["FrontPage"] > [:Portal_Apt:Install and update] > APT in command line

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Traduction(s): [:AptCLIDutch:Dutch] [:Apt en ligne de commande:Fran├žais]

This page describes how to use various CLI (command line interface) Apt tools.


(Note: A CLI or root console (in GNOME) can most likely be found at "Applications -> System Tools-> Root Terminal", and "Applications -> System Tools-> Terminal" for a normal user console.)

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Configuring Apt Sources

Apt downloads packages and installs them onto your computer. To do that it connects to software repositories, or sources, which contain all the packages you'd want. You can configure Apt to use a source (or multiple sources) to get these packages from. There are many sources - web (HTTP) servers, FTP servers, CD-ROM disks, network servers (etc). Generally users download packages from the internet, since most users don't download all 14 CD's (for the current Sarge release).

Editing Sources Directly

You can edit the file which determines your sources directly:

{{{1. Open a root console 2a. Type "nano /etc/apt/sources.list"

2b. Type "gedit /etc/apt/sources.list" 3. Edit! }}}

You should read the manual for this configuration file first - type "man sources.list" at a console window.

Using apt-setup

You can use the apt-setup tool which generates automatic source lines and adds them to the /etc/apt/sources.list (the file which configures your apt sources). Note: apt-setup doesn't wipe your existing configuration - it simply appends more sources. apt-setup is a [:DebConf:debconf] wizard.

Note: apt-setup was part of base-config which is no longer available in DebianEtch or DebianUnstable, please refer to [DebianInstaller/RemoveBaseConfig] and to http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot/2005/12/msg00259.html for details.

{{{1. Open a root console 2. Type "apt-setup" (as root) 3. Follow the Wizard! }}}

Using apt-spy

apt-spy will generate a sources.list file (the configuration file for apt package sources) for you! It measures the latency and bandwidth to servers, and picks the best one.

To get started, you'll need to install it, and then read how to use it:

1. Open a root console
2. Type "apt-get install apt-spy"
3. Read about how to use apt-spy: type "man apt-spy"

** more explanation is needed. There are 17 options for apt-spy. No example of usage is given here or in the man pages. What is the minimum number of options required? Running it as a beginner usually only results in the list of options being presented with no indication of what else is needed.

# Example first time usage:
apt-spy -a North-America -d stable

Using a graphical program

If you are using Gnome (I don't know for KDE) which is the default in Debian, you can configure your Apt sources with a graphical program. You will found it in:

You'll be prompted for [:Root#head-ce8196a32ccb751d41eb2cdd1b66fa97cbc0a80c:Root password]

Installing Packages

{{{1. Open a root console 2. Type "apt-get install <package>" where package is the name of the package (application) you want to install.}}}


To reinstall a package type in a terminal: {{{apt-get install <package_name> --reinstall }}} To reinstall with all dependecies, type: {{{apt-get install --reinstall $(apt-cache depends --recurse --installed x-window-system ||grep '[ ]') }}}

Removing a Package

{{{1. Open a root console 2. Type "apt-get remove <package>" where package is the name of the package (application) you want to remove.}}}

To also delete files and directories created by the package after installation, such as configuration or status (Warning: this may include files modified by the user), use:

apt-get remove --purge <package>

Updating a Package

{{{1. Open a root console 2. Type "apt-get install <package>" where package is the name of the package (application) you want to update.}}}

Keeping your system up-to-date

{{{1. Open a root console 2. Type "apt-get update". 3. Type "apt-get upgrade" (does all the "noninterfering" package upgrades). 4. Type "apt-get dist-upgrade" (This does package upgrades that require installing or removing some other package. Check the packages to be REMOVED: Any package lib<foo> is fine. If it's removing something you use, and there is nothing obviously replacing it (e.g. emacs20 replaced by emacs21), you may want to make yourself a note so you can reinstall it later (when a compatible package is available), or "pin" that package (see "man apt_preferences") before doing the "dist-upgrade".}}}

Search for packages

{{{1. Open a console 2. Type "apt-cache search <string>" where <string> is a list of keywords to search for.}}}

You may want to pipe the output (redirect the output) into "less" (a scrollable viewer) since the list may be huge:

apt-cache search <string> | less

List installed packages

{{{1. Open a console 2. Type "dpkg --list" 3. You may want to pipe (redirect) that to a program called "less" since the list will be long (type "dpkg --list | less")}}}

Further Reading