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Re: Benefits (and risks) of using Sid

On Wed, Aug 06, 2008 at 20:01:46 -0700, Daniel Burrows wrote:

[ snip: a bit of goofing off ]

>   I actually am curious to hear what people like about the program,
> because I'm (slowly) working out ideas for redesigning the interface
> and I don't want to accidentally break useful features.  Any breakage
> should be fully intentional, that's my motto.
>   Hence my oh-so-subtle prodding...

Here is a list of my favorite aptitude-interactive-UI features (I run
Sid; many of them are probably less relevant for "stable" users):

- browsing the list of new packages, then clearing it

- the quick way to evaluate aptitude's proposals for resolving
  dependency conflicts during an upgrade

- the summary of the scheduled actions, especially the sorting in
  categories (upgraded, installed as a dependency, removed since no
  longer needed, etc.)

- Fine-grained control of installation of recommended and suggested
  packages: Before any scheduled action is carried out, I can look at
  the relevant list of recommended and suggested packages and decide
  which ones I want to install and if I want to mark any given one as

- quickly put a hold or a forbid-version on a package

- looking at changelogs before I let aptitude do something

- consulting apt-listbugs and apt-listchanges before things actually
  happen (I think that this one is the same in command-line use,

- the "limit view" function combined with the powerful search patterns
  when I don't yet know which packages I need for $FEATURE

- quick traversal of dependency chains, forward and reverse, for the
  rare cases in which aptitude cannot figure out what to do by itself

Some very subjective ideas for possible improvements (not necessarily
simplifications of the UI, though):

- Sometimes it would be handy if I could fine-tune the aggressiveness of
  aptitude's conflict resolution behavior, i.e. when I notice that the
  normal "U" behavior leads to undesirable actions then I would like to
  be able to gradually move from "safe-upgrade" to "full-upgrade"
  behavior while I can see what is going to happen in the interactive
  interface. I could stop at the optimal point and would only have to
  fix a few things manually.

- I would like to be able to declare "favorites" among packages, to
  guide conflict resolution.

- It would be nice to have "apt-cache policy"-equivalent information in
  the versions display of packages. Right now I find it difficult to
  figure out in which archive a given version can be found. (As a matter
  of fact, that is the only reason I still use apt-cache, aside from
  very simple searches for which apt-cache's dumber-but-faster search
  function is sufficient.) 

I am also looking forward to seeing how the summer-of-code GTK+
interface will turn out; maybe that will help to bring the remaining
benighted souls towards the light... 

Regards,            | http://users.icfo.es/Florian.Kulzer
          Florian   |

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