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Aptitude vs Apt-Get

Being an Ubuntu/Debian user (yes, I use and advocate both), I have fallen in love with the Advanced Packaging Tool, also known as apt. Before Ubuntu, I played in the world of RPM hell, with distros such as Red Hat itself, Mandrake (as it was called back then), and even SuSE. I would find some piece of software, try to install it, only to find that it would choke, saying that it relied on some certain dependencies. I would install the dependencies, only to find conflicting versions with newer software. Hell indeed. So when I discovered the Debian way of installing software, I wondered why no one had mentioned it to me before. It was heaven. This is the way to software, I thought.

So, as any new user to the world of apt learns, apt-get is the way to install software in your system. After working on a Debian-based system that uses apt, such as Ubuntu, you also learn the various tools:

  • apt-get: Installing and removing packages from your system, as well as updating package lists and upgrading the software itself.
  • apt-cache: Search for packages in the package list maintained by apt on the local system
  • dpkg- Used for various administrative tasks to your system, such as reconfiguring Xorg.

Those are probably the first few tools that you learn while on a Debian-based distro, if you plan on getting down and dirty at any length. But the buck doesn't stop there. You need to memorize, and learn other tools, if you are to further administrate your system. These include:

  • apt-listbugs: See what bugs are listed on a software package before you install it.
  • apt-listchanges: Same thing as apt-listbugs, but for non-bug changes.
  • apt-rdepends: Tool for viewing dependency trees on packages.
  • deborphan- Look for orphaned dependencies on the system left from removing parent packages.
  • debfoster- Helps deborphan identify what package dependencies you no longer need on your system.
  • dselect- Curses interface for viewing, selecting and searching for packages on your system.

There's even more: apt-cdrom, apt-config, apt-extracttemplates, apt-ftparchive, apt-key, apt-mark and apt-sortpkgs.

If any of you have noticed, that is 16 different tools that you need to become familiar with, if you are to start learning about your Debian-based distro. I don't know about you, but doesn't that seem a bit bass-ackwards? I mean, when I'm using OpenSSH, for example, other than scp, all of the functionality of OpenSSH is filed under one tool: ssh. So, wouldn't you think that all the functionality of apt would be under one tool, namely just 'apt'?

Further more, apt-get has a big problem that hasn't really been addressed until only just recently. The problem is in removing packages. You see, apt-get does a great job of indentifying what dependencies need to be installed when you want a certain package, but it fails miserably when you want to remove that package. If dependencies were required, 'apt-get remove' will remove your packages, but leave orphaned dependencies on your system. has a great writeup on this very phenomenon, by simply installing and removing the package kword. The solution? Aptitude.

Now, before I continue, I want to say that yes, I am aware of 'apt-get autoremove' finally being able to handle orphaned dependencies. This is a step in the right direction, for sure. However, apt-get, with its many other tools, is an okay way of doing things, if you like to learn 16 different tools. Aptitude, as I will show you, is one tool for them all.

Aptitude is the superior way to install, remove, upgrade, and otherwise administer packages on you system with apt. For one, since it's inception, aptitude has been solving orphaned dependencies. Second, it has a curses interface that blows the doors off of dselect. Finally, and most importantly, it takes advantage of one tool, doing many many functions. Let's take a look:

  • aptitude: Running it with no arguments brings up a beautiful interface to search, navigate, install, update and otherwise administer packages.
  • aptitude install: Installing software for your system, installing needed dependencies as well.
  • aptitude remove: Removing packages as well as orphaned dependencies.
  • aptitude purge: Removing packages and orphaned dependencies as well as any configuration files left behind.
  • aptitude search: Search for packages in the local apt package lists.
  • aptitude update: Update the local packages lists.
  • aptitude upgrade: Upgrade any installed packages that have been updated.
  • aptitude clean: Delete any downloaded files necessary for installing the software on your system.
  • aptitude dist-upgrade: Upgrade packages, even if it means uninstalling certain packages.
  • aptitude show: Show details about a package name.
  • aptitude autoclean: Delete only out-of-date packages, but keep current ones.
  • aptitude hold: Fix a package at it's current version, and don't update it.

