An improved front end for Apt

Apt on Steroids

© Photo by Lopez Robin on Unsplash

© Photo by Lopez Robin on Unsplash

Article from Issue 267/2023

The Nala front end for Debian's Apt package manager combines the reliability of the Apt tools with easier to read output and speedier downloads.

Debian's package management system for the command line relies on dpkg [1] in the background and the Advanced Package Tool (Apt) [2] with its default front end, apt. While apt usually does a reliable job, its command-line tools (based on the libapt-pkg and libapt-inst libraries), such as apt, apt-file, apt-policy, and the like, are not particularly clear-cut or attractive. In addition, the Apt front end is slow.

This, along with other shortcomings in the tools available in Debian, prompted longtime Debian developer, Michael Stapelberg, to announce his retirement in 2019 with some harsh criticism [3]. Stapelberg subsequently created the proof of concept distri distribution, with the goal of optimizing package management in general (Linux Magazine previously covered distri in July 2021 [4]).

Nala, which was inspired by Fedora's DNF package manager, steps up to eradicate these shortcomings, offering easier to read output and increased speed thanks to parallel downloading.


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