Output

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  aptitude*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 to remove and 41 not upgraded.
After this operation, 4650 kB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? 

It just so happens that I've been blogging long enough that I can say with pretty good confidence that I've been using aptitude for about eight years now. Originally, the aptitude resolver was mostly good enough that in most cases, I could just tell aptitude to mark packages for upgrades, and it'd work; only in a few cases did I have to tell it to find a different solution.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case; when given a complex problem, aptitude is far too happy to just go ahead and remove packages these days. Sometimes, when I tell it to upgrade package "foo", it'll find that something is uninstallable, and then tell me that by removing package "foo" (but upgrading some of the libraries it depends on) we can get the situation resolved. The resolver has some more bugs, but this really is the worst of it. Recently, I've noticed that nowadays I often find myself fighting aptitude trying to remove packages, to the point that eventually it gives up and I have to retry with "apt-get update" or "apt-get dist-upgrade" or similar. Which then works flawlessly.

I've decided that enough is enough, and I'll just stick with apt-get for now.

aptitude
I agree, but leave it still installed for "aptitude why ", for which I have not yet found a replacement in the apt-get/apt-cache world. :(
Comment by Fabian Tue Jun 25 16:48:52 2013
Same here
Same here, I still have aptitude, but when I use it to upgrade a specific package, most of the time it offers to remove it as a solution!
Comment by Elessar (tanguy+grep.be@ortolo.eu) Tue Jun 25 16:51:10 2013
aptitude keeps removing packages
Aptitude needs a SAT-Solver. Other distributions are ahead of debian in this issue.
Comment by foobar (foobar@mailinator.com) Tue Jun 25 16:53:11 2013
Helping the resolver
It's possible to help atpitude resolver using 'R' and 'A' on action you Refuse to be done, or you Accept as part of a solution. I often find quickly an interesting solution thanks to both of those key. But some time, aptitude will failed to find the interesting solution, and it's a pain.
Comment by Rémi (vanicat@debian.org) Tue Jun 25 18:10:48 2013
Opposite experience
That's interesting, because I have the exact opposite experience. Even just now when I run apt-get dist-upgrade, apt-get wants to remove clang due to conflicts. A full-upgrade on aptitude at least warns me that it can not resolve the conflict manually.
Comment by cevi Tue Jun 25 18:24:51 2013
dselect
I still prefer the dselect way of going: let you solve the problem, with a good enough interfsace to do it. unluckly it doesn't support multiarch and I don't think it will ever do it, and right now multiarch is essential for my current personal machine. otherwise, I keep using it in servers.
Comment by Marcos Dione Tue Jun 25 20:50:19 2013
It's not the only issue with aptitude

I gave up using aptitude some time ago, too.

One day I noticed that it sometimes clears the auto-installed flag on packages, which results in them staying in the system forever. The last straw was when I saw some packages were still there after an upgrade to wheezy (testing), which I knew were not needed anymore.

When wheezy became stable, I tried aptitude again to check if anything changed, only to see it became worse. See below:

-------------------- >8 --------------------

apt-get install extremetuxracer

... The following extra packages will be installed: extremetuxracer-data extremetuxracer-extras libmikmod2 libsdl-mixer1.2 tcl8.5 ... Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y ...

aptitude show extremetuxracer-data | grep Auto

Automatically installed: yes

aptitude show extremetuxracer-data | grep Auto

Automatically installed: yes

apt-get remove extremetuxracer

... The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required: extremetuxracer-data extremetuxracer-extras libmikmod2 libsdl-mixer1.2 tcl8.5 Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them. The following packages will be REMOVED: extremetuxracer ... Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y ...

apt-get autoremove

... The following packages will be REMOVED: extremetuxracer-data extremetuxracer-extras libmikmod2 libsdl-mixer1.2 tcl8.5 ... Do you want to continue [Y/n]? n Abort. root@debian:/home/user# aptitude show extremetuxracer-data | grep Auto Automatically installed: yes root@debian:/home/user# aptitude show extremetuxracer-data | grep Auto Automatically installed: no <--- WTF?!

apt-get autoremove

Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 114 not upgraded. -------------------- 8< --------------------

`aptitude show', which is intended to show information, changed the auto-install flag state on its own!

Comment by Rootlexx Wed Jun 26 10:18:46 2013
Automatically installed
The one feature that really kept me on aptitude was support for "automatically installed" packages. But googling for it, it looks like apt-get knows about those and has done so since July 2006. Now I feel old.
Comment by Ole Laursen Wed Jun 26 19:31:23 2013
aptitude

Hi,

I have used apt-get for the longest time. Others have always advised me that aptitude was better. Trying it I always was not confident in it's dependency resolving, especially when removing packages. Though I appreciate it's amount of features, I am also going to have to suggest others just use apt-get. I hope aptitude improves though, I would like to see it exceed zypper.

Comment by Samuel (uraharakisuke153@gmail.com) Thu Jun 27 01:46:53 2013
Re: Helping the resolver

I know about these; in fact, that's what I referred to when I said I am often "fighting aptitude" in my blog post.

I must say that it doesn't usually work out for me, actually.

Comment by wouter Thu Jun 27 09:35:47 2013
what for interactive use?
I use aptitude mainly for its curses based interactive mode. Is there a good front end that uses apt-get's resolver for interactive use like aptitude?
Comment by eikenberry (jae@zhar.net) Thu Jun 27 20:25:36 2013
Re: what for interactive use?
I've started using synaptic for that. It's not ideal, but it does use the apt resolver, not the aptitude one.
Comment by wouter Sat Jun 29 08:21:22 2013
Re: aptitude keeps removing packages
There is Mancoosi: http://mancoosi.debian.net/
Comment by sathieu Mon Jul 1 11:13:40 2013