Are we starting to see a pattern here? One command with different readable options (no unnecessary flags). And that's just the tip of the ice berg. It gets better. For example, when searching for a package using aptitude, the results are sorted alphabetically (gee, imagine that) and justified in column width format. Heck, it will even tell you which one you have installed on your system already, instead of haphazardly listing the packages in some random, unreadable format, like apt-cache.

I've already mentioned it, but running aptitude with no options will pull up a curses application for you to navigate your apt system. If any of you have used it, you know that it is far superior to dselect (talk about a shoddy application). Aptitude makes searching for packages, updating them, removing them, getting details and other necessary tools, easy. Spend 20 minutes inside the console, and you begin to feel like this is an application done right. Spend 20 minutes in dselect, and you'll begin to get massive headaches, and feel lost inside Pan's Labyrinth.

Aptitude is just superior to apt-get in every way, shape, and form. Better dependency handling. Better curses application. Better options. ONE tool. Better stdout formatting. The list goes on and on. I see constantly, on forums, IRC and email, the use of apt-get. We need to better educate our brethren and sisters about the proper use of tools, and show them the enlightened way of aptitude. I've been using aptitude since I first learned about it, and will continue to do so the remainder of my Debian/Ubuntu days.

Thanks to GarfieldTech for the inspiration of this post.

Learn aptitude. Use aptitude.

{ 71 } Comments

  1. Alex Jones | August 12, 2007 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Uh, Synaptic? 😛

  2. Dirk Eddelbuettel | August 12, 2007 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Use wajig, a small Python wrapper around apt-*, dpkg, aptitude (yes indeed) and a number of other tools. It even calls sudo for you when needed so you only ever need wajig itself. Has quite some help as well. Try it, and you may like it.

    Dirk, who maintains wajig in Debian and is therefore not unbiased 🙂

  3. Aaron | August 12, 2007 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    @Alex Jones- You run into the same problems with Synaptic that you do with apt-get remove, namely, that it will not remove orphaned dependencies. Further, Synaptic does very little compared to aptitude. It's a nice GUI front-end of apt for the lay user, but that's about it. Synaptic doesn't do much for you on a remote server with no X either.

    @Dirk- Nah, aptitude is exactly what I want in a package management tool, providing me with everything I need, and plugging the holes of apt-get. Thanks though. 🙂

  4. Esben Mose Hansen | August 12, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The command line interface of aptitude is very well done. But the curses interfaces is made bey a vi-fan, judging by how weird and especially stateful it is. If you love vi(m), you'll love aptitude, but if you like me find that vim is best forgotten, you might to use another GUI frontend 🙂

    But it *is* the best command line interface to debian repositories. If I want a GUI, I use Adept. (No limiting Gnome for me, thanks 🙂 )

  5. Aaron | August 12, 2007 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    @Esben- Whether it was written by a vi enthusiast or not, makes little sense, as aptitude resembles very little to vi or vim. Being a curses-based application, it needs to be powered by the keyboard, and leaning the keyboard shortcuts only takes a few minutes. I use both vim and aptitude heavily, and other than the fact that they are both keyboard driven, I see little or no similarities.

  6. Jake | August 12, 2007 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Using SUSE for a few years, at one point I had decided package managemenet was the worst thing about Linux. With Debian and such, I've decided that it's the best.

  7. ubuntero | August 12, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I use apt-get/apt-cache daily, but when conflicts arise, I switch to aptitude and its superior conflict resolution

  8. Bob Robertson | August 12, 2007 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I use select, but most likely because I started using it in 1995. :^) It works for me, but I certainly do recommend aptitude to those who are new to Debian.

    I guess I'll give aptitude another try, to see how it's "orphan" system works. My daily work machine is a continuously updated Debian Unstable, so it does tend to accrue obsolete libraries.

