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What is the difference between apt and apt-get?

Solutons:


They are very similar command line tools available in Trusty (14.04) and later. apt-get and apt-cache‘s most commonly used commands are available in apt.

apt-get may be considered as lower-level and “back-end”, and support other APT-based tools. apt is designed for end-users (human) and its output may be changed between versions.

Note from apt(8):

The `apt` command is meant to be pleasant for end users and does not need
       to be backward compatible like apt-get(8).

Take a look at this post for more information on the new tool:

  • http://mvogt.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/apt-1-0/

A synopsis of the above link (with corrections*):

The big news for this version is that we included a new “apt” binary that combines the most commonly used commands from apt-get and apt-cache. The commands are the same as their apt-get/apt-cache counterparts but with slightly different configuration options.

Currently the apt binary supports the following commands:

  • list: which is similar to dpkg list and can be used with flags like
    --installed or --upgradable.
  • search: works just like apt-cache search but sorted alphabetically.
  • show: works like apt-cache show but hide some details that people are less likely to care about (like the hashes). The full record is still available via apt-cache show of course.
  • update: like the regular apt-get update with color output enabled, but apt update also shows the number of upgradeable packages (if any).
  • install,remove: adds progress output during the dpkg run.
  • upgrade: the same as apt-get upgrade --with-new-pkgs.*
  • full-upgrade: a more meaningful name for dist-upgrade.
  • edit-sources: edit sources.list using $EDITOR.
  • policy: works just like apt-cache policy

You can enable/disable the install progress [bar] via:

# echo 'Dpkg::Progress-Fancy "1";' > /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99progressbar

As I write this, the apt man page (my apt package version: 1.0.1ubuntu2.8) includes the following section:

DIFFERENCES TO APT-GET(8)
   The apt command is meant to be pleasant for end users and does not need
   to be backward compatible like apt-get(8). Therefore some options are
   different:

   ·   The option DPkg::Progress-Fancy is enabled.
   ·   The option APT::Color is enabled.
   ·   A new list command is available similar to dpkg --list.
   ·   The option upgrade has --with-new-pkgs enabled by default.

There are various tools that interact with Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) and allow you to install, remove and manage packages in Debian based Linux distributions. apt-get is one such command-line tool which is widely popular. Another popular tool is Aptitude with both GUI and command-line options.

If you have used apt-get commands, you might have come across a number of similar commands such as apt-cache, apt-config etc. And this is where the problem arises.

You see, these commands are way too low level and they have so many functionalities which are perhaps never used by an average Linux user. On the other hand, the most commonly used package management commands are scattered across apt-get, apt-cache and apt-config.

The apt commands have been introduced to solve this problem. apt consists some of the most widely used features from apt-get, apt-cache and apt-config leaving aside obscure and seldom used features.

With apt, you don’t have to fiddle your way from apt-get to apt-cache to apt-config. apt is more structured and provides you with necessary options needed to manage packages.

Bottom line: apt = most common used command options from apt-get, apt-cache and apt-config.

I have written in detail on the difference between apt and apt-get.

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