Discovering Uninstalled Alternatives for /etc/alternatives

sktsee sktseer at
Fri Sep 2 15:09:24 UTC 2011

On Thu, 01 Sep 2011 11:36:05 +0100, Smylers wrote:


> Found it.
> The command-not-found command with its --ignore-installed flag will
> return the same output it would as if a command name had been typed and
> none of the alternatives were currently installed, thereby listing all
> of them. Which is exactly what I wanted.
> For example:
>   $ /usr/lib/command-not-found --ignore-installed mutt The program
>   'mutt' can be found in the following packages: * mutt
>   * mutt-patched
>   Try: sudo apt-get install <selected package>

Unfortunately, that won't tell you for certain that a package is using 
the Debian alternatives system. Sendmail is an example of a binary name 
that's listed in several packages, but not managed by alternatives. 
They're all mail-transport-agent packages, and generally only one mta can 
be installed on a system at a time. Since only one mta is installed, 
there's no chance of a filename conflict with /usr/sbin/sendmail, and 
therefore there's no need to use Debian alternatives.


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