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    Why must apt fall short of the mark?
    Contributed by robot101 on Friday, June 08 @ 19:06:36 BST

    Ask Debianplanet
    We all know that one of the major selling points of Debian is apt - the glorious command line package tool which will install, upgrade, download, moo and more. Before apt, and before Debian became so big as to be pretty inpractical in dselect, one of the major selling points was the package relationships, with Recommends and Suggests adding value and functionality to packages.

    More Below

    AGL: An interresting discussion point. Personally I always use apt on the command line - I wonder what packages I'm missing out on

    As a maintainer I use these on most of my packages, and lament the fact that they will in fact go un-noticed to a large proportion of users who stick to using apt-get to install just what they need. The problem worsens - the task packages (which havn't gone away quite yet... =) make extensive use of lesser relationships like Recommends and Suggests, and these are silently ignored by apt.

    So why doesn't apt-get support Recommends and Suggests? It was mentioned on IRC that it's because apt's meant to be a backend, not a user tool... that doesn't cut the mustard with me. Whoever heard of an interactive backend? How nice it would be to be able to say --recommends=yes, or --suggests=ask, or specify similar options in apt.conf, and have apt include the recommended packages and prompt us with a list of the suggested packages, or something along those lines.

    I know I'm not the only one who thinks Debian's pride and joy falls short of the mark on this count, and as a consequence users miss out on information and functionality, not to mention informed choice. Whilst I lack the knowledge to solve this, I'm sure it's doable. Who else thinks this is a much needed feature? Can anyone who's reading this add it? Maybe we should start a petition or have a DP poll. What do you all think?


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  • "Why must apt fall short of the mark?" | Login/Create Account | 23 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Why must apt fall short of the mark? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, June 08 @ 19:10:22 BST

    apt-get dselect-upgrad

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Why must apt fall short of the mark? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, June 08 @ 22:30:54 BST

    While you make valid points, I think that you're forgeting that apt is primarily a command line tool, meant to be used in scripts and such. And while most people use "apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade" your suggestions would make scripting needlessly difficult.

    Personally, I use apt when I want a quick upgrade without thinking about it. I use deselect to peruse and make selections. I really don't find anything wrong with this arrangement.

    [ Reply ]

    Alternatives to dselect (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, June 09 @ 09:45:48 BST

    I used to use dselect, but now I use aptitude. I think it's easier to use - it solves the problem of a massive list by having a foldable tree of packages.

    There are some other interfaces to apt too: kpackage, gnome-apt, stormpkg, deity. I haven't tried these yet.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Why must apt fall short of the mark? (Score: 1)
    by drone0709 on Saturday, June 09 @ 16:06:29 BST
    (User Info)

    Have any of you used console-apt, this is a very easy to navigate tool and much easier for the newbie (ie me) to understand rather than dselect.

    Console-apt gives a tree view of package dependencies (installing them automatically)and lists recommends and surgests (to the best of my knowledge)

    Just my 1 pence, but its what i use to upgrade my testing distro and I like it

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Why must apt fall short of the mark? (Score: 2, Insighful)
    by arcterex on Wednesday, June 13 @ 00:48:54 BST
    (User Info)

    Wouldn't a better solution be to build a 'better' dselect? I've played with aptitude/deity and it's, well, not as easy as dselect 🙂 Course, I've grown up with dselect and feel very comfortable in it. Wouldn't it make more sense if dselect was made better while apt-get remained a command line tool?

    To be honest I wouldn't object to a --recommends/suggests option as well, but 99% of the time I use apt-get to install a specific package, and dselect to search for new ones, and quite enjoy the recommands/suggests it gives.

    [ Reply ]

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