Using apt-get [Was:Re: tool used to download packages?]

James Heaver james at
Thu Feb 8 10:15:31 UTC 2007

On 08/02/07, Joe Hart <j.hart at> wrote:
> James Heaver wrote:
> >     I'm not one of the developers, but I can say why automatix and
> >     easy-ubuntu are frowned upon by so many.  They install software from
> >     third party repositories.  They also use apt-get, which while a fine
> >     tool, does not track the dependencies that get installed, so
> removing
> >     the apps will not remove the dependencies.
> >
> >
> > I've been installing most software (any specific program I find) using
> > 'apt-get install whatever'.
> > Does this mean I shouldn't have been doing that?
> >
> > All instructions for things I see seem to give you an apt-get line to
> run...
> Thanks for changing the topic.  This title makes more sense.
> It's not that apt-get it wrong.  It's the fact that apt-get doesn't
> track dependencies.  Take a look at this link:
> It explains the differences in detail.  Aptitude looks quite strange if
> you've never seen it before.  If you run it without giving any
> parameters and you get a text-based screen similar to Synaptic, but much
> more cryptic.
> However, aptitude accepts parameters that are the same as apt-get, so
> instead of apt-get install foo, you can do aptitude install foo.  If
> later you do aptitude remove foo, all the other files that belong with
> foo and are not being used by other programs will also be removed.
> Another difference, is that if you notice, you'll sometimes (usually)
> see that when you do a apt-get install foo, dpkg (the engine behind apt)
> will tell you that foo recommends bar, but it won't offer you the chance
> to install bar with foo.  Frequently the recommends list will scroll off
> your screen before you even get a chance to see it.  Aptitude when run
> as a command by itself defaults to installing bar along with foo,
> because it is recommended.  You can of course choose not to install bar,
> but usually the other packages are recommended for a reason.
> I know I make it sound a bit confusing to new users.  The bottom line is
> just instead of doing:
> sudo apt-get install whatever
> do
> sudo aptitude install whatever
> Does this make sense?

That makes perfect sense.  I'll start doing that from now on then.

Does it matter if you use a combination of apt-get and aptitude?  Or if you
use aptitude to remove something installed with apt-get (or the other way

Does this have any impact on what GUI I should be using?

I'm new (6 months or so) to using linux and have been ubuntu the whole time
and I'd completely missed this so far.  Any guides on the internet I've seen
for installing specific programs give apt-get commands.

If its recommended that people use aptitude instead then perhaps something
needs to change in the documentation.

Of course it could just be the case that I'm being selectively stupid and
should have noticed this.

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