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Notes about apt


apt is a debian beast for me, with a lot of power and capabilities. Unfortunately, I feel that I don’t really and fully understand its capabilities. After skimming at its manual, I found the following very useful information.

  • apt-get clean will remove ALL the cache of packages apt has downloaded. These packages are cached in the system to be re-used in case of re-install or copy to another machine.
  • apt-get autoclean removes only package files that can no longer be downloaded, i.e., old package versions or obsolete packages.
  • apt-get update -u will do the same job as Gnome’s Update Manager, only run at the command line.
  1. I’ve really never found a good use-case for “autoclean”, so I just run “clean”.

    Another very handy command is:

    apt-get autoremove – which removes packages that were installed with others, but which you no longer require. I have never encountered a problem in doing this YMMV of course.

    And worth remembering “purge” to remove applications AND configuration data, otherwise you end up with loads of orphaned configuration files, e.g. :

    apt-get purge packagename (instead of apt-get remove packagename).

    • Thank you very much for your points. APT is really a very useful tool with lots of features and functions but, unfortunately, with only adequate documentation. So, I never feel confident with its functions except from the very basics. Yet, I find myself using more and more everyday the command-line tools to administer my systems, rather than the great Synaptic! Tips like yours bring more confidence to people like me.

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