Author Topic: Nala - alternative to APT  (Read 88 times)

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Offline Jason

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Nala - alternative to APT
« on: September 16, 2022, 02:44:41 pm »
If you prefer to upgrade and install your software in the terminal, Nala works better than APT(package manager for Debian/Ubuntu-based distros), according to Chris Titus. It looks a lot better, too, and provides better information than using APT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oroSkR4Nn_w

Let me know what you think. Do you do installs or upgrades in the terminal? Do you ever have issues with APT, things breaking or even just finding it slow? And if so, would you give this a shot?

I haven't issues with anything breaking with APT except the occasional time when an upgrade fails for whatever reason (the rare system freeze requiring a reboot) and then APT is locked. But it's easy to fix it. But sometimes it does feel slow if one of the sources is and spends too much before timing out. The odd time it won't tell me if there are updates because of a broken source but that's exceptionally rare.

I tried it and took some screenshots you can view below. Rember to click on them for full-sized versions.

I have to say, it was damn fast. I'll have to try it again for the next update and then see about using it on our server. I'd like to compare upgrading (updating, really) with APT to nala in time spent with the same packages but I'd need to make a system image to do that. Maybe I will if there's interest.

If you try it, let us know how it goes.
MX Linux 21.2.1 KDE on a desktop with 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, 12 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD

Offline ssfc72

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2022, 04:33:41 am »
Nice, thanks Jason.  I may give Nala a try, sometime.

I usually just use the built in updater to Mint or MXLinux to know when there are updates avaiable and to download and install.

 I did run into an issue with MXLinux where for some reason the built in updater icon was no longer showing that updates where available.
Normally I found with MXLinux , as opposed to Mint, that MX seemed to have more updates that were being made available, each day.
Then all of a sudden the MXLinux update icon stoped showing that updates where available.  I had to use the terminal and APT to get updates to work..
I then discovered that if I right clicked on the MXLinux update icon, then a menu would come up and the menu had a selection to to the update.
I had to do this a number of times over a period of a week or so, and finally the built in MXLinux update icon began to show when updates were available again.
Mint 19.1 on a Dell 14" Inspiron notebook, HP Pavilion X360, 11" k120ca notebook (Linux Lubuntu), Dell 13" XPS notebook computer (MX Linux)
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Offline Jason

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2022, 01:44:06 pm »
Which version of MX Linux are you using, Bill? I mean the desktop environment (DE), not the numbered version.

I ask because I'm using the Plasma DE version and the updates involve using Discover. When I click on the updates notifier, that's what opens up. I'm not sure if that's part of Discover or a separate program. But I get regular notifications of updates. I believe the default version of MX Linux uses the Xfce DE which may have a notifier separate from the GUI update program.

However, do you think you were not getting notifications of updates or just not getting them as often as you think you should?

If you go six days without updates, you might think the notifier is broken. But every distro has settings for how often it checks for updates, how often you're notified, and what kind of updates you want. And security updates, and possibly others, can be installed automatically. Many distros only check for updates every 3 days and some install security updates automatically so you never hear of them. Look for the Software Sources program under your program menu in System or Settings or in whatever actual update program you use.

It could have been a bug though, I did see some updates to MX tools recently.

Regarding it having a lower number of updates than Mint, remember that MX Linux is based on Debian, not. While Ubuntu is based on Debian but they use a different recipe and customized ingredients. Some packages aren't even compatible. Ubuntu isn't Debian.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2022, 02:00:36 pm by Jason »
MX Linux 21.2.1 KDE on a desktop with 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, 12 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD

Offline Jason

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2022, 01:48:57 pm »
After using nala a few times to install and update software, it's much faster than using Discover in Plasma but that's not saying much. So is apt. But it feels faster than apt, too. Regardless, it's a lot more pleasant looking and provides better information in showing how far along you are in big updates.

However, I've hit one snag. I have some extra Plasma themes installed. Discover prompts me to update them where necessary. But nala doesn't see them. So I'd have to use them both or do without the extra themes. I don't like having to use two programs when one would do the job. So not sure if I'll continue using it on the desktop.

But as long as I can confirm it's getting all the packages, I'll use it on my server.
MX Linux 21.2.1 KDE on a desktop with 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, 12 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD

Offline fox

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2022, 06:47:34 am »
Are your extra themes in the repos?
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Offline Jason

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2022, 11:52:30 am »
Are your extra themes in the repos?

Good question. Honestly, I don't know. I just the Plasma setting for Themes and added them from there. I think they're actually stored in a zipped format differently from a package. So it may be that only Discover knows how to get them. I'll have to investigate further.
MX Linux 21.2.1 KDE on a desktop with 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, 12 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD

Offline buster

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2022, 06:18:04 pm »
I would guess that the majority of people using Linux would prefer, because of lack of interest in making life more complex, the little button that is supplied for updates. Click the update button, continue with whatever you are using the computer for, and let it do the work.

It doesn't have to be a quick or perfect update. As long as the thing keeps working reasonably well. Sort of like a car.

It needs to be good enough.
The universe is not benevolent. Nor is it malevolent. It's simply indifferent.

Offline Jason

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Re: Nala - alternative to APT
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2022, 05:38:54 pm »
You don't really have that option on Linux servers. But I think most Linux users are just as comfortable at the command line as using a GUI. If we were primarily concerned with it being easy, we'd use Windows although there are many ways in which Windows isn't easier. People have just grown used to pain and don't recognize it anywhere.

Even with a car, lots of people prefer to check their oil, refill their window washer fluid and check the air on their tires. Some even go as far as changing their own oil or topping up their transmission fluid. Even for me, that stuff isn't hard and you could fit everything I know about cars onto a postage stamp.
MX Linux 21.2.1 KDE on a desktop with 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-3470 CPU, 12 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD