Category : Tools
We love productivity tools of all kind and believe that software should be making our lives easier. For some reason many software products we have to work with don’t really feel like their creators agree. They may have great architecture, reliability and functionality but it looks like usability is snapped on as an afterthought.
One example of this is apt – the Advanced Packaging Tool used on Debian/Ubuntu Linux. While a great tool in itself, for some reason it provides a number of different user interfaces for different purposes.
To install/remove/upgrade/download a package there's the apt-get tool: apt-get is a simple command line interface for downloading and installing packages. The most frequently used commands are update and install. Commands: update - Retrieve new lists of packages upgrade - Perform an upgrade install - Install new packages (pkg is libc6 not libc6.deb) remove - Remove packages autoremove - Remove automatically all unused packages purge - Remove packages and config files source - Download source archives build-dep - Configure build-dependencies for source packages dist-upgrade - Distribution upgrade, see apt-get(8) dselect-upgrade - Follow dselect selections clean - Erase downloaded archive files autoclean - Erase old downloaded archive files check - Verify that there are no broken dependencies changelog - Download and display the changelog for the given package download - Download the binary package into the current directory
But then if you want to search or query for packages you have to remember that a different utility is used – apt-cache:
apt-cache is a low-level tool used to query information from APT's binary cache files Commands: gencaches - Build both the package and source cache showpkg - Show some general information for a single package showsrc - Show source records stats - Show some basic statistics dump - Show the entire file in a terse form dumpavail - Print an available file to stdout unmet - Show unmet dependencies search - Search the package list for a regex pattern show - Show a readable record for the package depends - Show raw dependency information for a package rdepends - Show reverse dependency information for a package pkgnames - List the names of all packages in the system dotty - Generate package graphs for GraphViz xvcg - Generate package graphs for xvcg policy - Show policy settings
And what if we want to list all the files installed by a specific package? Well we’re supposed to remember that there’s a special utility for that – apt-file. And it’s not installed by default…
Figures we weren’t the only ones puzzled by this multitude of interfaces. Wajig is targeted at exactly that – providing a unified interface to all package-related functionality on Debian/Ubuntu. Or as stated on the site:
“Wajig is a simplifed and more unified command-line interface for package management. It adds a more intuitive quality to the user interface. Wajig commands are entered as the first argument to wajig. For example: “wajig install gnome”. Written in Python, Wajig uses traditional Debian administration and user tools including apt-get, dpkg, apt-cache, wget, and others. It is intended to unify and simplify common administrative tasks. … You will also love the fact that it logs what you do so you have a trail of bread crumbs to back track with if you install something that breaks things.”
Another nice thing – wajig knows when root privileges are needed and takes care of that, so we don’t need to rerun a command each time we forget to prepend it with sudo.
We still need to play with wajig a bit more to decide if it performs on all its promises but it definitely is going into a right direction.
Wishing you all user-friendly software and a good week.