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My ongoing debate (with myself) APT vs. aptitude

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2005-12-20

So, i've had a lot of time on my hands, been reading around and i found aptitude (a frontend to APT) is the recommended program for installing and upgrading software on (at least) debian.
I was planning on using it next time i installed debian, but found this bug:

It seems pretty serious, and i'm not sure if i want to rely on a program with a bug that serious to install all my software with. Though i could probably just use the command line counterpart for everything (I don't really know how to navigate the UI anyway).

So, has anybody used it? What are your experiences with it?

Here are some good things i've read about it:


Aptitude has the additional advantage that it remembers which
packages were installed at your request instead of as dependencies, and can
automatically remove those dependencies if you uninstall the packages that
caused them to be installed.

Which is something that apt doesn't do, and i've had problems with in the past. Also it supposedly installs recommended packages by default (which can be turned off)

dylunio's picture
Joined: 2005-12-20

I've never understood aptitude's UI, and have found it very confusing to use. If I use apt in the command line I'll use apt-get foo bar baz. If I want to use a frontend I'll use Synaptic since it's a very good GUI frontend in my opinion.

Note that I'm not much of an apt or debian fan, and thus havn't used these utilities for long periods of time.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04

When I was using Ubuntu I gave aptitude a try a few times, but as dylunio says it's pretty confusing. I bet that if we'd give it more chance we'd probably get used to it and maybe appreciate it better, but if you don't mind GUI's then synaptic is really a way to go.

Synaptic must be the best GUI package management front end I've ever tried, which is probably why many other front ends (like smart) tend to be modeled after it.

I also think synaptic has the features you quoted.

Joined: 2005-12-20

Just to end the thread, after a bit of chatting in #debian (that channel is kind of scary) i've found out that aptitude is indeed the recommended program to use for package management and all the bug really means is that if you use apt-get and try and switch to aptitude it might suggest removing a bunch of programs because aptitude keeps a list of programs that were installed as dependencies and by request (by you). The bug makes it so programs installed by apt-get look like leftover deps and so it suggests to remove them (sorta like emerge --depclean on gentoo). Since my install will be fresh i'll just use aptitude from the start and not have problems.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 200