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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
>    problems.)
> 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
>    package.
Thanks Joey

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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