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Difference between apt-get -d install & apt-get download: Which one to use?

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In the world of Linux, understanding the command line is essential for system administrators. Two commands that often cause confusion are apt-get -d install and apt-get download. In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between these two commands and discuss when to use each one.

Quick Answer

The main difference between apt-get -d install and apt-get download is that the former downloads the package and its dependencies to the system packages directory, while the latter only downloads the specified package to the current directory. Use apt-get -d install when you want to pre-download packages for later installation, and use apt-get download when you want to download a package for tinkering purposes.

Understanding apt-get

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to understand what apt-get is. apt-get is a powerful command-line tool used in Debian and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions for handling packages. It provides functions such as installing, upgrading, and removing software.

apt-get -d install

The apt-get -d install [pkg-name] command is used to download a specific package and its dependencies to the system packages directory (/var/cache/apt/archives). The -d or --download-only flag tells apt-get to only download the packages, not install them.

This command is typically used when you want to “pre-download” a set of packages for later installation. It downloads the package and all missing dependencies, allowing you to install them later without an internet connection.

Here is an example of how to use this command:

sudo apt-get -d install vim

This command will download the vim package and its dependencies to the system packages directory. Note that this command requires root permissions (sudo) since it saves the files in the package cache directory, which is owned by root.

apt-get download

On the other hand, the apt-get download [pkg-name] command is used to download only the specified package to the current directory. It does not download any dependencies or other packages.

This command is useful when you want to download a package to tinker with it, such as uncompressing it or using dpkg to inspect its contents. Unlike the previous command, apt-get download does not require root permissions as it saves the files in the current directory.

Here is an example of how to use this command:

apt-get download vim

This command will download the vim package to the current directory.

Which one to use?

The main difference between apt-get -d install [pkg-name] and apt-get download [pkg-name] is that the former downloads the package and its dependencies to the system packages directory, while the latter only downloads the specified package to the current directory. The former requires root permissions and is used for pre-downloading packages for later installation, while the latter does not require root permissions and is used for downloading packages for tinkering purposes.

To decide which command to use, consider your specific needs. If you want to download a package for later installation, use apt-get -d install [pkg-name]. If you simply want to download a package to work with it, use apt-get download [pkg-name].

Conclusion

Both apt-get -d install and apt-get download are powerful commands that can be used to download packages in Linux. Understanding the difference between them and when to use each one can help you manage your system more effectively. Always remember to use sudo when necessary and be mindful of where your packages are being downloaded to.

For more information on apt-get and other Linux commands, check out the Ubuntu manpages.

What is the difference between `apt-get -d install` and `apt-get download`?

The apt-get -d install command downloads a specific package and its dependencies to the system packages directory, while apt-get download only downloads the specified package to the current directory.

When should I use `apt-get -d install`?

You should use apt-get -d install when you want to "pre-download" a set of packages for later installation. It downloads the package and its dependencies, allowing you to install them later without an internet connection.

When should I use `apt-get download`?

You should use apt-get download when you want to download a package to work with it, such as uncompressing it or inspecting its contents using dpkg. It only downloads the specified package to the current directory.

Do I need root permissions to use `apt-get -d install`?

Yes, apt-get -d install requires root permissions (sudo) because it saves the downloaded files in the system packages directory, which is owned by root.

Do I need root permissions to use `apt-get download`?

No, apt-get download does not require root permissions as it saves the downloaded files in the current directory.

Can I use `apt-get -d install` to download multiple packages?

Yes, you can specify multiple package names after the apt-get -d install command to download multiple packages and their dependencies.

Can I use `apt-get download` to download multiple packages?

No, apt-get download can only be used to download a single package. If you need to download multiple packages, you will need to run the apt-get download command for each package separately.

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