In this answer, I came across this command:

aptitude why firefox

aptitude whylooks like an useful command but I don't want to install aptitude just for that. What is the apt-get equivalent of aptitude why?

2 Answers 2


Instead of apt-get I would have a look at apt-cache, though not one on one the same but close will be:

apt-cache --installed rdepends firefox
  • 1
    This is not right answer. There is no similar for aptitude why
    – Maythux
    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:28
  • Thanks! I mentioned apt-get but apt-cache will do just as well because it is installed by default. I should have made my question clear on this point!
    – DK Bose
    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:29
  • 1
    Even though these two commands are not the same
    – Maythux
    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:32
  • 1
    @maythux, as mentioned in my answer. But it comes close and gives reverse dependencies so it is useful for most users who ask this, so why not mention it?
    – Requist
    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:34
  • 2
    As suggested here there is a bunch of other options you might want to add; apt-cache rdepends --no-suggests --no-conflicts --no-breaks --no-replaces --no-enhances --installed --recurse $package
    – tripleee
    Jun 29, 2015 at 5:10

People might want to know why an automatically installed package is present on the system. To get this information from the command line, you can use aptitude why package

apt-get has no similar feature


  • It was my mistake. I mentioned apt-get but main thing is I didn't want new software. apt-cache is there already! Sorry about confusion :)
    – DK Bose
    Feb 21, 2014 at 12:32
  • So Why downvoting?!
    – Maythux
    Jun 29, 2015 at 10:10

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