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Mepis + apt = Working On Easy Street - page 3

Mepis and apt

  • January 24, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

The apt-get command is pretty intuitive and very powerful. You can use various options, depending on what you want to do. The best way to do this is to open an X-term on your Mepis (or any other Debian based) system.

apt-get install

The install option will install and reconcile dependencies for an individual program. In this example were installing hwinfo:

apt-get install hwinfo

This command line will install the latest version of hwinfo along with any files or packages needed to make it work. Pretty straightforward. It's also OK to put multiple packages on the command line. Just string them together after the install.

--reinstall is an switch that can be used with install if you ever happen to break or corrupt a package. Use the following to re-install hwinfo:

apt-get -reinstall install hwinfo

apt-get remove

The remove option gets rid of the package on your system. The following command line will remove the hwinfo package:

apt-get remove hwinfo

Use the -purge switch to get rid of configuration files along with the chosen package. As usual, multiple packages are allowed too.

apt-get upgrade

This option is the real workhorse of the apt-get command. It will take your current system and upgrade each package to the latest release available from the package archives. It will install packages within your current distribution, as well as upgrading to a new distribution. It's easy to use. Just type:

apt-get upgrade

I should point out that there are several releases available at any one time in the Debian archives. You can choose "stable," which is thoroughly tested and very rarely acts up. Another archive you can choose is "testing," which is what you might consider beta. Some glitches may still exist. You can also choose the "unstable" branch, which is beta and generally bleeding edge.

The stable version tends to have versions of programs that are a little dated, but hey, you can pretty well count on them always working.

I looked at the /etc/apt/sources.list file on my newly installed Mepis laptop and found the following:

# See sources.list(5) for more information, especially

# This file may be edited by the MEPIS System Center
# Do not modify the comments manually!
# Change sources only in the section at the end of this file!
# Primary deb ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free #deb-src ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free deb ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free #deb-src ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free
# non-us deb ftp://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US testing/non-US main contrib non-free #deb-src ftp://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US testing/non-US main contrib non-free deb ftp://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US unstable/non-US main contrib non-free #deb-src ftp://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US unstable/non-US main contrib non-free deb http://download.videolan.org/pub/videolan/debian sid main
# MEPIS cds #deb file:/mnt/cdrom testing main # MEPIS pool - specific packages available on-line deb http://2004.mepis.org/mepis testing main # DO NOT EDIT ABOVE THIS LINE # mplayer deb ftp://ftp.nerim.net/debian-marillat/ unstable main # java deb ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/devel/lang/java/blackdown.org/debian unstable main non-free

If we look under the #Primary heading we see that the main archives being used are "testing" and "unstable." Also, further down in the file listing is the Mepis specific updates that are "testing," as well. When apt-upgrade runs it will get the latest versions from these archives.

apt-get dist-upgrade

apt-get dist-upgrade

The dist-upgrade option will try to intelligently modify installed packages, if necessary, to accommodate a new package. Regular upgrade won't modify or remove existing packages to put in a new one. Simply type:

apt-get dist-upgrade

Overall, the apt-get command is pretty easy to use to bring your system up to date.

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