Useful APT Aliases

Posted by admin on June 1, 2007 under Tech Tips | Be the First to Comment

If you’re an avid user of Ubuntu or other Debian based Linux distributions, then you’re probably very familiar with using APT and it’s related command line utilities. You might however find it useful to create some command line aliases that shorten the time it takes to type out these repetitive tasks.

For example,

"sudo apt-get update" can be shortened to "agu".
"sudo apt-get install" can be shortened to "agi".
"sudo apt-get dist-upgrade" can be shorted to "agd".

A very simple way to create a set of command line aliases would be to add them to your ~/.bashrcfile located in your users home directory. Here’s an example of some of my favorite APT aliases.

# Favorite Aliases
alias agu='sudo apt-get update'
alias agi='sudo apt-get install'
alias agd='sudo apt-get dist-upgrade'
alias agr='sudo apt-get remove'
alias ags='sudo aptitude search'
alias agsh='sudo apt-cache show'
alias afs='sudo apt-file search'
alias afsh='sudo apt-file show'
alias afu='sudo apt-file update'

To apply the changes immediately to your bash profile without having to log out, simply run the following command:

. .bashrc

Now, if you want to install the “vim-full” package, simply issue the following command:

agi vim-full

Remember, because “sudo” has been added to your alias, you don’t have to type it every time. It will prompt you to use the password the first time, and won’t ask again for the duration of the defined timeout period. Cool?

“apt-file” is a very useful package you should install. The alias is defined above, but is not installed by default. It allows you to search for file names in all packages from all your defined repositories. For example, lets say you’ve tried to run an application and it claims that your’re missing the library “”. The following example tells you which packages contains a file with that name, which you can then install.

libstdc++5: usr/lib/
libstdc++5-3.3-dbg: usr/lib/debug/
agi libstdc++5

Although these examples have been geared towards Debian and Ubuntu, you can obviously use aliases on any Unix-like operating system. The technique of applying them just varies depending on the shell environment you are using. Have fun!

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