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Debian Package Management Made Easy

  • June 15, 2011
  • By Joe Brockmeier

Debian's package tools makes it easy to install and manage packages. For more complex tasks, however, tools are not as well-advertised. ServerWatch highlights five options worth checking out.


If you've ever thought "there should be a command that does X" for Linux, there probably is. Finding it, however, is not always easy. This is especially true when managing packages on Debian-based systems.

Debian's package tools (dpkg, the APT suite and utilities like aptitude) make the basics of installing and managing packages very easy. When you want to do more complex things, however, they're still easy(ish), but the options or tools you want are not as well-advertised.

One thing that is often useful is to know why a package was installed. To find out, we want to use the aptitude utility, which will provide this very easily and quickly. Use aptitude why packagename to find out what package requires or suggests the package.

If you want to install packages that have been "kept back," you'll often hear people suggest that you use dist-upgrade instead of upgrade. However, a better way to do this -- without carrying a bunch of updates forward that you may not want, is to use aptitude instead of apt-get.

Read the rest of "5 Tips for Managing Debian Packages" on ServerWatch.

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