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dpkg(1)                           dpkg suite                           dpkg(1)

       dpkg - package manager for Debian

       dpkg [options] action

       This  manual is intended for users wishing to understand dpkg's command
       line options and package states in more detail than  that  provided  by
       dpkg --help.

       It  should not be used by package maintainers wishing to understand how
       dpkg will install their packages. The descriptions of  what  dpkg  does
       when installing and removing packages are particularly inadequate.

       dpkg  is  a  tool to install, build, remove and manage Debian packages.
       The primary and more user-friendly front-end for dpkg  is  aptitude(1).
       dpkg  itself  is controlled entirely via command line parameters, which
       consist of exactly one action and zero or  more  options.  The  action-
       parameter tells dpkg what to do and options control the behavior of the
       action in some way.

       dpkg can be also be used as a front-end to dpkg-deb(1).  The  following
       are  dpkg-deb  actions,  and  if  they  are encountered, dpkg just runs
       dpkg-deb with the parameters given to it:
           -b, --build,
           -c, --contents,
           -I, --info,
           -f, --field,
           -e, --control,
           -x, --extract,
           -X, --vextract, and
       Please refer to dpkg-deb(1) for information about these actions.

       dpkg maintains some usable information about  available  packages.  The
       information  is  divided in three classes: states, selection states and
       flags. These values are intended to be changed mainly with dselect.

              The package is not installed on your system.

              Only the configuration files of the package exist on the system.

              The installation of the package has been started, but  not  com-
              pleted for some reason.

              The package is unpacked, but not configured.

              The  package is unpacked and configuration has been started, but
              not yet completed for some reason.

              The package awaits trigger processing by another package.

              The package has been triggered.

              The package is unpacked and configured OK.

              The package is selected for installation.

              The package is selected for  deinstallation  (i.e.  we  want  to
              remove all files, except configuration files).

       purge  The  package  is  selected  to be purged (i.e. we want to remove
              everything, even configuration files).

       hold   A package marked to be on hold is not handled  by  dpkg,  unless
              forced to do that with option --force-hold.

              A  package  marked  reinst-required is broken and requires rein-
              stallation. These packages cannot be removed, unless forced with
              option --force-remove-reinstreq.

       -i, --install package_file...
              Install  the  package. If --recursive or -R option is specified,
              package_file must refer to a directory instead.

              Installation consists of the following steps:

              1. Extract the control files of the new package.

              2. If another version of the same package was  installed  before
              the new installation, execute prerm script of the old package.

              3. Run preinst script, if provided by the package.

              4.  Unpack  the  new files, and at the same time back up the old
              files, so that if something goes wrong, they can be restored.

              5. If another version of the same package was  installed  before
              the new installation, execute the postrm script of the old pack-
              age. Note that this script is executed after the preinst  script
              of  the  new  package, because new files are written at the same
              time old files are removed.

              6. Configure the package. See --configure for detailed  informa-
              tion about how this is done.

       --unpack package_file...
              Unpack the package, but don't configure it. If --recursive or -R
              option is specified, package_file  must  refer  to  a  directory

       --configure package...|-a|--pending
              Reconfigure  an  unpacked  package.  If -a or --pending is given
              instead of package, all unpacked but unconfigured  packages  are

              Configuring consists of the following steps:

              1.  Unpack the configuration files, and at the same time back up
              the old configuration files, so that they  can  be  restored  if
              something goes wrong.

              2. Run postinst script, if provided by the package.

       --triggers-only package...|-a|--pending
              Processes only triggers. All pending triggers will be processed.
              If package names are supplied only those packages' triggers will
              be  processed,  exactly  once  each where necessary. Use of this
              option may leave packages in the improper  triggers-awaited  and
              triggers-pending  states.  This  can  be fixed later by running:
              dpkg --configure --pending.

       -r, --remove, -P, --purge package...|-a|--pending
              Remove an installed package. -r or  --remove  remove  everything
              except configuration files. This may avoid having to reconfigure
              the package if it is reinstalled later. (Configuration files are
              the  files  listed  in the debian/conffiles control file). -P or
              --purge removes everything, including configuration files. If -a
              or  --pending is given instead of a package name, then all pack-
              ages unpacked, but marked  to  be  removed  or  purged  in  file
              /var/lib/dpkg/status, are removed or purged, respectively.

