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Thread: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

  1. #1
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    HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic

    What is aptitude?
    Aptitude is a package manager for Debian and Debian based systems (similar to say, synaptic).

    Why should you use aptitude over synaptic/apt-get?
    The million dollar reason: it remembers dependencies downloaded to install a particular package and removes them automatically when you remove that package. Synaptic only gives you the history log, and apt-get not even that.
    For example:

    I install wmaker using synaptic, it installs libwraster along with it.
    I purge wmaker out using synaptic, it leaves libwraster. I have to manually search for it and uninstall.

    Now this may not seem a big deal, but imagine if wmaker had 20 dependencies.
    On the other hand:

    I install wmaker using aptitude, it installs libwraster with it.
    I purge wmaker out using aptitude, it figures out libwraster isn't needed anymore, and gets rid of that too.


    Awesome, isn't it?
    But I held back from using this rather nifty tool because I didn't want to learn how to use it. Now I can use it, at least to do simple tasks. So I thought I would share that knowledge.

    aptitude can run in two modes:

    1. command line mode
      I will not write about this, other than to say the commands stay like apt-get .. which means you get aptitude power with apt-get commands.
      For eg.,
      sudo aptitude install wmaker
      sudo aptitude update
      sudo aptitude upgrade

      Note: to do a default upgrade, use the commandline above. Pressing U in the gui seems to do a smart upgrade, and that isn't something I always want.
    2. gui mode
      You start this with: sudo aptitude

      f10 : pulls down the menu
      Note: it seems f10 pulls down the gnome-terminal menu. If you want to use f10, then you may need to turn off the gnome-terminal menu for the session. Alternately, just click on the aptitude menu, the mouse click works.
      q : quit
      u : updates package lists
      / : search for a package (firefox style)
      n : find next
      f : forget new packages, useful if you have a habit of peeking into new packages available after each update.

      Once you have found your package,
      enter: to see information about that package
      + : mark a package for install or upgrade
      - (minus) : mark a package for removal
      _ (underscore): mark a package for purging
      : : cancel any action on the selected package

      U: to mark all upgradable packages (for upgrade )
      Once you have marked your changes,
      g : apply those changes

      If you are in a screen which says displays package information, and you want to go back to the earlier screen, press f6 or q.


    Once you press g, all the changes get listed. You can modify any of the changes, and then press g again to finally apply marked changes. I'll keep adding to this HOWTO as I learn new things, and if you have any suggestions/tips/corrections please add to this thread .. I'll update this post.
    Last edited by tread; August 13th, 2005 at 01:14 AM. Reason: Some more commands

  2. #2
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    Quote Originally Posted by tread
    Why should you use aptitude over synaptic/apt-get?
    The million dollar reason: it remembers dependencies downloaded to install a particular package and removes them automatically when you remove that package. Synaptic only gives you the history log, and apt-get (as far as I know) not even that.
    The million and and half dollar reason I'd say. Nice job.
    /path/to/Truth

  3. #3
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    Thanks .. I had been putting off using aptitude because synaptic is so much easier. I don't think I'll be moving from aptitude for a while now though

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    But I've removed stuff with apt-get before and it removes all of the stuff that came with the application as long as it's not needed by anything else.

    Although, when you do an update in aptitude I will give you that it's a lot prettier if you have terminal colours enabled
    - Kev
    17.10 on several Linode instances.
    Tech Support for some US based cell carrier or another.
    Husband, dog and fish father, navigator of immigration law.

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    But I've removed stuff with apt-get before and it removes all of the stuff that came with the application as long as it's not needed by anything else.
    Doesn't work for me then .. I have to remove (using the same wmaker example) libwraster manually.

  6. #6
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    ooOoo.. You're right. weird. (I just tried wmaker)
    I remember an asterisk removal being quite complete and getting rid of everything.

    Odd.
    - Kev

  7. #7
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    Quote Originally Posted by tread
    Why should you use aptitude over synaptic/apt-get?
    The million dollar reason: it remembers dependencies downloaded to install a particular package and removes them automatically when you remove tahat package. Synaptic only gives you the history log, and apt-get (as far as I know) not even that.
    Not to bash apitude but this might not always be a good thing. Lets say you install package a and b and package a and b required dependency a. If you decide you want to remove package a but keep package b then dependency a is removed so you won't be able to use package b. Correct me if I'm mistaken.

  8. #8
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    i've always used apititude, i just find it fast and powerful,

    aptitude will only uninstall packages if there aren't conflicts,

    it's really easy to tweak various actions by pressing "g" to see what it will do, and then pressing "Esc" changing various packages and then pressing g again to see if you've fixed any inconsistencies etc... it works really well, espieccally if you're running something like breezy where packages get messed around with a lot

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu Breezy 5.10

    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    Quote Originally Posted by tread
    HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic

    What is aptitude?
    Aptitude is a package manager for Debian and Debian based systems (similar to say, synaptic).

    Why should you use aptitude over synaptic/apt-get?
    The million dollar reason: it remembers dependencies downloaded to install a particular package and removes them automatically when you remove that package. Synaptic only gives you the history log, and apt-get not even that.
    For example:

    I install wmaker using synaptic, it installs libwraster along with it.
    I purge wmaker out using synaptic, it leaves libwraster. I have to manually search for it and uninstall.

    Now this may not seem a big deal, but imagine if wmaker had 20 dependencies.
    On the other hand:

    I install wmaker using aptitude, it installs libwraster with it.
    I purge wmaker out using aptitude, it figures out libwraster isn't needed anymore, and gets rid of that too.


    Awesome, isn't it?
    But I held back from using this rather nifty tool because I didn't want to learn how to use it. Now I can use it, at least to do simple tasks. So I thought I would share that knowledge.

    aptitude can run in two modes:

    1. command line mode
      I will not write about this, other than to say the commands stay like apt-get .. which means you get aptitude power with apt-get commands.
      For eg.,
      sudo aptitude install wmaker
    2. gui mode
      You start this with: sudo aptitude

      f10 : pulls down the menu
      q : quit
      u : updates package lists
      / : search for a package (firefox style)
      n : find next
      f : forget new packages, useful if you have a habit of peeking into new packages available after each update.

      Once you have found your package,
      enter: to see information about that package
      + : mark a package for install or upgrade
      - (minus) : mark a package for removal
      _ (underscore): mark a package for purging
      : : cancel any action on the selected package

      U: to mark all upgradable packages (for upgrade )
      Once you have marked your changes,
      g : apply those changes

      If you are in a screen which says displays package information, and you want to go back to the earlier screen, press f6 or q.


    Once you press g, all the changes get listed. You can modify any of the changes, and then press g again to finally apply marked changes. I'll keep adding to this HOWTO as I learn new things, and if you have any suggestions/tips/corrections please add to this thread .. I'll update this post.
    Hate to sound really stupid here. In Aptitude, what's the difference between purging and removing something? Does "purge" remove the dependencies installed with a given package, and "removal" ignore the dependencies but remove the packege itself?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: use aptitude instead of synaptic and why.

    Purging removes the config files too, remove doesnt do that. For example, if you install a package and modify some settings remove will keep those changes while purge will get rid of them.

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