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aptitude vs. apt-get: what is the recommended (aka the “right”) tool to use actually?

What is the difference between apt-get vs aptitude. Which one is better? pros/cons?

marked as duplicate by Sathyajith Bhat, Gilles, Nifle, BinaryMisfit Oct 13 '10 at 7:45

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 12 '10 at 23:04

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aptitude is a front-end to APT (Advanced Packaging Tool). It is smarter at resolving dependencies, will install packages markt as recommended by default and is currently recommended to upgrade distributions.

Furthermore, aptitude can be used with a menu driven interface, while it also provides a commandline interface similiar (but more powerful) then apt-get alone.


Basically, aptitude is menu-driven, while apt-get is purely CLI. In other words, with aptitude, you can browse through categories and see what packages are available to install or uninstall, while with apt-get, you need to know the exact name of the packages you're installing or uninstalling.

As for pros and cons, it's all about preference. apt-get is certainly a lot faster if you know what you want, but if you're more familiar with menus, aptitude is for you.

  • Then how do you explain aptitude install XXX or aptitude update or aptitude dist-upgrade? – Billy ONeal Oct 12 '10 at 23:14
  • As others have said, aptitude is a front-end to APT, so it uses the same command line arguments as apt-get. I generally use apt-get for my package updating needs and have only used aptitude sans arguments, so I wasn't previously aware it could be used in a similar fashion to apt-get. – clpo13 Oct 12 '10 at 23:18
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    No, aptitude are distinct command-line front ends, and the fact that they have many (by no means all) similar command line arguments is due to developer convergence and not to code sharing. – Gilles Oct 12 '10 at 23:33
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    I think it's become painfully obvious to everyone involved how little I know about aptitude. – clpo13 Oct 12 '10 at 23:41

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