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패키지 관리 시스템은 Debian 시스템에 설치된 소프트웨어 전체를 하나로 묶는다. Debian 에서 "패키지(들)" 라고 하면 시스템에 설치되는 파일 꾸러미 제공체인 소프트웨어(각각), 패키지끼리의 의존성 관계, 소프트웨어 환경설정 등을 일컫는다. 패키지는 설치, (다른 패키지에서 더 이상 필요한 패키지가 아닌 경우 자동으로) 삭제가 가능하다.

Debian 설치 프로세스의 주는 Debian 이 동작하기 위해서 가장 기본적인 패키지들을 설치하는 것이다.

Debian 패키지 관리는 몇 가지 계층으로 나눌 수 있다. 건드리기 힘든 최하위 층은 dpkg, 이것과 연결된 프로그램으로 구성된다. 그것들의 상위 층에 Apt, apt-get, 그리고 더 새로운 aptitude 도구가 존재한다. 패키지 관리 도구들 에 앞서 언급한 도구들과 더불어 DebianPackage 파일과 함께 동작하는 도구들을 간략히 소개하고 있다.

모두 맨페이지 에 문서화 되어 있어서 궁금한 점들을 찾아 볼 수 있다. (이런 식으로 'man apt' 말이다). 이 도구들과 친하지 않다면 매일 쓰기에 유용하다고 검증된 도구들을 쓸 수 있다. 아래 분류를 참고하자:

전체화면을 지원하는 프런트 엔드

(ncurses 기반) 콘솔용 프로그램과 GUI 기반 프로그램이 있다.

기능이 유사하면서도 서로 차이가 나는 대체물들이 많이 존재한다. RPM (레드햇 패키지 관리자) 기반을 가진 리눅스 배포판 및 유사하게 파생된 배포판 유저들은 RedCarpet 과 Up2Date 를 사용할 수 있다.

Command-line Frontends

Generally, the command line tools integrate a number of operations (package list management, package retrieval, package installation, package configuration) in a single command plus arguments. The primary command line tool is aptitude. apt-get fulfills a similar purpose and although it is no longer the recommended primary tool some still use it. Here are some typical invocations:

"Apt Help":

You can also use Wajig, for an unified and more logical command-line interface to all package management functions.

Low-level Tools

Largely dpkg and friends, these are commands that perform a single task. They are most directly comparable to Redhat's "rpm" command.

Contents of a debian file

To see the contents of debian packages in the Debian repositories, whether installed or uninstalled, install the apt-file package and enter

$ apt-file update
$ apt-file list foo

To get the contents of the file "abc.deb", you have to enter

$ dpkg-deb -c abc.deb 

Reconfiguring of debconf

To reconfigure debconf, so that it informs you of most changes of the new packages, you have to enter (as Root):

 # dpkg-reconfigure debconf

Chose "medium" here

Package Management with apt-get and dpkg

Package resource list for APT

The file /etc/apt/sources.list is the definition file of the sources for apt. For further information about this file type

$ man 5 sources.list

Retrieve new lists of packages:

To fetch the new lists of all the packages from sources.list enter:

# aptitude update

or the equivalent

# apt-get update

This command checks for new release-files on the given servers. Luckily the command is clever enough to check if the release-file has changed after the last update.

Upgrade of all the files:

To make an update of all the changed packages, enter the line

# aptitude safe-upgrade

If you want to do this from cron you should consider using the cron-apt package.

The older apt-get based method is:

# apt-get upgrade -u

The additional flag -u shows a list of upgraded packages as well. If you want to run the update in a cron-job, you should use the flags -dy. With this flags the new packages will be downloaded but not installed. You can install them later by writing apt-get update -u.

Distribution Upgrade of all the files:


Following the upgrade instructions found in the release notes is the best way to ensure that your system upgrades from one major Debian release to another (e.g. from lenny to squeeze) without breakage!

These instructions will tell you to do a dist-upgrade (instead of upgrade) in the case of apt-get or safe-upgrade (instead of safe-upgrade in the case of aptitude) at least once. So you would have to type something like

# aptitude full-upgrade


# apt-get dist-upgrade -dy

# apt-get dist-upgrade -u

at some point during the major release upgrade.

A dist-upgrade may also be required to keep up-to-date with the latest version of sid.

Add a package:

How can you add a package to your system without the GUI programs? All you have to do is find out the name of this package and enter the command

# aptitude install sylpheed-claws


# apt-get install sylpheed-claws

to add the package sylpheed-claws.

Remove a package:

To get rid of the package foo which is no longer needed, enter the command

# aptitude remove foo


#  apt-get remove foo

If the package is needed by other packages you will be prompted to remove this package and all packages which depend on it.

Forcing removal of a package:

While making a distribution upgrade it could happen that you have to remove a package first. But sometimes this is not possible with apt-get remove since the package has unmet dependencies or is not installed completely. You can remove the package foo by using the command

# dpkg --force-all --remove foo 

Read the contents of a installed package:

Sometimes you want to know which files are in the package foo. To get this information enter the command

$ dpkg -L foo 

Get the description of a package:

You don't know what the package foo is for? Just write

$ aptitude show foo


$ dpkg -p foo 

Search the package of a file:

Have you ever wondered to which package belongs a given file? To get this information (e.g. for /usr/bin/apt-get), start the command

$ dpkg -S /usr/bin/apt-get

and it will tell you that this file is part of the package apt.

?CategoryQuickPackageManagement | CategoryPackageManagement