Discovering Uninstalled Alternatives for /etc/alternatives

Ric Moore wayward4now at
Fri Aug 26 18:50:38 UTC 2011

On Fri, 2011-08-26 at 15:00 +0100, Smylers wrote:
> Ric Moore writes:
> > On Wed, 2011-08-24 at 10:55 +0100, Smylers wrote:
> > 
> > > Hi there. How do I find out which packages provide an alternative
> > > for a particular entry in /etc/alternatives?
> > > 
> > > For example, I recently spotted that the mutt command uses the
> > > alternatives mechanism. So I wanted to know which other packages
> > > provide a mutt command -- maybe one of those would have something
> > > interesting in that I'd prefer to the Mutt I'm currently using.
> > > 
> > > update-alternatives only lists alternatives that I already have
> > > installed.
> > > 
> > > What I want is a list of all packages that provide a particular
> > > alternative, so that I can consider installing them.
> > 
> > I just went through the same thing... in synaptic, search on
> > alternatives and you'll see two different gui's for alternatives.
> Hi Ric. Thanks for your help. Unfortunately I'm still not quite there
> yet, unable to work out how to run kalternatives.
> Not having used Synaptic before, I couldn't find how to search on
> alternatives; there are options for searching on name, description,
> maintainer, etc. Then I realized you meant to search _for_
> "alternatives" in the package list, and that actually I could use any
> Apt interface for this, and that by "gui's" you mean gui applications.
> (My misunderstanding reported here for the benefit of anybody else
> following along, or reading the archives.)
> The packages in question are galternatives and kalternatives.
> > Works a charm.
> Unfortunately not. As it happens I'd already tried galternatives (since
> I'm running Gnome, in the form of the 'Ubuntu 2D' desktop) and it
> doesn't help; it just does the same thing as the update-alternatives
> command, listing only alternatives I already have installed.
> Apologies for not mentioning this in my first message.
> > It'll show up in your system preferences. I used the KDE one.
> Ah, you've only used kalternatives? I suspect galternatives is an
> entirely independent program and your experiences of one don't translaet
> to t'other.

> > Piece O cake to use,
> I'm looking forward to it, once I work out how to run it!

I'll log into gnome and get back to you... on KDE (if you use synaptic,
click on kalternatives and "packages" you'll see what was installed and
where. It is not installed to /usr/bin. Same with galternatives. 
> > as I just "manually" installed java 7 to 10.4. Now I'm faced with
> > having to install Firefox 4 for java-7 plugin to work. It never ends.
> Surely the alternatives and dependencies mechanisms should ensure that
> any required packages are automatically installed?

<grins> Read my rant... it was a bare-knuckle bar-room-brawl fight to
install it. All of my previous bruises from using Fedora were just
starting to heal, too. :) Ric

My father, Victor Moore (Vic) used to say:
"There are two Great Sins in the world...
..the Sin of Ignorance, and the Sin of Stupidity.
Only the former may be overcome." R.I.P. Dad.
Linux user# 44256 

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