Musings of an anonymous geek

October 20, 2005

The debian apt-get utopia myth

Filed under: Linux — m0j0 @ 9:45 pm

Debian users love the apt package manager. In fact, I’m pretty sure that *every* time I’ve asked a Debian user why they use Debian, they’ve answered with one word: “apt”. They take great joy in picking on Red Hat newbies who have no clue what they’re doing and are subsequently taking their lumps in RPM-land. They make apt out to be some kind of cure-all for what Linux users call “dependency hell”.

Dependency hell occurs when you download a piece of software and try to install it, only to find that it requires two or three *other* software packages to run. Upon downloading *those* packages, it turns out that *each* of those requires still *more* packages to run. This is nightmarish at best. Debian users would have you believe that you’ll never have this problem if you just use Debian, which uses apt as its native package mangement tool. They would be dead wrong.

Tonight I tried to install kiax on my Ubuntu 5.10 system (I refuse to use Ubuntu’s stupid nicknames). Kiax was not available in any of the apt repositories that my system knew about, so I downloaded the .deb package from the kiax Sourceforge project page. I then ran “dpkg -i kiax…” on the package, and it turns out it requires libqt3c102-mt, which I’ve never heard of. This package is also not listed in any apt repository my machine knows about, but I try using the libqt-dev package just in case. No go. So I go to the debian website and download it and run “dpkg -i” against that. No go. It conflicts with the locally installed libqt package. So the bottom line is I can’t install it, and therefore can’t install kiax.

This happens in every Linux distro I’ve ever tried, but no community of users is in such absolute denial about it as the debian user community. Get over yourselves.


  1. Hello Brian!!
    I have Debian (Kanotix) and I didn’t have any problem.
    I tried Kubuntu one time, and after suffering 4 days, I came back to me dear and pleasant Kanotix.
    Have you tried to force the installation of Kiax ?

    Good luck!!

    Comment by Ruben }:o) — November 2, 2005 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  2. I am using kiax on Ubuntu Breezy and it is working great.

    If you use dpkg –force-depends it should install and work fine – but leave a broken package.

    To fix the package itself it is pretty easy to untar and edit control to remove the dependency then retar (keep the ./ paths!)_and reinstall. Or you could do the same with the package utils.

    Comment by Grug — November 14, 2005 @ 6:18 am | Reply

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