              Removing of a package consists of the following steps:

              1. Run prerm script

              2. Remove the installed files

              3. Run postrm script

       --update-avail, --merge-avail Packages-file
              Update  dpkg's  and  dselect's idea of which packages are avail-
              able. With action --merge-avail,  old  information  is  combined
              with information from Packages-file. With action --update-avail,
              old information is replaced with the information  in  the  Pack-
              ages-file.  The  Packages-file distributed with Debian is simply
              named Packages. dpkg keeps its record of available  packages  in

              A  simpler one-shot command to retrieve and update the available
              file is dselect update.

       -A, --record-avail package_file...
              Update dpkg and dselect's idea of which packages  are  available
              with  information  from the package package_file. If --recursive
              or -R option is specified, package_file must refer to  a  direc-
              tory instead.

              Forget about uninstalled unavailable packages.

              Erase  the  existing  information about what packages are avail-

        -C, --audit
              Searches for packages that have been installed only partially on
              your  system. dpkg will suggest what to do with them to get them

       --get-selections [package-name-pattern...]
              Get list of package selections, and write it to stdout.  Without
              a pattern, packages marked with state purge will not be shown.

              Set  package  selections  using  file read from stdin. This file
              should be in the format '<package> <state>', where state is  one
              of  install,  hold,  deinstall or purge. Blank lines and comment
              lines beginning with '#' are also permitted.

              Set the requested state of every non-essential package to  dein-
              stall.    This   is  intended  to  be  used  immediately  before
              --set-selections, to deinstall any packages not in list given to

              Searches  for  packages selected for installation, but which for
              some reason still haven't been installed.

              Print architecture  of  packages  dpkg  installs  (for  example,

       --compare-versions ver1 op ver2
              Compare  version  numbers,  where  op is a binary operator. dpkg
              returns success (zero result) if the specified condition is sat-
              isfied,  and  failure  (nonzero result) otherwise. There are two
              groups of operators, which differ in how  they  treat  an  empty
              ver1  or  ver2. These treat an empty version as earlier than any
              version: lt le eq ne ge gt. These  treat  an  empty  version  as
              later  than any version: lt-nl le-nl ge-nl gt-nl. These are pro-
              vided only for compatibility with control file syntax: <&lt; <&lt;<&lt; <&lt;= =
              >&gt;= >&gt;>&gt; >&gt;.

       --command-fd &lt;n&gt;
              Accept  a series of commands on input file descriptor &lt;n&gt;. Note:
              additional options set on the command line, and thru  this  file
              descriptor,  are not reset for subsequent commands executed dur-
              ing the same run.

       --help Display a brief help message.

              Give help about the --force-thing options.

       -Dh, --debug=help
              Give help about debugging options.

       --licence, --license
              Display dpkg licence.

              Display dpkg version information.

       dpkg-deb actions
              See  dpkg-deb(1)  for  more  information  about  the   following

              -b, --build directory [archive|directory]
                  Build a deb package.
              -c, --contents archive
                  List contents of a deb package.
              -e, --control filename [directory]
                  Extract control-information from a package.
              -x, --extract archive directory
                  Extract the files contained by package.
              -X, --vextract archive directory
                  Extract and display the filenames contained by a
              -f, --field  archive [control-field...]
                  Display control field(s) of a package.
              --fsys-tarfile archive
                  Display the filesystem tar-file contained by a
                  Debian package.
              -I, --info archive [control-file...]
                  Show information about a package.

       dpkg-query actions
              See  dpkg-query(1)  for  more  information  about  the following

              -l, --list package-name-pattern...
                  List packages matching given pattern.
              -s, --status package-name...
                  Report status of specified package.
              -L, --listfiles package-name...
                  List files installed to your system from package-name.
              -S, --search filename-search-pattern...
                  Search for a filename from installed packages.
              -p, --print-avail package-name...
                  Display details about package-name, as found in

       All options can be specified both on the command line and in  the  dpkg
       configuration  file  /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg. Each line in the configuration
       file is either an option (exactly the same as the command  line  option
       but without leading dashes) or a comment (if it starts with a #).

              Change after how many errors dpkg will abort. The default is 50.

       -B, --auto-deconfigure
              When  a  package is removed, there is a possibility that another
              installed package depended on the  removed  package.  Specifying
              this  option will cause automatic deconfiguration of the package
              which depended on the removed package.

