Apt is the debian tool to install, remove and search packages. It is a front-end to the dpkg package manager and offer easy searching, installing …, by using apt-get and apt-cache.
This Howto will give you the basic commands you need to know for installing, removing, searching package and so on.
1. Searching for packages: apt-cache
Let say, I’m looking for xmms plugins, the tool for searching is apt-cache.
apt-cache search xmms plugin
This will output a list of packages and their short description which are related to your search.
2. Getting more Information about a package: apt-cache
You can obtain detailled information about a package, such as the version, the maintainer name, the size occupied by the package once it will be installed and a longer description:
apt-cache show package1 package2 ...
3. Installing a package: apt-get install
Once you pointed out a package you want to install, you need to type:
sudo apt-get install xmms-status-plugin
You might need to install several package at the same time, in that case simply add any other package one after the other one, separated by a “ “ (Space).
sudo apt-get install package1 package2 ...
apt-get automatically deals with dependencies, therefore any required package will be installed.
If the package you want to install is already install, you can force the reinstallation by using the
sudo apt-get install xmms-status-plugin --reinstall
4. Removing packages: apt-get remove
There is 2 ways of removing a package:
- remove the binaries, doc,…
- remove the binaries as well as the configuration file.
For a simple removing type:
sudo apt-get remove package1 package2
For a complete remove:
sudo apt-get remove package1 package2 --purge
5. Update your package database: apt-get update
You basically need to update your package manager anytime you want to install new package. Revision, Releases might have changed…
sudo apt-get update
will update the software database but will not upgrade your system.
6. Upgrading your system: apt-get [dist-]upgrade
In order to turn you system up-to-date with the latest softwares, you need to upgrade your system.
There is 2 different upgrade available: a simple upgrade and a smart upgrade. The smart approach also handle changing dependencies.
The first call is achieved with:
sudo apt-get upgrade
The smart upgrade with:
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
7. Resolving conflicts and Broken packages: apt-get
Some installation, upgrade might sometime turn wrong. Most of the time a call to:
sudo apt-get -f install
will attempt to correct a system with broken dependencies.
8. Checking for dependencies and reverse dependencies: apt-cache
You can get the list of packages a given package depends on:
apt-cache depends package1 package2
as well as a list of packages depending on a given package:
apt-cache rdepends package1 package2
this is called reverse dependencies.