  9. Geert Van Damme | August 12, 2007 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    If aptitude is really that better than apt-get, it's a pity that, when you type a command from a non installed package in the command line, it suggest to 'apt-get' it. It's a really great feature (since feisty) but it should mentione aptitude IMO

  10. XEmacs | August 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I go back to apt-get consistently is for the function of "apt-get source". I haven't found myself wiggling any way around that one, yet. Besides that, aptitude just rocks!

  11. Lucky | August 12, 2007 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi I read a tons of pro and cons apt-get/ aptitude info through forums etc...
    And I wonder if I could use aptitude after half a year of apt-get use. Does aptitude can remove dependencies of software installed by apt-get ?
    And if some consitency problems could arise.

  12. Jucato | August 12, 2007 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    @Lucky: No. It must be installed by aptitude in order to remove the dependencies cleanly.

    There are 2 more things I like about aptitude:

    1. "Human-readable" logs in /var/logs/aptitude.log. If you've ever tried to see which packages you installed/removed/etc in dpkg.log, you'll appreciate aptitude's log.

    2. aptitude search will list packages as well as their status, whether installed or not.

    At the same time, however, aptitude lacks some of the power that the whole APT set of tools (all apt-*) provide. For example, aptitude does not have equivalents of these apt-cache options: madison, policy, depends, rdepends. I think aptitude doesn't also have an equivalent of apt-file.

    I think it would be safe to presume that APT is really "advanced", in the sense that it does more than your basic package management. It's a set of tools for both users and developers, novice and advanced. Aptitude presents the more commonly used options of APT.

  13. Anonymous | August 12, 2007 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


    go cry, ranto-fags

  14. Toby Kelsey | August 13, 2007 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Aptitude searching doesn't work well. For example compare:

    apt-cache search aggregator

    aptitude search aggregator

  15. Karl O. Pinc | August 13, 2007 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Synaptic inter-operates with aptitude, in that either will auto-remove dependencies installed by the other. If you've been administering your system with other tools you need to clean it up by manually marking the packages that have been automatically by running

    aptitude --markauto

    on each. Do this once and you can rest easy thereafter with assurance that you'll have a clean system.

    This script will find all the packages that need to be installed because they are dependences. Remove the ones you want to be sure to have installed from the resultant list, and use xargs aptitue -markauto to mark the rest as removable.

    join -v 1 -j 1

  16. Karl O. Pinc | August 13, 2007 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Here are those script again, hopefully unmagled by the blog software:

    xargs aptitude --markauto < foo

    join -v 1 -j 1 <(aptitude search ~i | cut -c 5- | cut -d " " -f 1 | sort) <(deborphan -a | awk ‘{print $2;};‘ | sort) | grep samba

  17. Karl O. Pinc | August 13, 2007 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I give up. The lack of a preview button has defeated me.

  18. mike | August 13, 2007 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    apt-spy 'tests a series of Debian archive mirrors for bandwith. It writes an /etc/apt/sources.list with the fastest server.'

  19. delicious | August 13, 2007 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    "I would find some piece of software, try to install it, only to find that it would choke, saying that it relied on some certain dependencies. I would install the dependencies, only to find conflicting versions with newer software."

    Guess you've never heard of yum....

  20. Aaron | August 13, 2007 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    @delicious- Uhhh... yum wasn't around until about 2003. I've been involved with Linux before this. And by the time I had heard of yum, I was already using Ubuntu. So, I guess you're right. I hadnt' heard of something that didn't exist, or wasn't widely available.

  21. delicious | August 13, 2007 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    @Aaron, Sorry I can kick it old school and mention yup or up2date, but comparing apt to rpm is as stupid as comparing dpkg to yum/yup/up2date.

    That was my point -- apples to apples comparisons are fair, even if some taste better than others. 😉

  22. Aaron | August 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    @delicious- Well, I'm merely drawing a point, that RPM has no dependency resolution, and that because of this, I was pulling my hair out. When I met up with a package manager that finally did handle dependencies, it was heaven. It just happened to be that apt was the tool that I discovered before portage or yum. I will say, that it's a sad distro that does not have a package manager that handles dependencies.

