Chapter 3. DSelect

The APT dselect method provides the complete APT system with the dselect package selection GUI. dselect is used to select the packages to be installed or removed and APT actually installs them.

To enable the APT method you need to select [A]ccess in dselect and then choose the APT method. You will be prompted for a set of Sources which are places to fetch archives from. These can be remote Internet sites, local Debian mirrors or CD-ROMs. Each source can provide a fragment of the total Debian archive, APT will automatically combine them to form a complete set of packages. If you have a CD-ROM then it is a good idea to specify it first and then specify a mirror so that you have access to the latest bug fixes. APT will automatically use packages on your CD-ROM before downloading from the Internet.

   Set up a list of distribution source locations

 Please give the base URL of the debian distribution.
 The access schemes I know about are: http file

 For example:
      file:/mnt/debian,
      ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian,
      http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian,


 URL [http://llug.sep.bnl.gov/debian]:

The Sources setup starts by asking for the base of the Debian archive, defaulting to a HTTP mirror. Next it asks for the distribution to get.

 Please give the distribution tag to get or a path to the
 package file ending in a /. The distribution
 tags are typically something like: stable unstable testing non-US

 Distribution [stable]:

The distribution refers to the Debian version in the archive, stable refers to the latest released version and unstable refers to the developmental version. non-US is only available on some mirrors and refers to packages that contain encryption technology or other things that cannot be exported from the United States. Importing these packages into the US is legal however.

 Please give the components to get
 The components are typically something like: main contrib non-free

 Components [main contrib non-free]:

The components list refers to the list of sub distributions to fetch. The distribution is split up based on software licenses, main being DFSG free packages while contrib and non-free contain things that have various restrictions placed on their use and distribution.

Any number of sources can be added, the setup script will continue to prompt until you have specified all that you want.

Before starting to use dselect it is necessary to update the available list by selecting [U]pdate from the menu. This is a superset of apt-get update that makes the fetched information available to dselect. [U]pdate must be performed even if apt-get update has been run before.

You can then go on and make your selections using [S]elect and then perform the installation using [I]nstall. When using the APT method the [C]onfig and [R]emove commands have no meaning, the [I]nstall command performs both of them together.

By default APT will automatically remove the package (.deb) files once they have been successfully installed. To change this behavior place Dselect::clean "prompt"; in /etc/apt/apt.conf.