On Ubuntu when you install a package, there can be dependencies, recommendations and suggestions. For example: virtualbox-ose has adduser as dependency, libgl1 as recommendation and libpulse0 as suggestion.

What is the difference between recommendations and suggestions?

Recommendations are standard installed with apt. This can be prevented using the switch --no-install-recommends

Second question: How can you force to install suggestions with apt?


See Debian's FAQ about this. Ubuntu is based on Debian, so it should be the same:

  • Package A recommends Package B, if the package maintainer judges that most users would not want A without also having the functionality provided by B.
  • Package A suggests Package B if B contains files that are related to (and usually enhance) the functionality of A.
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    Thanks! Is there a way (command-line switch) to automatically install suggested packages? – Peter Smit Nov 15 '09 at 13:16
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    @PeterSmit you can add the option -o APT::Install-Suggests=true to the aptitude install PKGNAME command line to tell it to install suggested packages. – Colin D Bennett Jun 30 '14 at 18:38

You can avoid recommended packages from being included in an install in Synaptic via Settings, Preferences, General tab: Untick "Consider recommended packages as dependencies".

With apt-get, you can include the switch "--no-install-recommends".

Dependencies must be present to run the package. I can't tell you what specifically qualifies a package as a recommended one other than what the adjective suggests.

A CLI method of displaying dependencies and suggests is: apt-cache show Example: apt-cache show gimp

  • 3
    What about the main question. What is the difference between recommendations and suggestions? You don't mention suggestions at all! – Peter Smit Nov 13 '09 at 17:00

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