To those it may concern

  |   Source

Please find enclosed an updated version of Mike Taylor's FAQ, "Why Debian Is Not My Favourite Operating System".

  1. How can I add a package?

    That's easy! Just use aptitude install package.

  2. How can I upgrade my installation to the latest version?

    That's easy! Just use aptitude update; aptitude full-upgrade.

  3. How can I search for a package?

    That's easy! Just use aptitude search keyword.

  4. How can I reconfigure an already-installed package?

    That's easy! Just use dpkg-reconfigure package. (Sorry, this one still sucks.)

  5. How can I get cutting-edge versions of some packages?

    You can upgrade to testing or unstable by replacing your distribution name in /etc/apt/sources.list with one of those keywords, and then following the instructions in FAQ 2. Please be warned that this is not, in general, a reversible operation.

  6. How can I keep stable versions of most packages?

    You can't; mixing and maxing packages from stable with packages from unstable or testing will likely result in insanity, hair loss, and result in a broken system. However, if you want to mostly stick with stable, but want updated versions of a handful of packages, backported versions of many packages are available at; these are newer versions of packages compiled against the older libraries in stable. See the site for more information on how to make use of backports.

  7. Why is php4 deleted when I install netpbm?

    It isn't. However, when trying to diagnose other issues of this kind, you can use aptitude why package to tell you why a certain package is required, and aptitude why-not package to tell you why a certain package conflicts with other packages if you try to install it.

  8. Why can't I reinstall PHP4?

    You can, but see FAQ 7 for more information about similar issues.

  9. How can I downgrade my system back to stable?

    You can't. While you can attempt to downgrade any individual package by forcing the package manager to select an older version (for example, aptitude install package=version), downgrades are explicitly not supported, and trying to downgrade masses of packages at once, or downgrade a package to a much older version, will likely result in failure and a broken system.

  10. How can I fix “also in package'' errors?

    Don't downgrade. If you got this error while doing something else, report a bug.

  11. How can I fix another, seemingly identical, error?

    Seriously, no downgrades!

  12. How can I fix yet another, also seemingly identical, error?

    I mean it, no downgrades!

  13. How can I fix all the other similar errors?

    Seriously, I'm not even joking.

  14. So how the hell are you supposed to downgrade?

    You're not!

  15. What's the relationship between apt, dpkg and dselect?

    dpkg is the low level tool for manipulating Debian packages. apt is a library that provides additional functionality on top of dpkg, such as locating and downloading packages on demand, and performing dependency analysis to install dependencies at the same time. apt-get is a basic apt frontend usable from the command-line. aptitude is a more advanced apt frontend which is usable from the command-line as well as having an ncurses GUI. There are also a variety of other package management frontends, such as synaptic. dselect is an ancient dpkg frontend that basically nobody uses anymore; if you don't know what it is, then forget you ever heard about it.

  16. Remind me again how easy Debian makes package-management?

    Well, Debian's far from perfect, it's just better than everything else. *g*

Comments powered by Disqus