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Related to my previous question, what apt options should one use when upgrading a package so that:

  • if other packages would be removed as a result of the upgrade, apt will stop without touching anything
  • if new packages would be installed as a result of the upgrade, and they don't cause any conflict or removal, apt would install them
  • if other packages would be upgraded, I'd prefer apt to stop

Thanks in advance for any help

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I did some research on the man pages, in particular in man apt.conf and man apt-get, and found the following. Please comment if you think I forgot anything.

  • use option --only-upgrade, or set the apt configuration item APT::Get::Only-Upgrade to true
  • apt configuration item APT::Get::force-yes set to false
  • use option --no-remove, or set the apt configuration item APT::Get::Remove to false

Not sure that --trivial-only/APT::Get::Trivial-Only helps here, needs to investigate it better.

With aptitude, the relevant pieces seem to be:

  • using the safe-upgrade command with the --no-new-installs option
  • set Aptitude::Delete-Unused to false, so that unused packages are not removed automatically (I may disagree with aptitude regarding what's unused...)
  • adding -R/--without-recommends may help, needs more investigation

Update I did some tests on an old system:

# grep ^Ubuntu /etc/motd
Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS

apt-get looks more cautious, and the result doesn't differ between a normal apt-get upgrade and apt-get -o APT::Get::Only-Upgrade=true --no-remove -o APT::Get::force-yes=false upgrade.

aptitude seems more aggressive, and the "safe options" seem to do their job. Standard upgrade (it actually runs safe-upgrade)

# aptitude -s -y upgrade
W: The "upgrade" command is deprecated; use "safe-upgrade" instead.
Lettura elenco dei pacchetti... Fatto
Generazione albero delle dipendenze   
Lettura informazioni sullo stato... Fatto
Reading extended state information   
Initializing package states... Fatto
Resolving dependencies...
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  linux-image-2.6.32-55-generic-pae{a}
The following packages will be upgraded:
  linux-generic-pae linux-image-generic-pae linux-image-server linux-libc-dev linux-server
5 packages upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/32.8MB of archives. After unpacking 98.2MB will be used.
Would download/install/remove packages.

Now with "safe" options:

# aptitude -s -y --no-new-installs -R -o Aptitude::Delete-Unused=false safe-upgrade 
Lettura elenco dei pacchetti... Fatto
Generazione albero delle dipendenze   
Lettura informazioni sullo stato... Fatto
Reading extended state information   
Initializing package states... Fatto
Resolving dependencies...
The following packages have been kept back:
  linux-generic-pae linux-image-generic-pae
The following packages will be upgraded:
  linux-image-server linux-libc-dev linux-server
3 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 2 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/878kB of archives. After unpacking 0B will be used.
Would download/install/remove packages.

Much more similar to what I wanted.

Unfortunately, none of both sets seems to prevent new packages to be installed or other packages to be upgraded when used with the install command instead of upgrade/safe-upgrade, so I am kind of back to square one: I can't get apt-get/aptitude to stop when it would do a potentially, paranoic-ally unsafe operation. In a sense, I have a better safety net, but I am not prevented to fall down.

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