  23. delicious | August 13, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    @Aaron, hell yeah it is sad. I remember dealing with that crap when I first started using Linux and it sucked. Those that use Linux now don't know how good they've got it....

  24. Tim | August 13, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    @Toby Kelsey

    Use ~d

    aptitude search ~daggregator

  25. Aaron | August 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    @Tim (and @Toby Kelsey)- Yes. When you execute 'aptitude search', aptitude assumes you are searching package names, not descriptions. As with every tool, you need to come to understand it fully, and what is being executed when you run it.

  26. Alex Chekholko | August 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I've been using Debian for around 5 years now, and I've yet to see why aptitude is better. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. (I also don't use Synaptic.)

  27. Alex Chekholko | August 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Wow, the lack of a preview button really sucks. Anyway, the main point of my post was: "So the main difference between apt-get install packageX and aptitude install packageX is that aptitude will also install all of the packages that packageX recommends, which apt-get will merely mention them. Aptitude will also add those packages to its own database and remove them if you remove packageX."

  28. AJ | August 13, 2007 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    feta. Front End To Apt. and and most of the apt-* and d* tools.

  29. gnumber9 | August 14, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I've seen where using apt-get instead of the update manager in Ubuntu caused some issues, er rather update manager had better functionality in updating a system, uh and that would be a testing version. Not sure if aptitude would be an alternative. However, in Debian and aptitude is indeed a wonderful tool.

  30. Jucato | August 15, 2007 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    @Alex Chekholko

    "aptitude -R install" will not install Recommends. This default behavior can be changed in aptitude's setting, if I remember correctly. (Run plain "aptitude" for the curses GUI).

  31. ppp | August 15, 2007 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    apt-get install foo* will install all packages that starts with foo. how do you do that in aptitude?

  32. ~viper~ | August 15, 2007 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I've experienced the craziness of Mandrake urpm; now, in Ubuntu, I quickly began to prefer aptitude over apt-get, and pretty much support everything you have said. Supposedly apt-get has improved, but I still only use aptitude.

    [ubuntu server edition, fluxbox]

  33. JanC | August 15, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    @ Dirk Eddelbuettel:

    Wajig really rocks! 🙂

  34. Mackenzie | August 16, 2007 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    As of October, apt-get in Sid automatically installs "recommends" as well, but it doesn't gaim aptitude's orphan handling.

  35. Shawn | August 16, 2007 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    I think the main cause of contention for the apt-* suite of tool might be based on the lack of 'command argument tab completion'. It seems to me that when the apt-get tools where created the '-' was used as a means of enabling one to preview/remember the set of tools that were availible with two hit of the tab key. In comparison, with aptitude you need to either remember or head straight to the man page (not that it a bad thing).

  36. Matt | August 16, 2007 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Fun tip: to purge all packages that have been removed but not purged, you can do this:

    sudo aptitude purge ~c

    Now for my question: how would you do an

    apt-get build-dep

    with aptitude? That's the only thing I ever use apt-get for nowadays.

  37. John | August 16, 2007 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This was a good article Aaron, thanks. I've always used apt-get (and friends) in the past, because I'd always thought that aptitude was ncurses interface only, and couldn't easily figure out how to use it. You've gotten me to switch to aptitude (command-line use, anyway -- not sure why I'd ever use the ncurses interface).

    Btw, "iceberg" is one word, and also, the use of "bass-ackwards" was a bit cheesy. 🙂 Great article though.

  38. Brian | August 16, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with Aaron's first paragraph in full. RPM-based file systems were a huge impediment to my transition from Windows. At the time, I thought Ximian's "Red Carpet" was my savior - a notion I have long since abandoned. Thanks for the great explanation of Aptitude!

  39. Amy Rose | August 18, 2007 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Matt, for the tip! I have been wondering how to do that myself without Synaptic. 🙂

  40. Bogdan | August 18, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Aaron, thanks a lot for the post! I had just recently started switching to Linux by installing a localized Slackware at work and at home. Slackware's pkgtool doesn't do any dependency checking by default, though thanks to the recency of installation this hasn't become a problem (yet).

