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Using The Debian Alternatives System

Apr 29, 2010, 13:32 (0 Talkback[s])

"There are several cases where two packages provide two different versions of a program, both of which provide the same core functionality. Users might prefer one over another out of habit, or because the user interface of one package is somehow more pleasing than the interface of another. Other users on the same system might make a different choice.

"For example, there might exist two different versions of newsreaders on a system. Which program is invoked is determined by a link pointing from a file with the virtual package name /etc/alternatives/vim to the selected file, e.g., /usr/bin/vim.gtk.

"The Debian system has mechanism to install somewhat overlapping programs peacefully using update-alternatives(8). The Perl script update-alternatives provides a way of ensuring that all the files associated with a specified package are selected as a system default."

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