dselect

dselect is a front-end to dpkg that is used to manage software packages in Debian and Debian-based Linux distributions. You can use dselect to install packages on your system from the APT archives defined in /etc/apt/sources.list, review the already installed packages, uninstall and upgrade packages.

dselect has a text-mode user interface that is started with the dselect command:

linux dselect command

dselect will guide you through the package installation through a series of steps:

Access – Choose the access method to use.
Update – Update list of available packages, if possible.
Select – Request which packages you want on your system.
Install – Install and upgrade wanted packages.
Config – Configure any packages that are unconfigured.
Remove – Remove unwanted software.

As each step is completed successfully, it will lead you on to the next. Go through them in order without skipping any steps.

Here is a brief description of each step.

Access – Choose the access method to use

First, you need to tell dselect where the packages are. For example, if you are installing packages from a CD-ROM, you would select the cdrom access method, as seen in the picture below:

dselect access method

Most often you would select the apt access method for installation from a local mirror of the Debian archive or from the network.

 

Update – Update list of available packages, if possible

To update list of available packages, select the Update option. dselect will read the Packages or Packages.gz files from the mirror and create a database of all available packages.

Select – Request which packages you want on your system

To choose which packages you wish to have installed, select the Select option. Here you can mark packages for installation or deinstallation.

Install – Install and upgrade wanted packages

Select this option to install the packages marked in the previous step.

Config – Configure any packages that are unconfigured

Most packages are configured in step 3, but any unconfigured package can be configured here.

Remove – Remove unwanted software

This option removes packages that are installed but no longer required.

 

dselect is not widely used anymore and is largely superseded by Advanced Packaging Tool front-ends such as aptitude.

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