Improvements to the APT interface announced in Debian 13 and Ubuntu 24.10

The APT package manager has a new interface

Although the first versions of the year of the main distributions have not yet been published, we already know what news we can expect for the end of the year. Social networks now announced improvements to the APT interface in Debian 13 and Ubuntu 24.10.

APT is an acronym for Advanced Package Tool. This is the tool used in Debian-based systems to manage software packages.. It is the one that deals with the task of installing, updating, and uninstalling programs. In addition, it automates dependency management and controls the versions of installed programs.

Among the functions of APT are:

  • Easy Software Installation: Avoid having to manually search for and install the necessary dependencies and warn you when they are not available.
  • Automatic Software Update: It updates all installed programs to the latest version available in the repositories without the user having to wait for their publication.
  • Software Removal: APT reports the presence of unnecessary packages and allows you to remove applications without affecting the rest of the system
  • Package Search:  The package manager allows you to search the repositories for a specific application.
  • Management of repositories: APT has a registry of the different types of repositories, allowing us to add alternatives and delete those that we no longer need.

They announced improvements to the APT interface. These are

The improvements were announced by Canonical engineer and APT developer Julian Andrés Klode on his Linkedin account and We will be able to test them soon in Debian Unstable and in distributions based on it such as Ubuntu 24.10. For those who prefer the stable version of Debian, the first to have it will be version 13 Trixie that will arrive in the middle of next year.

Among the modifications that we will see in the APT 3.0 user interface is representation using columns which makes searching for package names faster. Additionally, colors such as red for what is to be deleted and green for other changes are now used, making it easier to identify commands faster.

Progress bars are more fluid since they are represented with Unicode blocks and, important information was privileged over the abundance of details to be able to access it more easily.

Julian himself explains other advantages of the new design

If you have ever installed too many kernels on your Debian or Ubuntu system, or too many packages and you have run out of space, APT [3.0] will show you how much space you have available, and will warn you if you are going to exceed that space, also taking into account the separate /boot partitions.

It should be noted that APT only deals with DEB format packages since Snap, Flatpak and Appimage format programs use different package managers. The GNOME Software Center, Ubuntu Software Center or Discover are graphical interfaces that work with various package managers.

The most common APT commands

If we want the list of programs and versions to be updated, we use the command:
sudo apt update
To update the installed packages to the latest versions available in the repositories, we can use the command:
sudo apt upgrade
If what we want is to install a specific package from those available in the repositories, we must write the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt install nombre_del_paquete
To search for a specific package among all the repositories we will do it with the command:
apt search nombre_del_paquete.
If we want to delete a package that we or the system does not need, we just have to give the following instruction in the terminal.
sudo apt remove nombre_del_paquete
To automatically remove packages that we do not need from the system, we can write:
sudo apt autoremove

Although using a graphical interface such as those provided by the Ubuntu Software Center seems easier at first glance, when you get used to the terminal you become addicted. Hence, these improvements to the APT interface will undoubtedly be greatly appreciated by a large part of Ubuntu and Debian users.

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