Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Command Line Software Management

2nd December 2009

One of the nice things about a Debian-based Linux distribution is that it is easy to pull a piece of software onto your system from a repository using either apt-get or aptitude. Some may prefer to have a GUI but I find that the command line offers certain extra transparency that stops the “what’s it doing?” type of question. that’s never to say that the GUI-based approach hasn’t a place and I only go using it when seeking out a piece of software without knowing its aptitude-ready name. Interestingly, there are signs that Canonical may be playing with the idea of making Ubuntu’s Software Centre a full application management tool with updates and upgrades getting added to the current searching, installation and removal facilities. That well may be but it’s going to take a lot of effort to get me away from the command line altogether.

Fedora and openSUSE have their software management commands too in the shape of yum and zypper, respectively. The recent flurry of new operating system releases has had me experimenting with both of those distros on a real test machine. As might be expected, the usual battery of installation, removal and update activities are well served and I have been playing with software searching using yum too. What has yet to mature is in-situ distribution upgrading à la Ubuntu. In principle, it is possible but I got a black screen when I tried moving from openSUSE 11.1 to 11.2 within VirtualBox using instructions on the openSUSE website. Not wanting to wait, I reached for a Live CD instead and that worked a treat on both virtual and real machines. Being in an experiment turn of mind, I attempted the same to get from Fedora 11 to the beta release of its version 12. A spot of repository trouble got me using a Live CD in its place. You can perform an in-situ upgrade from a full Fedora DVD but the only option is system replacement when you have a Live CD. Once installation is out of the way, YAST can be ignored in favour of zypper and yum is good enough that Fedora’s GUI-using alternative can be ignored. It’s nice to see good transparent ideas taking hold elsewhere and may make migration between distros much easier too.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please be aware that comment moderation is enabled and may delay the appearance of your contribution.

  • All the views that you find expressed on here in postings and articles are mine alone and not those of any organisation with which I have any association, through work or otherwise. As regards editorial policy, whatever appears here is entirely of my own choice and not that of any other person or organisation.

  • Please note that everything you find here is copyrighted material. The content may be available to read without charge and without advertising but it is not to be reproduced without attribution. As it happens, a number of the images are sourced from stock libraries like iStockPhoto so they certainly are not for abstraction.

  • With regards to any comments left on the site, I expect them to be civil in tone of voice and reserve the right to reject any that are either inappropriate or irrelevant. Comment review is subject to automated processing as well as manual inspection but whatever is said is the sole responsibility of the individual contributor.