I would like to use aptitude since its parameters are more consistent.

You can install it with: sudo apt-get install aptitude

Are there any reasons not to use it with elementary OS?

  • I can't find the source, but I remember having read that apt-get is considered the future standard on Ubuntu and eOS and thus the recommended option to choose.
    – orschiro
    Jul 1, 2015 at 7:58
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    @orschiro Aptitude and apt-get have evolved partly independently, and which one is the most advanced has varied over time. Currently aptitude suffers from a lack of maintenance (the historical maintainer no longer has enough time) so it's lagging behind apt-get. Jul 1, 2015 at 18:36

1 Answer 1



Yes you can.

Full answer:

What are the differences?

  1. aptitude adds explicit per-package flags, indicating whether a package was automatically installed to satisfy a dependency: you can manipulate those flags (aptitude markauto or aptitude unmarkauto) to change the way aptitude treats the package.

    apt-get keeps track of the same information, but will not show it explicitly. apt-mark can be used for manipulating the flags.

  2. aptitude will offer to remove unused packages each time you remove an installed package, whereas apt-get will only do that if explicitly asked to with apt-get autoremove or specify --auto-remove.

  3. aptitude acts as a single command-line front-end to most of the functionalities in both apt-get and apt-cache.

  4. In contrast to apt-cache's "search", aptitude's "search" output also shows the installed/removed/purged status of a package (plus aptitude's own status flags). Also, the "install" output marks which packages are being installed to satisfy a dependency, and which are being removed because unused.

Source, Ask Ubuntu

So there are a few differences between apt-get and aptitude. Because of this, it is recommended to chose one and stick with it. I've always used apt-get - partly because that's what the internet uses.

aptitude is supposed to be a user level program whereas apt-get is supposed to be used by higher level programs like aptitude. It just turns out apt-get is easy to use by users so they just use it instead of using the higher level managers like aptitude and synaptic.

Source, Ask Ubuntu

Why is it easier? I'd say because it doesn't do as much. It's like the difference between a clean UI and a cluttered UI:

New users are much more likely to want to use this UI ▲ because it's easier to understand and navigate.

The command line is scary enough when you come from Windows or OS X - the lack of being able to download everything by clicking (which you can (other than ppas), but oh so slow) is worrying to a new user.

So anything that makes that experience better is going to make them happier.

apt-get does have the advantage of being more memory-efficient. This is unlikely to be noticeable for most users; I wasn't really aware of it until I tried to upgrade packages on a full Debian install with 32MB of RAM.

Source, Super User

Currently, Ubuntu ships with apt-get, and aptitude avaliable to install. Popularity for aptitude (red has always been lower than apt (blue):

But this graph for aptitude vs apt-get suggests something else:

Probably just users are getting lazier and not typing -get.

Anyway, back to your question: "Are there any reasons not to use it with elementary OS?"

Not really - pick one and go with it. apt-get is the future standard, but as long as aptitude is avaliable why not use it?

Finally, one more article:

Canonical has announced plans to switch all versions of Ubuntu to its new Snappy package manager. The new tool offers the promise of greater stability and security for the system and applications.

Currently, Ubuntu uses the Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) and the lower-level dpkg tool to manage packages. They are inherited from Debian and are used on a wide range of distros, including Elementary OS.


Image Source

  • very good answer! "whereas apt-get is supposed to be used by higher level programs like aptitude" aren't apt-get and aptitude both frontends for apt? for me aptitude is easyer because it is one programm to use like apti + [TAB] and it has multiple options for dependency resolution.
    – davidak
    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:07
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    Why do you recommend to pick one and stick with it? There's no technical problem with mixing them up. The only reason I can think of to pick one is to have less to learn, but it's definitely fine to use apt-get for its quicker command line and aptitude for its interactive interface. Jul 1, 2015 at 18:38
  • @Tim apt-get has also supported these flags for far longer than elementary has existed, so they aren't an issue. Jul 1, 2015 at 21:38
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    Tim, you MUST give proper attribution when you quote somebody else's words. That includes both marking up the text as a quote (which you did) and including the person's identification (for Stack Exchange, a link to their profile), which you failed to do. If you don't want to acknowledge the author, write the text in your own words. Jul 1, 2015 at 22:28
  • I have little experience with aptitude but on one occasion I was very impressed by it, as it was the way to solving a very tricky problem when Wine couldn't be installed. Has apt-get such detailed options as the one used there (sudo aptitude --full-resolver -f install <packagename>)?
    – user170
    Jul 9, 2015 at 23:19

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