So I am creating some Vagrant provisioning scripts for some Ubuntu (14.04) boxes. I am using commands like this to install Ubuntu packages via Aptitude:

sudo aptitude install -y -q=2

Okay, I understand that -q and -q=1 are functionally the same and that -q=2 suppresses even more output.

But are there other values connected to -q? For example is there a -q=3, -q=4 or even a -q=5 value that can be set? And does it make any difference in the great scheme of things? Or does Aptitude only operate on a “greater than or equal to” basis and -q=2 is the top limit?

1 Answer 1


I believe this says it all man aptitude:

   -q[=<n>], --quiet[=<n>]
       Suppress all incremental progress indicators, thus making the
       output loggable. This may be supplied multiple times to make the
       program quieter, but unlike apt-get, aptitude does not enable -y
       when -q is supplied more than once.

       The optional =<n> may be used to directly set the amount of
       quietness (for instance, to override a setting in
       /etc/apt/apt.conf); it causes the program to behave as if -q had
       been passed exactly <n> times.

Here it says setting -q to the values indicated by you will be interpreted as passing -q that number of times.

So doing -q=5 is equivalent to doing -q -q -q -q -q, but of course doing -q=5 is much pleasing and readable. The operational difference is that it makes the program run far more quietly with respect to the number of -qs used.

  • 1
    „More quiet“ is quite unclear, don't you think? If I don't want any output, do I have to set -q5 or -q10000, just to be sure? That's really bad documented there, and it's the same in info aptitude (where man aptitude may have stolen from, or the other way around). Btw -qqq doesn't work, I was mistaken there, it's -q=3 or -q3 or -q -q -q.
    – dessert
    Oct 12, 2017 at 20:40

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