Aptitude is an Ncurses based FrontEnd to Apt, the debian package manager. Since it is text based, it is run from a terminal or a CLI (command line interface). Aptitude has a number of useful features, including:
- a mutt-like syntax for matching packages in a flexible manner
mark packages as "automatically installed" or "manually installed" so that packages can be auto-removed when no longer required
- colorful preview of actions about to be taken
- dselect-like persistence of user actions
- the ability to retrieve and display the Debian changelog of most packages
AptCLI-like (= apt-get + apt-cache) command line mode ("aptitude install foo")
- Score-based and (usually) smarter dependency resolver than apt-get
aptitude is also non-fattening, naturally cleansing, and housebroken.
Enter the following from a terminal:
After running it, use:
- F10 to access the menu and use aptitude. This is the main key.
- ? for help
- The 'up', 'down', 'left', 'right' keys to navigate.
- The 'Enter' key to select
- The '+' or '-' key to install/update or remove a package
- The 'g' key to preview/confirm actions
- 'q' to quit
The common use of aptitude in TUI (text user interface) is; run aptitude; press 'u' (update the lists of available packages); press 'U' (Mark all upgradable packages to be upgraded); (search/select some stuff to install, is optional); press 'g' (to see the pending actions and modify if needed); press 'g' (again, to start the download).
Some time when you need to resolve conflicts, you discover that you made a mistake; you can easily use 'Cancel pending actions' in the 'Actions' menu so that you can re-select.
You can also use aptitude like in the same manner as apt-get:
Update the packages list:
Upgrade the packages:
aptitude install foo
aptitude remove bar
aptitude purge foo
Personally, I still use apt-cache search foo to perform a search -- the aptitude search foo is slower. But you should try the aptitude search foo way. You should discover that the output is a bit different from apt-cache, in some case, it may be useful to search for a package to see if it already installed.
The manual of aptitude is really a gold mine. I don't want to duplicate this useful informations so please take a look there for further help.
How to upgrade your distribution
- Find out current version of Debian that you are running:
Example for upgrading sarge to etch or etch 4.0r1 to 4.0r2 ...etc
aptitude update aptitude dist-upgrade
apt-get to aptitude
- Would be nice to make a table out of this:
aptitude install foo was apt-get install foo aptitude search foo was apt-cache search foo aptitude remove foo was apt-get remove foo aptitude ~D foo was apt-cache rdepends foo aptitude ? was apt-cache policy foo aptitude ? was apt-get source --compile foo
- Manual : /usr/share/doc/aptitude/README
Online reference manual (html) : http://algebraicthunk.net/~dburrows/projects/aptitude/doc/en/