Aptitude installed by default on 13.10?

J Fernyhough j.fernyhough at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 17:13:47 UTC 2013

On 9 April 2013 17:27, Brett Cornwall <brettcornwall at lavabit.com> wrote:

> On 04/09/2013 12:19 PM, Andrew Starr-Bochicchio wrote:
>> This is actually being debated over on debian-devel as we type. So
>> some piece of text from the Debian FAQ that simply hasn't been updated
>> in a long time doesn't trump anything.
> So the reason for not even considering this as an option is because
> someone has decided to spark conversation against recommending aptitude
> after it's been recommended for years? That's not very good logic.
> Thank you for the thread.
>From what I remember, aptitude was supposed to be the successor to apt-get
because it is more "intelligent". It was recommended to use aptitude over
apt-get in Ubuntu some years ago, but that changed relatively recently when
apt-get became recommended precisely due to its lack of
dependency-resolving abilities. I remember it was seen as an odd choice at
the time but was justified by the lack of space, the fact that having two
package management programs was unnecessary (and an "advanced" user would
apt-get install aptitude), and that unaware users could accept the first
resolution suggestion and bork their installation.

Just from my own humble experience, there have been numerous times when
aptitude has been able to resolve a package situation that apt-get would
simply refuse to entertain; apt-get would just say it couldn't do anything
and exit. While on the one hand this behaviour prevents me from breaking
the system, if the system does get into a state where further package
installation is impossible then I can't get out of it. If aptitude wasn't
already installed at that point I wouldn't be able to install it unless I
remove the broken package - and as we all know this can result in a lot of
other dependencies being uninstalled. I can see the goal of preventing the
system from getting into such a state (e.g. by focussing on installation
only from the Software Centre), but if I download Skype or Steam from their
respective websites, and follow their installation instructions, it's easy
to imagine such a situation occurring.

I'd suggest that while the inclusion of aptitude is by itself not a big
problem, an ever-increasing distancing from Debian means increasing
fragmentation and an increased workload. Already there is a huge amount of
packaging effort needed to reconcile upstream changes against Ubuntu sauces.

The trouble as I see it stems from the movement of Ubuntu towards a
convergent consumer OS. Many long-standing Ubuntu users installed it
because packages were more current than Stable or Testing, but the system
was more stable and workable than Sid. Even now, despite improvements to
the Debian desktop, Ubuntu simply works better for most people. For those
who use Ubuntu as a "better" Debian, the move to a consumer-focus means a
lot of extra features being added that they don't need or want - automatic
geolocation, for example. The concern is that Ubuntu packages are becoming
increasingly interdependent on the consumer features, and that it's
becoming more difficult to have a more "pure"/minimal desktop. For example,
if I want the latest Plank, I have to have geoclue. There's no choice.

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