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Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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7.1.3 aptitude

aptitude is a package manager for Debian GNU/Linux systems that provides a frontend to the apt package management infrastructure. aptitude is a text-based interface using the curses library, it can be used to perform management tasks in a fast and easy way.

aptitude provides the functionality of dselect and apt-get, as well as many additional features not found in either program:

  • aptitude offers access to all versions of a package.
  • aptitude logs all its actions in /var/log/aptitude.
  • aptitude makes it easy to keep track of obsolete software by listing it under "Obsolete and Locally Created Packages".
  • aptitude includes a fairly powerful system for searching particular packages and limiting the package display. Users familiar with mutt will pick up quickly, as mutt was the inspiration for the expression syntax.
  • aptitude tracks which packages have been installed due to dependencies and removes them automatically when the packages that needed them are removed from the system.
  • aptitude can automatically install Recommended: packages[ 5].
  • aptitude in full screen mode has su functionality embedded and can be run by a normal user. It will call su (and ask for the root password, if any) when you really need administrative privileges

You can use aptitude through a visual interface (simply run aptitude) or directly from the command line. The command line syntax used is very similar to the one used in apt-get. For example, to install the foo package, you can run aptitude install foo.

Note that aptitude is the recommended program by Debian to install a package and/or to upgrade your system.

For more informations, read the manual page aptitude(8) and install the aptitude-doc-en package.


Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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