APT2 to Accelerate Debian Package Installation

Dec 15, 2009

Debian and Ubuntu developer Julian Andres Klode has reported in his blog about the progress of his APT2 software, an alternative implementation of the Debian Advanced Packaging Tool (APT).

APT2, whose development Klode began in August 2009, consists mainly of the libapt library that prepares package management functions. The capt command line tool provides the front end. The programmer implements the glib cross-platform library and the new Vala object-oriented language for it.

The database backend used most recently is SQLite 3, which can store comprehensive metadata and converts queries to common SQL statements. It also helps increase the performance of the APT implementation. According to Klode, capt searches eight times faster than aptitude and around three times faster than apt-cache.

The capt CLI uses the readline library, which is also in bash, and thus provides an interactive package shell with history (and command completion to follow). Some usage examples:

jak@hp:~/Desktop/APT2:temp$ capt
apt$ help
APT2 0.0.20091213 command-line frontend

Commands:
config dump Dump the configuration
config get OPTION Get the given option
config set OPTION VALUE Set the given option
search EXPRESSION Search for the given expression
show PACKAGE Show all versions of the given package
sources list Print a list of all sources
version Print the version of APT2

Klode hopes to have a first release of APT2 completed by Christmas 2009, as he indicates in his blog. It will partly depend on whether Vala 0.7.9 or a newer version is ready.

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