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Re: Remove unwanted, orphaned files and dependencies

On Sun, 1 Jun 2014 05:49:24 -0700 (PDT)
Horatio Leragon <hleragon@yahoo.com> wrote:


> I read somewhere on the internet that Debian discourages its users to
> use the 'aptitude' command. Debian encourages us to use the 'apt'
> command. Is that correct?

For the last few upgrades (to my knowledge, maybe always) from one
version of Stable to the next, Debian has recommended that one is used,
as it will deal better with dependencies. As I recall, apt-get was
recommended for the upgrade to Wheezy, and aptitude for the last couple
before that.

Other than that, it is a matter of personal preference. Aptitude has
a command-line text mode and an interactive text-graphics mode, apt-get
is older and is purely text. Aptitude merges various tools under one
command, apt-get, apt-cache and others make up a small suite to do
(roughly) the same jobs. If you have a GUI installed, Synaptic is also
an option.

They have their own meta-data for package status, such as which are held
back from upgrade, so mixing the tools if you are doing anything unusual
is not recommended. When you upgrade versions, for example, it is
recommended to use *both* apt-get and aptitude to remove holds and
verify package status.

Not wishing to add confusion, but you may also find references to
'dpkg'. This is the low-level package tool that all the apt tools are
front-ends for. It does no dependency checking, and will do exactly
what you tell it to do, so it is somewhat dangerous to use. It can do
things the apt tools cannot, however, (the man page is quite large) so
you may occasionally need to resort to using it, *carefully*. 

A few of its options are simple and safe: 
  dpkg --get-selections > <a file> 
  is a useful way to keep a record of the installed states of packages,
and is probably a good thing to do regularly as part of a backup
regimen. dpkg-reconfigure is a utility to re-run the configuration of
a package that normally happens only at install time.


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