Apt verb

In the English language, it is so trivial to create new words. In no domain is this quite so evident as the world of computers.

Thus, informally amongst Debian users, you’ll often hear “apt-get it” or simply “apt it” which has the virtue of being equally apt a term for using aptitude. Now, I have no problem with people using these verbs. They’re precise, if a bit geeky. But really, shouldn’t there be a more general verb to cover this activity?

Back when apt was new, and nobody else was installing packages this way, the lack of a general term made sense. But these days, in certain user communities, you might hear “yum it” instead. How many variants does the English language need? One per apt-like installer?

Compare this with the evolution of instant messaging. Back when ICQ dominated the field, “ICQ” was synonymous with instant messaging. These days, although you might occasionally still hear people say “ICQ me” or “Jabber me” (where the protocol is important, because both participants must have access to that specific service) we can more generally say “message me,” encompassing in one fell swoop all possible protocols. Or if you prefer, the awkwardly geeky but more precise term, “IM me” (though arguably slightly less useful than “message me” because it seems to exclude irc, the king of all chat systems).

So, what’s the equivalent verb that means “conveniently installing software from one or more software repositories by merely asking for the package by name”?

My mind draws a blank.


4 responses to “Apt verb”

  1. Not what you asked for, but for me “installing” has become synonym with “apting” in recent years. That’s just how I do it, even though I do use several different programs for it.

    But since it’s packages… maybe “delivering” or “unpackaging”…shortened “unping”? 😉

  2. Perhaps the difference is that IM (and, more pointedly, SMS text messaging) has basically been commodified whereas package managers still have a proprietary aura (proprietary in the sense of exclusive).

  3. I think “install” is good enough.

    “Install Foo” is totally platform-generic and any computer user should understand it. If they have at least three brain cells they should be able to adapt it to their specific set-up, be it yum, apt, or a manual install.

  4. Somehow, I can’t see “pacman” ever taking off. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue …

    As for “install”, there are times when saying “apt it” does not convey the same meaning as “install it” with all of the negative connotations the latter phrase has: this is going to take some effort finding, installing and configuring all of the bits and pieces to make it work, isn’t it? I’m not sure I want to bother.

    But I’ll concede that perhaps “install” for all platforms is gradually moving in this direction. So, while for now we have the verbs “apt”, “yum”, and so on, eventually “install” will mean for everyone what “apt” means today.

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