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Re: [vox-tech] Need some help choosing a linux flavor for an oldlaptop
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Re: [vox-tech] Need some help choosing a linux flavor for an oldlaptop

Quoting Ken Bloom (kbloom@gmail.com):

> I'm sure you're familiar with all of these points, but I feel like 
> typing them anyway.

Appreciated, in the name of collective understanding.  (I do mean that.)

> When you use *aptitude*, it can keep track of which packages were 
> manually installed (i.e. you asked for it explicitly on the 
> commandline) and which were automatically installed (i.e. it got pulled 
> in as a dependancy, for example libraries and *-data or *-common 
> packages) when an automatically installed package has nothing installed 
> that depends on it anymore, then aptitude will automatically remove the 
> unused package.
> apt-get doesn't have that feature.

Specifically, aptitude tracks this information in
/var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates, just as debfoster has /var/lib/debfoster/keepers,
and probably deborphan does something similar.

It's a good idea, and although one could wish that all these tools would
collaborate on standards for extended state information, in the shorter
term it's probably just as well that each is experimenting in its own
way, to find out what works.

Which is in part a roundabout way of getting me to a larger point:
Although I'm not wedded to the idea of using raw apt-get, I keep coming
back to it, because its faults are least annoying and well understood, 
its semantics are reliable, and it just gets the job done with no fuss.

I do try new versions of aptitude from time to time (both command-line
mode and ncurses), and have considerable hopes for it -- not to mention
the fact that Joey Hess urges its use as a full apt-get replacement that
in his view is superior in every way.  Unfortunately, I tend not to keep
good enough notes to remember, a year later, in what respects it crashed
and burned the last time I put it through its paces.  One area, if memory
serves, was specifically this matter of extended state information:  It
tended to get it wrong, usually losing dependency information in the
process.  debfoster doesn't have that problem.  So, software-bigoted
fossil that I am, I keep using debfoster -- deprecated or not -- to
address the same problem space.

> > Neat trick.  I never saw that one before.  Probably because I don't
> > trust aptitude (see below).
> That's actually a feature originally from apt-get.

Well, cool.  I learn something every day.

> Actually, aptitude seems to make less decisions for me than apt-get 
> does.

Fair enough.  I should say, instead, that apt-get seems to make slightly
less overarching and more-predictable decisions, leaving more discretion
to the admin by default.

> Aptitude gives you options for the Recommends: field, but not for the 
> suggests field. apt-get doesn't give you any, which basically means 
> that it corresponds to one of these options. I don't see what your 
> problem is with this.

Without getting into a long discussion that would tax my fatigued brain
and probably lead me into careless error, I really meant in relation to
the same functionality in dselect -- which, ironically, is not normally
relevant because I don't generally use it.  ;->  But I do when I want 
intelligent, programmatic handling of "Suggests:" packages.

(Which, on reflection, isn't actually very often.)

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