I’ve been using dpkg, apt-get and apt-cache for a long time, but since I got a new laptop with a fresh install of Debian testing I have been playing with new toys.
One is aptitude.
I found the curses-based interface obnoxious, but after some time I came to like the command line interface. It has some very nice abilities.
It integrates debfoster functionality as it automatically uninstalls unused dependencies of packages being removed. That’ll be a great help in maintaining a clean uncluttered system.
The search function is really useful, adding a lot of possibilities that used to require several programs. Here are few examples:
Search for all packages whose description matches “syncml”:

aptitude search ~dsyncml

Search for installed packages depending on “rsync”:

aptitude search ~Drsync~i

The search patterns are regular expressions, so the above will actually search for an installed package depending on some other package whose name contains the substring “rsync”.
Simpel terms search on the package names, such as:

aptitude search '^rdiff'

Aptitude has a silly little easter egg. Try “aptitude moo” and then add “-v” options one at a time.


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