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C.2 The Package Management Tools

Debian GNU/Linux provides three main package management tools:


The original package management tool, which is used from the command line. The newer package management tools, which most users find more convenient, invoke dpkg on behalf of the user. However, dpkg provides access to some functions - particularly query functions - not available using the more user-friendly tools.


A graphical front-end to dpkg, which lets the user browse a list of available packages and select packages for installation or removal.


A command-line tool that lets the user maintain a list of sources from which to obtain packages. Sources can be files on mounted filesystems, files on CD-ROM, files on FTP servers, and so on. When the user requests that a package be installed, apt-get locates the package file on one of its servers, downloads the package if necessary, and installs the package.

This appendix does not attempt to cover all the features and options of each tool. Instead, the material is organized around a set of common system administration tasks, usually presenting only one technique for dealing with each task. As you learn more about Debian, you'll discover other ways of performing these tasks.

Since package management generally involves manipulation of files with restricted permissions, most package management operations must be performed by root.

Previous: C.1 Packages Learning Debian GNU/Linux Next: C.3 Using dpkg
C.1 Packages Book Index C.3 Using dpkg

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