Aptitude is a native packet manager for Debian Linux which is based on apt. I prefer to use it if available because of easiness. Below some tips on how to use it in graphic mode.


  • Update packet database before do anything else by pressing u
  • Action on selected packages: + for add or update - for remove = for hold version.
  • Use Ctr+T to open menu with all available commands
  • Aptitude uses different screens. For example during the update new screen appears but the main screen is not closed but only overlapped, you can navigate through them with F6 and F7 . And you can close any screen by pressing q . Aptitude is closed if you close the last screen.
  • / for search n for next element. Alternatively press l for reducing the package tree for only search results. Un-Limit is again by deleting filter or by navigation through menu-> Search-> Un-Limit Display…
  • [Shift+U] select all packets for upgrade.
  • by conflicts you can examine them by pressing e and then switch between proposals by pressing , and . However sometimes it’s there are just um any.  Therefore to guide aptitude you can select a particular package then switch in the info-panel by pressing Tab and explicitly reject one of the proposals by pressing r. For example, you maybe want to reject any proposal of removal of that particular package.


Current state column

Symbol Description
i The package is installed and all its dependencies are satisfied.
c The package was removed, but its configuration files are still present.
p The package and all its configuration files were removed, or the package was never installed.
v The package is virtual.
B The package has broken dependencies.
u The package has been unpacked but not configured.
C half-configured: the package’s configuration was interrupted.
H half-installed: the package’s installation was interrupted.

Action flags (what will be done)

Symbol Description
i The package will be installed.
u The package will be upgraded.
d The package will be deleted: it will be removed, but its configuration files will remain on the system.
p The package will be purged: it and its configuration files will be removed.
h the package will be held back: it will be kept at its current version, even if a newer version becomes available, until the hold is cancelled.
F An upgrade of the package has been forbidden.
r The package will be reinstalled.
B The package is “broken”: some of its dependencies will not be satisfied. aptitude will not allow you to install, remove, or upgrade anything while you have broken packages


Symbol Description
A automatically installed package as dependency
U Package from Untrusted source