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Re: fetching older packages?

Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> I've been using dselect for a few years now and never really had a
> problem with it ... occasionally using apt command-line tools when
> necessary ...
> Seems like a lot of people don't care for dselect.  What do you find
> wrong with dselect, and why do you like aptitude better?

I used dselect for 6 years or so. I have even fixed some of its bugs and
added things like configurable colors to it. Eventually though, it just
comes time to move on to the next better thing. Aptitude has many
features dselect lacks. For me the killer feature was tracking of
automatically removed packages, so old libraries don't pile up. 

I've attached my aptitude tips document. While it is mostly aimed at
apt-get users, most of the points apply to dselect users too.

> Also, there are no new packages available that I don't know about yet
> ... will aptitude tell me about them in a really obvious way, as dselect
> does by putting them right up top?  If I look at them in aptitude, will
> they still show up as new in dselect, or will they be marked as seen?

They use different lists of what's new, one does not effect the other.

Aptitude displays new pacages in a "New packages" section which behaves
much like dselect's, except it does not clear it until you press the 'c'
key. This is useful, I remember accidentially exiting dselect and losing
new packages I had not yet reviewed. With aptitude I can put off looking
at new packages until I feel like it.

see shy jo
Seven 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.

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