Include aptitude in base installation

Bug #592336 reported by cariboo
This bug affects 36 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: aptitude

It has come to our attention that the developers want remove aptitude from the base installation again. Most of us that run a testing version use aptitude safe-upgrade, in order to not break the installation when upgrading new packages, especially when we've been notified of new packages that could cause severe breakage. I find aptitude with it's options is a very useful tool during testing, removing it will make the job a lot harder.

(This is based on a conversation with Colin Watson on IRC and the references given)
The initial rationale is basically size; approximately 2MB (which in the scope of things are very precious on the liveCD) will be gained by removing tasksel and aptitude.

The initial reason why aptitude was included in ubuntu was that the desktop installer (ubiquity) depended on it, but now the desktop installer has been rewritten to not require it unless in particular cases, and hence it goes.

The alternate install CD will still install aptitude and tasksel, since the debian-installer which is used in installation requires it.

Likewise the server install of ubuntu will still include it (presumably also since it uses debian-installer)

This was part of the "Maverick Spring Cleaning" which was discussed during UDS-M and is specified here:
As "Install tasksel and aptitude dynamically"

More info here:
"We could substantially reduce the size of the minimal seed by installing tasksel and aptitude dynamically, so that we don't end up with them on live-installed systems. We will still need to keep tasksel in the server seed."

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.10
Package: aptitude
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.35-2.3-generic 2.6.35-rc2
Uname: Linux 2.6.35-2-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
Architecture: amd64
Date: Thu Jun 10 09:52:34 2010
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" - Release amd64 (20100429)
 PATH=(custom, no user)
SourcePackage: aptitude

Revision history for this message
cariboo (cariboo) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Tom Pino (metalsmith-rangeweb) wrote :

This is a tool that is not only handy in testing, there are times when it is just the best thing for the job and those are times when it may be real hard to get it due to malfunctions in other package tools.

We have several partitioners, sfdisk is I would say little used. It would be easy to install, for those who even know about it, using aptitude.

Revision history for this message
vmc (vmclark) wrote :

I use Aptitude and all its functions, including "show", "search", etc. Please include it back in the tool set. There's a lot of features that Aptitude brings that just can't be replaced!

Revision history for this message
Tim Cuthbertson (ratcheer) wrote :

aptitude is the only package manager I use, 99% of the time. Please keep it in the base installation. Thank you.

Revision history for this message
Martin Erik Werner (arand) wrote :

Updated description with references to the decision.

description: updated
Revision history for this message
Jane Atkinson (irihapeti) wrote :

I use aptitude (the ncurses interface) extensively when creating a minimal install from a command-line version. I especially like the "no recommends" option, which allows me to pick and choose components when building up a system. apt-get requires me to know the exact name of a package ahead of time, and often wants to install a whole lot of other stuff that I don't want.

Revision history for this message
oldos2er (oldos2er) wrote :

 Please reconsider the decision to remove aptitude from the base install. CLI tools are important for the desktop, as well as a server, and we (Ubuntu desktop users) have few enough of them installed by default as it is.

Revision history for this message
Philip Muškovac (yofel) wrote :

This isn't a bug in aptitude but in the ubuntu meta packages where the change happened.

affects: aptitude (Ubuntu) → ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu)
Changed in ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Iain Buclaw (iainb) wrote :

I'll be the bad guy here, and say that I +1 to aptitude's removal.

Most, if not all things you can do in aptitude can be done in apt-get, apt-cache and dpkg, and at a quicker execution speed too.

Someone mentioned show and search. Why not use the below two instead?

apt-cache show pkg
apt-cache search regex

Revision history for this message
Philip Muškovac (yofel) wrote :

Am I the only one that finds apt-cache search too limited? Aptitude has search patterns

Revision history for this message
Stephan Muhs (stephan-dinoco) wrote :

I also find aptitude more useful than apt-get in many cases and would not want to see it omitted.

If 2 MB of space on the image is a concern, there are other ways to make room: remove some wallpapers and other non-functional stuff on the Live-CD. Also, at this point in time, one should start to consider if the limitation to the 700MB CD-size isn't a bit archaic. Most any computer nowadays has DVD capability and many "Live CDs" get copied to USB-sticks anyway.

Revision history for this message
Iain Buclaw (iainb) wrote :

Stephan, there are DVD installers available. And the 700MB CD-size should never be knocked, as there are still quite a number of us who still depend on it.

In the meantime, there is a discussion about this change in the development ML, you can read it here:


Revision history for this message
kozimodo (forums-theo) wrote :

+1 for keeping aptitude.

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lithorus (lithorus) wrote :

I find aptitude absolute essential.
+1 for keeping aptitude

Revision history for this message
Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

cariboo907 wrote > I find aptitude with it's options is a very useful tool during testing, removing it will make the job a lot harder.
Then just install it, it's not like it's been removed from the repo's

The question is not whether aptitude has value (certainly does), but whether it needs to be on the base install (live cd

Have not yet seen any reasons presented as to why it needs to be included.

Revision history for this message
Linard Verstraete (linardv) wrote :

It should remain included in the base install, since aptitude has the value when things go wrong. If your system gets broken beyond just fixing a configuration file, when you loose your comfy graphical X-server, ... then aptitude's value is needed. And you (as a user for who fixing a broken system isn't trivial, or as the person who needs to fix it for someone else) can actually use it since it's already present.

Revision history for this message
FreeUser (ddwqrbgrbfig) wrote :

I use aptitude ALOT, especially to uninstall things.

And from my experince it's MUCH better to solve dependices than apt-get, and at fixing broken packages.

Also Debians, documenation prefers aptitude over apt-get, and I belive they have a good reasor for this.

Personally I can't belive such a great tool as aptiude should be deleted just to save a few MBs...

Revision history for this message
m4v (m4v) wrote :

fixed links in bug description

description: updated
Revision history for this message
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

It is really pretty trivial to add aptitude back if you want it - 'apt-get install aptitude' is not hard for those who can handle aptitude in the first place. Also, the mention of the server installation shows that whoever said it hadn't actually checked the maverick server installation - it's still installed by default on servers (due to its optional use for interactive package selection during server installations).

Regarding upgrades, aptitude has a different dependency resolver which handles things quite differently from apt-get, and the fact is that we simply do not routinely test that dependency resolver. I'd rather encourage people to report dependency resolution problems in the tools that we use by default (apt-get, update-manager, the release upgrader) rather than retaining and encouraging the use of a forked toolset.

The base system is constantly tight on space, and everyone wants a piece of that space. I'm afraid we're going to have to continue to be pretty brutal about what we include there. But, as mentioned, aptitude is of course not being removed from the Ubuntu repository as a whole.

Mathew Hodson (mhodson)
summary: - Removal of aptitude from base installation
+ Include aptitude in base installation
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