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Managing Debian Software with APT (apt-get etc)
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3.7 Using APT with dselect

dselect is a program that helps users select Debian packages for installation. It's considered somewhat complicated and rather boring, but with practice you can get the hang of its console-based ncurses interface.

One feature of dselect is that it knows how to make use of the capacity Debian packages have for "recommending" and "suggesting" other packages for installation. To use the program, run `dselect' as root. Choose 'apt' as your access method. This isn't truly necessary, but if you're not using a CD ROM and you want to download packages from the Internet, it's the best way to use dselect.

To gain a better understanding of dselect's usage, read the dselect documentation found on the Debian page https://www.debian.org/doc/ddp.

After making your selections with dselect, use:

     # apt-get -u dselect-upgrade

as in the example below:

     # apt-get -u dselect-upgrade
     Reading Package Lists... Done
     Building Dependency Tree... Done
     The following packages will be REMOVED:
       lbxproxy 
     The following NEW packages will be installed:
       bonobo console-tools-libs cpp-3.0 enscript expat fingerd gcc-3.0
       gcc-3.0-base icepref klogd libdigest-md5-perl libfnlib0 libft-perl
       libgc5-dev libgcc300 libhtml-clean-perl libltdl0-dev libsasl-modules
       libstdc++3.0 metamail nethack proftpd-doc psfontmgr python-newt talk tidy
       util-linux-locales vacation xbill xplanet-images 
     The following packages will be upgraded
       debian-policy 
     1 packages upgraded, 30 newly installed, 1 to remove and 0  not upgraded.
     Need to get 7140kB of archives. After unpacking 16.3MB will be used.
     Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

Compare with what we see when running apt-get dist-upgrade on the same system:

     # apt-get -u dist-upgrade   
     Reading Package Lists... Done
     Building Dependency Tree... Done
     Calculating Upgrade... Done
     The following packages will be upgraded
       debian-policy 
     1 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0  not upgraded.
     Need to get 421kB of archives. After unpacking 25.6kB will be freed.
     Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

Note that many of the packages from above are being installed because other packages "suggested" or "recommended" them. Others are being installed or removed (in the case of lbxproxy, for example) per the choices we made while navigating through dselect's package listing. Dselect can be a powerful tool when used in conjunction with APT.


Managing Debian Software with APT (apt-get etc)
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