[kwlug-disc] is it just me, or is debian package management painful?

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Thu Aug 13 16:39:52 EDT 2009

On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 4:28 PM, Robert P. J. Day <rpjday at crashcourse.ca>wrote:

>  as a followup to my earlier post(s), i have to ask -- is it just my
> unfamiliarity with .deb package management, or is the sackful of
> debian package mgmt utilities really that much of a pain?

For what its worth, here is a counter point.

I have been using Debian (Ubuntu), and it is
a breeze compared to the alternatives.

All I do is use the default repository, which has a vast assortment of
and use the high level aptitude (not even apt-get, nor the lower level dpkg
It is very reliable, resolves dependencies automatically, and everything
just works.

>  seriously, over the last couple days, i've tried to do some *very*
> simple things and, to my consternation, discovered that there's no
> easy way to do them.

Searching for a package is easy
# aptitude search something

Installing is easy
# aptitude install somepackage

Removing is easy
# aptitude remove somepackage

Or purge the files that was installed
# aptitude purge somepackage

Staying up to date is the easiest part
# aptitude update && aptitude safe-upgrade

>  case in point:  i have a .deb file sitting in front of me, on the
> system.  i want to install it, and have the process automatically go
> out and grab the deps for it.  AFAICT, no single command for that.

I don't know about your specific case, but dpkg is at a very low level
down the .deb chain. Higher level tools are the ones that should be used
to resolve dependencies and install what is needed. By using dpkg, you
are going down to a low level.

Those high level tools do call dpkg themselves.

>  similarly, i have the .deb file of a newer version for a package
> that's already installed.  how to upgrade using that, again with deps
> being handled automagically?  no idea.

For me, on production systems, I want to stay with whatever is in the
because that is tested together as a whole and dependencies, compatibilities

>  i'll spend the evening reading the pkg mgmt docs for debian but,
> really, i would have thought that what i was trying to do should be
> *incredibly* straightforward.  not to sound parochial, but i have been
> seriously spoiled by yum and rpm.

> rday
> --
> ========================================================================
> Robert P. J. Day                               Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA
>        Linux Consulting, Training and Annoying Kernel Pedantry.
> Web page:                                          http://crashcourse.ca
> Twitter:                                       http://twitter.com/rpjday
> ========================================================================
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Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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