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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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Debian Reference
Chapter 6 - Debian package management


aptitude is now the preferred text front end for APT, the Advanced Package Tool. It remembers which packages you deliberately installed and which packages were pulled in through dependencies; the latter packages are automatically de-installed by aptitude when they are no longer needed by any deliberately installed packages. It has advanced package-filtering features but these can be difficult to configure.

synaptic is now the preferred Gtk GUI front end for APT. Its package filtering capability is easier to use than aptitude's. It also has experimental support for Debian Package Tags.

To reduce the network load on the Debian repositories and to speed up your downloads you should get packages from Debian mirror sites.

If you need to install the same package on several machines on your local network then you can set up a local HTTP proxy using squid for packages downloaded through APT. If necessary, set the http_proxy environment variable or set the http value in /etc/apt/apt.conf.

Although APT's pinning feature, described in apt_preferences(5), is powerful, its effects can be difficult to understand and manage. You should consider it an Advanced Feature.

The use of the method described in chroot, Section 8.6.35 is desirable for simultaneously securing both system stability and access to the latest versions of software.

This chapter is based on a post-Woody system. Some features may require a Sarge system or later.


6.1 Introduction

If reading all the developer documentation is too much for you, read this chapter first and start enjoying the full power of Debian with testing/unstable :-)


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