    As for the computer at work, Slackware is just fine; but for the home notebook I decided to use some other distro, and the only two options I came up with are Debian and [K|X]ubuntu (still undecided which one, though).

    In the light of my distro preference, your article was very timely.

  41. damokles | August 19, 2007 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Well I gave aptitude a try and could not get over this issue (Ubuntu Feisty):

    $ aptitude search fractal
    (nothing found)
    $ apt-cache search fractal
    xaos - real-time interactive fractal zoomer
    caps - C* Audio Plugin Suite
    electricsheep - screensaver showing collective dream of sleeping computers
    libnoise-dev - a portable, coherent noise-generating library for C++
    libnoise0 - a portable, coherent noise-generating library for C++
    synfig - vector-based 2D animation package
    wmmand - Dockable Mandelbrot fractal browser
    cl-typesetting - a Common Lisp typesetting library
    fractxtra - Fractint extras collection
    xfractint - UNIX-based fractal generator

    Am I to stupid to use the search in aptitude or is it just broken?

  42. Aaron | August 19, 2007 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    @Geert Van Damme- Hopefully, that will be changed, but I doubt it. Because of apt-get and it's grip on the Debian world of packages, it'll probably be there for a while.

    @Lucky- Aptitude will not remove dependencies installed by apt-get. You will need deborphan to remove those. From here on out, however, you can use aptitude to install and administer all of your packages.

    @Jucto- I never question the advanced nature of apt-* tools. What I do question, is the sheer number of them, and their lack of any organization or structure. You need to use the tools that are best for the situation. I'm not saying aptitude replaces every apt tool in Debian-based systems, but it sure does beat a great deal of them. That's all.

    @Anonymous- Thanks for the quality comment keeping on topic to the discussion at hand.

    @Matt- Very nice tip. I was unaware of that. I wonder how many packages I have removed, but haven't purged...

    @John- Yeah. "bass-ackwards" was a but bad, but fun anyway. My blog, my language. 🙂

    @Bogdan- Glad I could help. 🙂

    @damokles- aptitude search ~dfractal. You need the ~d if you are going to be searching for text inside the description of the package, and not the package name itself.

  43. damokles | August 19, 2007 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    @Aaron: Thank you, that's the punishment for not reading the manual 🙂

  44. shirish | August 20, 2007 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Cool info, I just removed 1 GiB of obsolete packages with

     sudo aptitude autoclean

    What I wonder is when I use if I wanna get rid of the build dependencies & everything of foo how would I go about doing that. The manual of apt-get just says

    build-dep causes apt-get to install/remove packages in an attempt to satisfy the build dependencies for a source package.

    Thanx for a great write-up.

  45. ThomasS | August 21, 2007 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I used apt-get quite some time and then read that "one should use aptitude". But I never really liked it, because I kept on forgetting how to search for packages the right way ("aptitude search ~dkeyword" was not intuitive enough for me).

    When I read about wajig, I tried it and it was a delight! So if you are just busy trying out aptitude and have some minutes left, just give it a chance too!

    Currently I use yum, trying to learn how to use Red Hat... I like Fedora but its packagesystem has not convinced me yet as much as Debians system did.

  46. Paulo F. Sedrez | August 21, 2007 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I think the main feature present in aptitude and that I have not seen in apt-get is the hability to downgrade selected packages. It may take a while sometimes, but I can install an older package.

  47. Telemachus | September 1, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    @Alex Chekholko & Lucato - You can keep Aptitude from automatically installing recommended packages by adding this to the /etc/apt/apt.conf file:

    Aptitude::Recommends-Important "false";

    @ Aaron - Nice post. You will be either happy or sad or just amused to hear that this blog entry has led to a four page (and counting) Aptitude vs. apt-get thread on

  48. Fyorl | September 17, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    RPM hell no longer exists. It's called YUM.

  49. pipomolo | October 24, 2007 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Nice article...

    Though i disagree on one point...if you use aptitude to remove a package installed with apt-get, it will perfectly remove all dependencies.

