How do you hold packages from installing certain files on apt or simply stopping them from upgrading? in pacman.conf you can have IgnorePkg, NoUpgrade and NoExtract. As for the differences, they do differ a lot: one has 2 commands with long args that do what other can do with just a short one; other takes commands when the other can do it only after making a change in the config file.
Upgrading everything while leaving no cached packages behind is pacman -Syu && paccache -rk0 but in debian you have to use apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade && apt autoremove && apt autoclean. And no don't get me started on the difference between dpkg, apt, apt-get, synaptic and aptitude. This syntax shows clearly that the goal was not to have the pm being used from its CLI interface, rather they probably thought it as a library for clicky-click GUI wrappers that get installed alongside the DE. You could try partialy fixing it with shell aliases, i think that could do wonders but i can't figure out how you could fix the broken configuration. It took me like 15 minutes just to find out how to stop it from pulling 2GB of useless dependencies when installing xorg as there's no mention of it on debian wiki, but how about not interrupting the install just to ask me for what to do with the developer provided config file for a random package? Why is this the default behavior instad of simply keeping it in the cache just like the package itself so i can make that choice later? You can't use the command in a script if it does that. Pipeing yes? i don't think so. Adding user repositories? Another pain in the ass. In the end what pissed me the most was how it's supposed to be noob friendly just like the distro itself, but i always get headaches when something goes wrong with it.
Anyway, pacman isn't the greatest- i didn't said that. That would be apk-tools but with this capabilty i was talking about which it doesn't have at all. I also can't say i couldn't live with apt only, but it would be inconvenient.