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Sometimes a sudo aptitude upgrade fails and sudo aptitude upgrade --full-resolver then wants to remove about 100 Packages, because of "dependecy conflicts".

Often I can then start update-manager and it offers me a "Teilweise Systemaktualisierung" (roughly "partially distribution upgrade"), when I run this then all packages are updated and it does this without removing any packages in most cases.

Since I want to avoid using graphical tools for this kind of stuff, my question is: is there a way to start the "partially dist-upgrade" via command line? Prefferably with aptitude?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I generally also dist-upgrade by default. And when it wants to remove crazy amounts of packages, I either say no repeatedly until it comes up with a sane solution, or I switch to aptitude upgrade.

Aptitude's interactive mode can also be a handy way to get around complex conflict situations (just run aptitude to launch it.)

Sometimes apt-get comes up with better solutions by default (in apt-get one doesn't get the chance to reject solutions).

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Often switching to apt-get in this situation can help you out. Next time this happens, try apt-get upgrade or even apt-get dist-upgrade. Historically this wasn't advisable because aptitude and apt-get used different databases, but these days that isn't an issue.

As always, make sure to read the solution that is being proposed to you (especially if you dist-upgrade as this may remove packages). One advantage of aptitude (and why I generally use it first) is that you get to reject solutions and choose your own if you want to. apt-get does not have this facility so it is more difficult to play with if the solution it gives you isn't one you want. Unfortunately aptitude doesn't get developed very much these days (hopefully this will change again in the future) so we may have to rely on apt-get more and more in the future.

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At the moment aptitude cannot handle Multi Arch packages, so there is still a difference between APT and aptitude now. – Lekensteyn Jan 10 '12 at 21:08
Right, that would be a situation where apt can find a solution that aptitude cannot. – Iain Lane Jan 10 '12 at 21:49

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