    When removing a package, aptitude checks if there will be some unused packages, not caring about the way there were installed...I'm pretty sure aptitude would remove an unused package, even if it had been installed manually, using a dpkg command.

    Try it yourself if you need to be convinced of that...there's no problem at all with mixing apt-get and aptitude.

  50. Erboristeria | November 30, 2007 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I prefer use the opensuse distribution.

  51. brad | August 31, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Permalink


  52. Maxwell | January 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Isn't package management the following sequence:

    # ./configure
    [ ... ]
    Looking for PACKAGENAME ... no
    Please ensure that you have PACKAGENAME (>=x.yy) installed.

    # wget ftp://.../packagename_x.yy.tar.gz
    # tar zxvf packagename_x.yy.tar.gz
    # cd packagename_x.yy
    # ./configure && make && make install
    [ ... ]
    Looking for OTHERPACKAGENAME ... no

    [etc.] wget, configure, make
    [etc.] wget, configure, make
    [etc.] pulls hair out, bangs head on wall

    # ./configure
    [ ... ]
    Ok, run make then make install
    # make && make install

    Or could I be doing it an easier way?

  53. john | April 4, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    In fact, Yast package management predates apt and urpmi was developed about the same time as apt. I never had to mess with dependency hell with rpm distros. That's because I used distros that had package management systems.

    Package management for Debian probably sucked before apt too.

  54. Darkstriker | April 30, 2009 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Funny how installing programs on Windows is so much simpler. Yet another reason not to switch. Windows 7 FTW!

  55. Vishesh Handa | August 28, 2009 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Really nicely written article. Clear and to the point.

    I had read somewhere that you shouldn't use both apt-get and aptitude, and since I had already started using apt-get, I stuck with it.

    Now I'm gonna switch. 🙂

  56. manfrom3004 | September 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    This should help alot!!
    I never knew about this before...

    I always did have probvlems with package management

  57. ingalex | October 29, 2009 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Good article! But i prefer to use apt.
    Here I've inserted some sources.list for Ubuntu derivated and Debian.
    Each sources.list contain more than 200 repository.

  58. just saul | November 11, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Hey thanks for telling me about this. I started using it and it's awesome! Very robust and easy to use.

  59. Evan R. Murphy | December 24, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Just the sort of comparison I was looking for to help me wrap my mind around all these *apt* tools. I will immediately give aptitude a shot. Thanks!

    Trivial correction (or misunderstanding): didn't you mean "Learn" instead of "Lean" in the second-to-last sentence of your original post?

  60. Antonio | February 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I don't know, but I like so much more apt.

  61. P.Rudra | May 10, 2010 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Are you not doing injustice to opensuse-11.2/10.3? Yast does all these things. I am continually switching between debian-sarge/etch/lenny and opensuse-sled10/10.2/10.3/11.2 and
    have found them equal in power.

  62. Thijs | June 4, 2010 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    i hate aptitude for not having an --qq option like apt-get

    i have the folowing cron line witch emails me if there is something to be upgraded or if there are errors, else it does its work silendly!!! every night

    # m h dom mon dow command
    31 1 * * * apt-get -qq update && apt-get -qq -s -y upgrade && apt-get -qq autoclean && apt-get -qq autoremove

  63. teo | August 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Aaron, what a good reminder of the old days I went with the same rpm dependencies shits that had burnt so many off my night candles away ! Debian and Ubuntu are finally
    the preferable choice agreed!

    And most importantly, please continue to write good articles like this one !

    Thank you for the inputs ! Cheers!

  64. jemadux | August 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I think that you tell the differencies

  65. Tshepang Lekhonkhobe | February 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    When you started listing things like apt-listbugs and deborphan, I thought you were going to show us how to do the same with aptitude. Also, the one thing apt-get beats aptitude is speed (search and show), and yes it noticeable on a Core 2 Duo system.

  66. Daniel Jonsson | May 14, 2011 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Great article!
    I'm definitely going to use aptitude from now on. 🙂

  67. CISCO certification | May 20, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Good article i am definitely going to share this article with my friends on facebook.