       -Doctal, --debug=octal
              Switch debugging on. octal is formed by  bitwise-orring  desired
              values  together from the list below (note that these values may
              change in future releases). -Dh or  --debug=help  display  these
              debugging values.

                  number  description
                       1   Generally helpful progress information
                       2   Invocation and status of maintainer scripts
                      10   Output for each file processed
                     100   Lots of output for each file processed
                      20   Output for each configuration file
                     200   Lots of output for each configuration file
                      40   Dependencies and conflicts
                     400   Lots of dependencies/conflicts output
                   10000   Trigger activation and processing
                   20000   Lots of output regarding triggers
                   40000   Silly amounts of output regarding triggers
                    1000   Lots of drivel about e.g. the dpkg/info dir
                    2000   Insane amounts of drivel

       --force-things, --no-force-things, --refuse-things

              Force  or refuse (no-force and refuse mean the same thing) to do
              some things. things is a comma separated list of  things  speci-
              fied  below.  --force-help  displays  a message describing them.
              Things marked with (*) are forced by default.

              Warning: These options are mostly intended to be used by experts
              only.  Using  them without fully understanding their effects may
              break your whole system.

              all: Turns on (or off) all force options.

              downgrade(*): Install a package, even if newer version of it  is
              already installed.

              Warning:  At present dpkg does not do any dependency checking on
              downgrades and therefore will not  warn  you  if  the  downgrade
              breaks the dependency of some other package. This can have seri-
              ous side effects, downgrading essential  system  components  can
              even make your whole system unusable. Use with care.

              configure-any:  Configure  also  any  unpacked  but unconfigured
              packages on which the current package depends.

              hold: Process packages even when marked "hold".

              remove-reinstreq: Remove a package,  even  if  it's  broken  and
              marked  to  require reinstallation. This may, for example, cause
              parts of the package to remain on the system, which will then be
              forgotten by dpkg.

              remove-essential:  Remove,  even  if  the  package is considered
              essential. Essential packages contain  mostly  very  basic  Unix
              commands.  Removing  them  might  cause the whole system to stop
              working, so use with caution.

              depends: Turn all dependency problems into warnings.

              depends-version: Don't care about versions when checking  depen-

              breaks: Install, even if this would break another package.

              conflicts:  Install,  even if it conflicts with another package.
              This is dangerous, for it will usually cause overwriting of some

              confmiss:  Always  install a missing configuration file. This is
              dangerous, since it means not  preserving  a  change  (removing)
              made to the file.

              confnew:  If a conffile has been modified always install the new
              version without prompting, unless the  --force-confdef  is  also
              specified, in which case the default action is preferred.

              confold:  If  a  conffile  has been modified always keep the old
              version without prompting, unless the  --force-confdef  is  also
              specified, in which case the default action is preferred.

              confdef:  If  a  conffile  has  been  modified always choose the
              default action. If there is no default action it  will  stop  to
              ask  the  user unless --force-confnew or --force-confold is also
              been given, in which case it will use that to decide  the  final

              overwrite: Overwrite one package's file with another's file.

              overwrite-dir  Overwrite  one package's directory with another's

              overwrite-diverted: Overwrite a diverted file with an undiverted

              architecture: Process even packages with the wrong architecture.

              bad-path:  PATH  is  missing important programs, so problems are

              not-root: Try to (de)install things even when not root.

              bad-verify: Install a package  even  if  it  fails  authenticity

              Ignore  dependency-checking  for  specified  packages (actually,
              checking is performed, but only  warnings  about  conflicts  are
              given, nothing else).

       --new, --old
              Select  new  or old binary package format. This is a dpkg-deb(1)

              Don't read or check contents of control file  while  building  a
              package.  This is a dpkg-deb(1) option.

       --no-act, --dry-run, --simulate
              Do  everything which is supposed to be done, but don't write any
              changes. This is used to see what would happen with  the  speci-
              fied action, without actually modifying anything.

              Be  sure  to  give  --no-act before the action-parameter, or you
              might end up with undesirable results. (e.g.  dpkg  --purge  foo
              --no-act  will  first  purge  package  foo and then try to purge
              package --no-act, even though you probably expected it to  actu-
              ally do nothing)

       -R, --recursive
              Recursively  handle  all  regular  files  matching pattern *.deb
              found at specified directories and all  of  its  subdirectories.
              This  can  be  used with -i, -A, --install, --unpack and --avail

       -G     Don't install a package if a newer version of the  same  package
              is already installed. This is an alias of --refuse-downgrade.

