The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Aptitude for Package Management

If you spend enough time around Debian and Ubuntu folks, you are sure to see someone praising the benefits of Aptitude over Apt-Get for package management. Aptitude, which has both an n-curses semi-graphical version and a command-line version, is superior according to some, but there are plenty who still prefer apt-get. What follows are some benefits and disadvantages of aptitude.


  • Aptitude offers per-package flags so that you can determine if a package was automatically installed and configure aptitude to treat it however you want
  • Aptitude will automatically offer to do what “apt-get autoremove” does, removing unused packages
  • You can search with aptitude, just as you would with the separate apt-cache command.


  • It can sometimes be too specific. If you do not want to go through interactive screens fine-tuning your packages, apt-get might be simpler
  • Apt-get may hold advantages over aptitude when it comes to installing source packages
  • Aptitude may automate some things you want to do manually.

The advantages of aptitude are very good for some users, and the disadvantages are rather small. Which package management tool you choose is really a preference, and both are great choices.