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This is a command line wrapper around the basic "apt-get", "apt-cache", and related commands. It is designed to make it easy to search for and install Debian packages. In some ways it is similar to the GUI based Synaptic program. If you been wanting something like Synaptic that works in the command line then "cli-aptiX" might be what you’ve been looking for.

Search for Packages

After the initial "apt-get update" you will normally perform a search to look for packages by name. You can use "*" to match one or more characters and "?" to match single characters but these are often not needed unless you want to match more than one part of a package name as in:


which matches all of the antiX kernels. Most regular expression meta-characters are also supported but they are seldom needed.

Search Results

For any search term you enter, there will be four different sets of results: exact name match, leading name match, any name match, and description match. After you enter a search term you will be shown the number of results in each of four sets before you have to select which set you want to see.

Exact Name Match

The most restrictive set of results is the exact name match. Only package names that exactly match your search term are listed here. There can be more than one package in this list if you have used the "*" or "?" wildcard characters but normally there will be at most one match.

Leading Name Match

This includes all packages names that start with a match for your seach term. For example, if you use the search term "abc" then you will get a Leading Name Match result list that looks like:

*1) (I) abcde - A Better CD Encoder *2) abcm2ps - Translates ABC music description … *3) abcmidi - converter from ABC to MIDI format …

The "(I)" on the first line indicates that package is already installed. Notice that all three names begin with search term "abc".

Any Name Match

This list includes all packages with names that have a portion that matches your search term. If the search term is "abc" then the any name match results will be something like:

*1) (I) abcde - A Better CD Encoder *2) abcm2ps - Translates ABC music description … *3) abcmidi - converter from ABC to MIDI format … *4) berkeley-abc - ABC - A System for Sequentia … *5) grabc - simple program to determine the col … *6) libakonadi-kabc4 - Akonadi address book acc … *7) libkabc4 - library for handling address boo … *8) python-backports-abc - Backport of the "col …

Notice that this list contains all the package names from the previous list plus packages that contain "abc" later on in the name.

Name or Description Match

This list contains all of the packages from the previous list plus any packages that contain your search term in their description.

Selecting a Package from a Search Result List

As long as the entire list fits on the screen, this is straightforward, just type in the number associated with the package you want to install. But if the list is too long to all fit on the screen at once then you will need to scroll through the list using "Up-Arrow" and "Down-Arrow" and <Page-Up> and "Page-Down" to scroll the list (and even "Left-Arrow" and "Right-Arrow" to scroll sideways). Scroll the list so the package you want to select is near the bottom of the screen and then press q. You will be asked to enter the number for the package you want.

Installing a Package

Once you have selected a package from the search list, you will be given the chance to install it. If the package was already installed then you will be given more options (in progress).