apt-cache have nowhere
> near all the capabilities of a fully featured package manager like
> aptitude.  You can probably duplicate most of aptitude's
> functionality with apt-get+apt-cache+lots of scripting nowadays, but
> still...

Does aptitude include an equivalently functional analog for apt-cache?

I remember, years ago, I asked on some Debian list what the intended
replacement for apt-cache was, since I'd been told that apt-get was
deprecated in favor of aptitude and I'd seen that aptitude did not seem
to have equivalents for the apt-cache commands.

I was told that apt-cache was not going away, and that the "deprecated"
claim was probably incorrect. As far as I recall, however, no one
disputed the idea that aptitude did not have such equivalents.

   The Wanderer

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.         -- George Bernard Shaw

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