I've heard that Debian is superior to some other distributions thanks to its package managing tools APT. I cannot understand why! The only explanation - for me - is that other distro are painfully worst. I've used a little rpm tools and was quite comparable to apt, except that mostly you need to know a single command, so you've not to guess what command to execute to do what you need.
|Search and querying|
|apt-cache pkgnames||Print all available packages. Useful combined with grep, if you know what you want install|
|apt-cache search package-name||Search packages that can be installed|
|apt-cache show package-name||Query informations about a package|
|apt-show-versions -u||Shows what packages may be upgraded|
|apt-file search filename||search the package name for a file you know|
|apt-file list package-name||list files of a package|
|Installing, upgrading and removing|
|apt-get install package-name||install/upgrade one package and its dependencies|
|apt-get install package-name=version||install/upgrade to a specific package version|
|apt-get remove package-name||remove one package and its dependencies|
|dpkg -P package-name||purge packages (remove 'zombie' files)|
|apt-get -u upgrade||upgrades all installed packages and dependencies. -u means verbose, without it, you upgrade blindly!|
|apt-get -u dist-upgrade||upgrades the entire distro. -u means verbose as for the previous. Don't ask me what's difference between this and previous: only apt-developers know this secret... documentation is confusing. Really a bad interface design: these are the things that I hate of Linux.|
|Info about installed packages|
|dpkg -l||list installed packages|
|dpkg -L package-name||list files in package. useful if you want to know where configuration files and other stuff are located|
|dpkg -S file-name||list package owning a certain file|
|dpkg-reconfigure package-name||reconfigures the package|
|apt-get update||resynchronize index files from their sources (sources are specified in file /etc/apt/sources.list)|
|apt-get clean||Remove downloaded .deb files|
|apt-get autoclean||Remove downloaded .deb files that are nomore available for download (older?)|
Well, to manage packages you only need to remember syntax of 5 different commands... Fantastic!
Other utility that can be used:
- apt-howto: you can type this command, to browse an help file (keys chosen to browse are ridiculous! you'll need an help for using the help!)
- aptitude: not really user-friendly but functional. Almost usable.
- dselect: I tried it: I was just able to find the quit option before making damages... few!
- synaptic: Graphical package manager. I've not installed it, because on my server there's no X. People say that it's easy. I can imagine that hopefully it's like a Windows installer.
If you find any error here, please report it to me. I believe that -as for many things under Linux - it is impossible to understand if you didn't programmed it yourself. Maybe this is why with Linux anyone reinvents the same stuff - in a different fashion - over and over again...
Knok knok... Linux developers!
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