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ALIEN(1p)             User Contributed Perl Documentation            ALIEN(1p)

       alien - Convert or install an alien binary package

        alien [--to-deb] [--to-rpm] [--to-tgz] [--to-slp] [options] file [...]

       alien is a program that converts between Red Hat rpm, Debian deb, Stam-
       pede slp, Slackware tgz, and Solaris pkg file formats. If you want to
       use a package from another linux distribution than the one you have
       installed on your system, you can use alien to convert it to your pre-
       ferred package format and install it. It also supports LSB packages.

       alien should not be used to replace important system packages, like
       init, libc, or other things that are essential for the functioning of
       your system. Many of these packages are set up differently by the dif-
       ferent distributions, and packages from the different distributions
       cannot be used interchangeably. In general, if you can't remove a pack-
       age without breaking your system, don't try to replace it with an alien

       rpm For converting to and from rpm format the Red Hat Package Manager
           must be installed.

       lsb Unlike the other package formats, alien can handle the depenenden-
           cies of lsb packages if the destination package format supports
           dependencies. Note that this means that the package generated from
           a lsb package will depend on a package named "lsb" -- your distri-
           bution should provide a package by that name, if it is lsb compli-
           ant. The scripts in the lsb package will be converted by default as

           To generate lsb packages, the Red Hat Package Manager must be
           installed, and alien will use by preference a program named
           lsb-rpm, if it exists.  No guarantees are made that the generated
           lsb packages will be fully LSB compliant, and it's rather unlikely
           they will unless you build them in the lsbdev environment.

           Note that unlike other package formats, converting an LSB package
           to another format will not cause its minor version number to be

       deb For converting to (but not from) deb format, the gcc, make, deb-
           helper, dpkg-dev, and dpkg packages must be installed.

       tgz Note that when converting from the tgz format, alien will simply
           generate an output package that has the same files in it as are in
           the tgz file. This only works well if the tgz file has precompiled
           binaries in it in a standard linux directory tree. Do NOT run alien
           on tar files with source code in them, unless you want this source
           code to be installed in your root directory when you install the

       pkg To manipulate packages in the Solaris pkg format (which is really
           the SV datastream package format), you will need the Solaris
           pkginfo and pkgtrans tools.

       alien will convert all the files you pass into it into all the output
       types you specify. If no output type is specified, it defaults to con-
       verting to deb format.

       file [...]
           The list of package files to convert.

       -d, --to-deb
           Make debian packages. This is the default.

       -r, --to-rpm
           Make rpm packages.

       -t, --to-tgz
           Make tgz packages.

           Make slp packages.

       -p, --to-pkg
           Make Solaris pkg packages.

       -i, --install
           Automatically install each generated package, and remove the pack-
           age file after it has been installed.

       -g, --generate
           Generate a temporary directory suitable for building a package
           from, but do not actually create the package. This is useful if you
           want to move files around in the package before building it. The
           package can be built from this temporary directory by running
           "debian/rules binary", if you were creating a Debian package, or by
           running "rpmbuild -bb <packagename>.spec" if you were creating a
           Red Hat package.

       -s, --single
           Like -g, but do not generate the packagename.orig directory. This
           is only useful when you are very low on disk space and are generat-
           ing a debian package.

           Specify the patch to be used instead of automatically looking the
           patch up in /var/lib/alien. This has no effect unless a debian
           package is being built.

           Be less strict about which patch file is used, perhaps attempting
           to use a patch file for an older verson of the package. This is not
           guaranteed to always work; older patches may not necessarily work
           with newer packages.

           Do not use any patch files.

           Specifiy a description for the package. This only has an effect
           when converting from the tgz package format, which lacks descrip-

           Specifiy a version for the package. This only has an effect when
           converting from the tgz package format, which may lack version

           Note that without an argument, this displays the version of alien

       -c, --scripts
           Try to convert the scripts that are meant to be run when the pack-
           age is installed and removed. Use this with caution, because these
           scripts might be designed to work on a system unlike your own, and
           could cause problems. It is recommended that you examine the
           scripts by hand and check to see what they do before using this

           This is enabled by default when converting from lsb packages.

       -T, --test
           Test the generated packages. Currently this is only supported for
           debian packages, which, if lintian is installed, will be tested
           with lintian and lintian's output displayed.

       -k, --keep-version
           By default, alien adds one to the minor version number of each
           package it converts. If this option is given, alien will not do

           Instead of incrementing the version number of the converted package
           by 1, increment it by the given number.

           Sanitize all file owners and permissions when building a deb. This
           may be useful if the original package is a mess. On the other hand,
           it may break some things to mess with their permissions and owners
           to the degree this does, so it defaults to off. This can only be
           used when converting to debian packages.

       -v, --verbose
           Be verbose: Display each command alien runs in the process of con-
           verting a package.

           Be verbose as with --verbose, but also display the output of each
           command run. Some commands may generate a lot of output.

       -h, --help
           Display a short usage summary.

       -V, --version
           Display the version of alien.

       Here are some examples of the use of alien:

       alien --to-deb package.rpm
           Convert the package.rpm into a package.deb

       alien --to-rpm package.deb
           Convert the package.deb into a package.rpm

       alien -i package.rpm
           Convert the package.rpm into a package.deb (converting to a .deb
           package is default, so you need not specify --to-deb), and install
           the generated package.

       alien --to-deb --to-rpm --to-tgz --to-slp foo.deb bar.rpm baz.tgz
           Creates 9 new packages. When it is done, foo bar and baz are avail-
           able in all 4 package formats.

       alien recognizes the following environemnt variables:

           Options to pass to rpm when it is building a package.

           Options to pass to rpm when it is installing a package.

           If set, alien assumes this is your email address. Email addresses
           are included in generated debian packages.

       When using alien to convert a tgz package, all files in /etc in are
       assumed to be configuration files.

       If alien is not run as root, the files in the generated package will
       have incorrect owners and permissions.

       alien was written by Christoph Lameter, <&lt;clameter@debian.org>.

       deb to rpm conversion code was taken from the martian program by Ran-
       dolph Chung, <&lt;tausq@debian.org>.

       The Solaris pkg code was written by Mark A. Hershberger <&lt;mah@every-

       alien has been extensively rewritten (3 times) and is now maintained by
       Joey Hess, <&lt;joeyh@debian.org>.

       alien may be copied and modified under the terms of the GNU General
       Public License.

perl v5.8.8                       2008-05-01                         ALIEN(1p)