Monday, February 23, 2009

From Gutsy Gibbon to Interpid Ibex in under 20

So, like I wrote in my previous post, my experience migrating to Ubuntu was pretty effortless and painless for the most part. There are just two small issues that remain before I can consider myself "completely up-and-running"

1. The resolution of my monitor is kinda crappy (a max of 800x600)
2. My wireless card doesn't work.

Now, while I go about trying to resolve those issues, I am sure I'll have to do a bit of packet updating and installing. So, I figure why not be systematic and figure out how package management is handled under Ubuntu

With that in mind, I decided to get up to speed with the Ubuntu package manager, today. And may I say it is just a charm to use. It took me under 20min to upgrade my system (yes my entire Debian system) from 7.10 to 8.10! How did I do it. Just one line:

anil@anil-laptop:/home$ sudo apt-get -u dist-upgrade

That's it! That's the power of the APT manager in Ubuntu!

APT is basically the Debian Packet Management Utility in Ubuntu. What it does is, maintains a database of packages, dependencies and versions and then pulls whatever has changed or doesn't exist on your system out of a "repository" (fancy name for a server that stores .deb files, which are the equivalents of .rpms, in Ubuntu).

Using APT to install/ upgrade/ remove packages, can be done in two ways

Command Line: If you are like me and prefer this, you'll find this quick cheatsheet useful:
* apt-get update app: updates etc/apt/sources.list file that is a local database of all updates
* apt-get install app : installs app (installs dependencies as well)
* apt-get --reinstall install app : WIll repair or reinstall new version of app
* apt-get remove app : removes app (will take out dependent packages as well)
* apt-get purge remove app : removes app + any configuration files.
* apt-get -u upgrade: upgrades packages and lists (-u option) what is being upgraded.
* apt-get -u dist-upgrade: upgrades the entire distro (ubuntu)

GUI mode: For this, there is Synaptic, which is a graphical frontend implementation of APT, and can be accessed from the taskbar under System | Administration | Synaptic Package Manager

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