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I am running Debian Jessie, and this is the content of my sources.list file:

deb jessie main contrib non-free
deb jessie/updates main contrib non-free

I can update the system with apt-get update and apt-get upgrade from the command line with no problem. However, when I try to update from synaptic (the GUI package manager), using the Mark All Upgrades button, I get lots of suggested changes, including the removal of gnome, gnome-core, and others:

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These are the contents of synaptic's software sources settings:

enter image description here

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So, the question is: why are the suggested upgrades from apt-get and synaptic different? Thanks for your help!

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Synaptic is a GUI front-end for the apt-get application and it uses the apt-get dist-upgrade feature for its upgrading by default as opposed to apt-get upgrade that you are using from the command line.


The reason the recommendations from the processes are different is that dist-upgrade tries to intelligently resolve package dependencies and any issues more deeply than the generic upgrade feature.

In my own experience, I have noticed massive removal recommendations like the ones shown when I am removing/changing elements in different desktop environments.

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I did apt-get dist-upgrade and now both synaptic and apt-get match, thanks! – Milo Sep 30 '13 at 19:37

When you install (or upgrade) a package with apt-get, recommended packages are installed automatically, whereas suggested packages are not installed. This can be changed by using the options --no-install-recommends and/or --install-suggests. On the other hand, synaptic has an option for automatically installing recommended packages in its Settings dialog. Normally, this could be the only reason I can think of for the different behavior of the two package managers.

What strikes me as odd is that synaptic reports your and sources as "other software". Assuming you are on jessie, they should be your main, officially supported software sources. It seems to me, therefore, that synaptic is somehow confused to think that you're still on wheezy and this is the reason why it tries to mess up with your installed packages.

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Hi, thanks for your help. As I noted in my comment for the answer above, after doing apt-get dist-upgrade now both synaptic and apt-get agree; however, it seems synaptic still "believes" I'm on wheezy, I can not even check the boxes for main, officially supported sources... – Milo Sep 30 '13 at 19:42

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