  68. Raphaël Hertzog | June 21, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Reducing the problem to apt-get vs aptitude is not exactly correct, there are more package managers than just those two. In particular graphical package manager that are probably more attractive for beginners.

    And your aptitude praise falls short on my experience, I like some aspect of aptitude but for big upgrades its CLI tends to not work very well.

    FWIW, I shared my own point of view in a blog article: apt-get, aptitude, … pick the right package manager for you.

  69. James | October 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    And Ubuntu, Linux destroyer basterds, want to destroy aptitude and have only apt tools?

  70. James | October 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    1. Why do "sort" and "aptitude" sort in a different order certain characters?

    When will someone fix these annoying things in Linux instead of developing new useless desktop fantasies?

    2. When I use:
    aptitude search ~dfractal |head

    I cannot see the whole descriptions
    When will someone fix this annoying thing in bash?

    3. When will someone join all the different apt tools in one well designed tool that has the best of all of them instead of so many useless desktop fantasies?

    4. "aptitude show" shows some info and "apt-cache show" shows another info.
    That is not elegant. Leave that for windoze.

  71. olly | October 25, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I don't know, but aptitude solved all problems of my life!!..
    thanks for existing, aptitude..
    and thank you too, Aaron.. 😉

    ah, synaptic??.. the same as apt-get, nothing better..

{ 37 } Trackbacks

  1. Tom-buntu » Don't Apt-Get, Aptitude | August 12, 2007 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    [...] by default there are two ways to manage packages on the command line: apt-get and aptitude. The better of the two is aptitude. In fact, it looks like the only advantage apt-get has over aptitude is the easier name. The [...]

  2. [...] aptitude run with no options will pull up a curses application for you to navigate your apt system. (tags: apt-get debian ubuntu) [...]

  3. [...] Read More [...]

  4. [...] Toponce has written a nice post called Aptitude vs Apt-Get, in which he compares the features of the tools aptitude and apt-get available on Debian-based [...]

  5. [...] * Aptitude vs Apt-Get (What Everyone Should Know) - This blog article by Aaron Toponce aka atoponce, is a very good read for everyone, newbie or seasoned veteran, about the differences between Aptitude and Apt-Get, and the tools associated with each. His conclusion: “Aptitude is just superior to apt-get in every way, shape, and form. Better dependency handling. Better curses application. Better options. ONE tool. Better standard formatting. The list goes on and on. I see constantly, on forums, IRC and email, the use of apt-get. We need to better educate our brethren and sisters about the proper use of tools, and show them the enlightened way of aptitude. I’ve been using aptitude since I first learned about it, ad will continue to do so the remainder of my Debian/Ubuntu days”. [...]

  6. [...] Toponce has written a comparison of Debian’s standard package management tools for end users, aptitude and apt-get. He prefers [...]

  7. [...] can’t remove dependencies? 13Aug07 So reports Aaron [...]

  8. [...] From [...]

  9. [...] – Aptitude vs Apt-Get Mount a Windows shared folder in [...]

  10. [...] entre conflictos de versiones, actualizaciones de dependencias y eliminación de las mismas. En éste artículo se discuten las ventajas de usar un todo en uno como Aptitude, ahorrándonos procedimientos [...]

  11. thak’s cool links » Aptitude vs Apt-Get | August 15, 2007 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    [...] Aaron Toponce » Aptitude vs Apt-Get.  Very cool tool.  Definitely worth looking into if you’re working on a Debian-based distro–it’s a heck of a lot easier to use than the apt-* tools, and, like he says, it’s one command.  [...]

  12. [...] problemas entre conflitos de versións, actualizacións de dependencias e eliminación das mesmas. Neste artigo discútense as vantaxes de usar un todo nun como Aptitude, aforrándonos procedementos accesorios e [...]

  13. heiße Links für flotte Surfer auf F!XMBR | August 18, 2007 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    [...] Aptitude vs Apt-Get Interessanter Artikel zu beiden Möglichkeiten Pakete unter Debian zu managen. [...]

  14. As inovações do Ubuntu « asf@web | August 18, 2007 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    [...] tiver sorte conseguirá ter a aplicação original instalada. O sistema de pacotes do Debian é super versátil e o Ubuntu ainda criou front-ends facílimos de usar que fazem da instalação de software uma [...]

  15. [...] tiver sorte conseguirá ter a aplicação original instalada. O sistema de pacotes do Debian é super versátil e o Ubuntu ainda criou front-ends facílimos de usar que fazem da instalação de software uma [...]

  16. Aptitude vs. apt-get :: Czytelnia | August 20, 2007 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    [...] Tłumaczenie na podstawie: Aptitude vs apt-get [...]

  17. [...] libraries, and modules. While browsing several articles on Digg I came across this one: “Aptitude vs apt-get“. It looks like Aptitude should be the preferred tool given comments like, “Aptitude is [...]

  18. links for 2007-08-30 : Greg Palmer | August 29, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    [...] Aaron Toponce » Blog Archive » Aptitude vs Apt-Get (tags: linux tech software) [...]

  19. Munich Unix » Aptitude vs. Apt-Get | November 2, 2007 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  20. [...] Aptitude vs Apt-Get [...]

  21. Bookmarks Tagged Slick | December 31, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    [...] bookmarks tagged slick Aptitude vs Apt-Get saved by 1 others     jynxcat8 bookmarked on 12/31/07 | [...]

  22. Pages tagged "Apt" | January 5, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    [...] online community. The best part is ... it's all 100% free! check them out here: Join Hey Nielsen! Aptitude vs Apt-Get saved by 1 others     gillyrudolf bookmarked on 01/05/08 | [...]

  23. [...] Toponce has a recent article with well laid out logic for aptitude which is based on this older explanation of aptitude. But there does seem to be a minor religious [...]

  24. [...] > It's only really any use if you want a graphical tool from a shell. Not from what I've read. Aptitude is the superior way to install, remove, upgrade, and otherwise administer packages on you [...]

  25. aptitude and apt-get | Cincinnati 2600 | February 3, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    [...] Read this: [...]

  26. [...] Here’s a more elaborate discussion of the tool’s merits. [...]

  27. [...] Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself. [...]

  28. [...] The good thing is that aptitude’s command line interface is very similar to apt-get, so it won’t take much time to get use to it. Here are some handy commands mostly taken from here: [...]

  29. apt vs aptitude | El Blog de Luis | March 23, 2009 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    [...] [...]

  30. Building Firefox (in progress) « Ehren's Blog | September 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    [...] tipped me off). Unfortunately, this option has not been implemented in Aptitude which I prefer for various reasons (most recommend not mixing the two [...]

  31. [...] pages I found helpful: and share and [...]

  32. [...] The first part is to install the Xen hypervisor and a Kernel with the Xen patches. Fortunately, it’s really easy with Debian. You should use aptitude to do so, if you aren’t already using aptitude instead of apt-get you might want to check out the article in parenthesis ( [...]

  33. [...] the inbox »Linux package management: use aptitude, if your distro has it19th August 2007Found Aptitude vs Apt-Get post. Worth reading – both the post and the comments – if you are looking for a Linux [...]

  34. Daniel Jonsson's Blog | May 14, 2011 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Why Aptitude Is Superior To Apt-Get...

    Yesterday I was messing around in the terminal and googeling for cool and useful commands. I had seen the command aptitude being mentioned a few times before in forum threads and such, but I had never tried to use it myself. However, yesterday I did tr...

  35. LOLing at my old PC | December 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    [...] [...]

  36. Gusnan's blog » apt-get or aptitude? | October 9, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    [...] forums and mailinglists, I often see the debate of apt-get or aptitude appear. I have found this post on another blog which is really interesting, and well worth linking from here. October 9, 2012 | [...]

  37. […] The aptitude front-end to APT has some nice features compared to apt-get, as outlined in this blog post. However, if you’ve already got a system that you’ve been managing with apt-get, you […]

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