              Change  default  administrative  directory,  which contains many
              files that give information about status of installed  or  unin-
              stalled packages, etc.  (Defaults to /var/lib/dpkg)

              Change default installation directory which refers to the direc-
              tory where packages are to be installed.  instdir  is  also  the
              directory passed to chroot(2) before running package's installa-
              tion scripts, which means that the scripts see instdir as a root
              directory.  (Defaults to /)

              Changing   root   changes   instdir   to  dir  and  admindir  to

       -O, --selected-only
              Only process the packages that are  selected  for  installation.
              The actual marking is done with dselect or by dpkg, when it han-
              dles packages. For example, when a package is removed,  it  will
              be marked selected for deinstallation.

       -E, --skip-same-version
              Don't  install the package if the same version of the package is
              already installed.

       --status-fd n
              Send machine-readable package status and progress information to
              file  descriptor n. This option can be specified multiple times.
              The information is generally one record per line, in one of  the
              following forms:

              status: package: status
                     Package status changed; status is as in the status file.

              status: package : error : extended-error-message
                     An  error  occurred. Unfortunately at the time of writing
                     extended-error-message can contain newlines, although  in
                     locales  where  the  translators  have  not made mistakes
                     every newline is followed by at least one space.

              status: file : conffile-prompt : 'real-old'  'real-new'  usered-
              ited distedited
                     User is being asked a configuration file question.

              processing: stage: package
                     Sent  just before a processing stage starts. stage is one
                     of upgrade, install (both sent before unpacking), config-
                     ure, trigproc, remove, purge.

              Log  status  change  updates and actions to filename, instead of
              the default /var/log/dpkg.log. If this option is given  multiple
              times,  the  last filename is used. Log messages are of the form
              `YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS status <state>  <pkg>  <installed-version>'
              for  status  change updates; `YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS <action> <pkg>
              <installed-version>  <available-version>'  for   actions   where
              &lt;action&gt;  is  one of install, upgrade, remove, purge; and `YYYY-
              MM-DD HH:MM:SS  conffile  <filename>  <decision>'  for  conffile
              changes where &lt;decision&gt; is either install or keep.

              Do not try to verify package signatures.

              Do  not  run any triggers in this run (activations will still be
              recorded).  If used with --configure package or  --triggers-only
              package  then  the named package postinst will still be run even
              if only a triggers run is needed. Use of this option  may  leave
              packages  in  the improper triggers-awaited and triggers-pending
              states. This can be fixed later  by  running:  dpkg  --configure

              Cancels a previous --no-triggers.

              Configuration file with default options.

              Default log file (see /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg(5) and option --log).

       The  other  files  listed  below  are in their default directories, see
       option --admindir to see how to change locations of these files.

              List of available packages.

              Statuses of available packages. This file  contains  information
              about  whether  a package is marked for removing or not, whether
              it is installed or not, etc. See section INFORMATION ABOUT PACK-
              AGES for more info.

       The  following files are components of a binary package. See deb(5) for
       more information about them:







              Define this to something if you prefer dpkg starting a new shell
              rather than suspending itself, while doing a shell escape.

       SHELL  The program dpkg will execute when starting a new shell.

              Sets  the number of columns dpkg should use when displaying for-
              matted text. Currently only used by -l.

       To list packages related to the editor vi(1):
            dpkg -l '*vi*'

       To see the entries in /var/lib/dpkg/available of two packages:
            dpkg --print-avail elvis vim | less

       To search the listing of packages yourself:
            less /var/lib/dpkg/available

       To remove an installed elvis package:
            dpkg -r elvis

       To install a package, you first need to find it in an archive or CDROM.
       The  "available"  file  shows  that the vim package is in section "edi-
            cd /cdrom/hamm/hamm/binary/editors
            dpkg -i vim_4.5-3.deb

       To make a local copy of the package selection states:
            dpkg --get-selections >&gt;myselections

       You might transfer this file to another computer, and install it  there
            dpkg --clear-selections
            dpkg --set-selections <&lt;myselections

       Note  that  this will not actually install or remove anything, but just
       set the selection state on the requested packages. You will  need  some
       other  application to actually download and install the requested pack-
       ages. For example, run apt-get dselect-upgrade.

       Ordinarily, you will find that dselect(1) provides  a  more  convenient
       way to modify the package selection states.

       Additional functionality can be gained by installing any of the follow-
       ing packages: apt, aptitude and debsums.

       aptitude(1), apt(1), dselect(1),  dpkg-deb(1),  dpkg-query(1),  deb(5),
       deb-control(5), dpkg.cfg(5), and dpkg-reconfigure(8).

       --no-act usually gives less information than might be helpful.

       See /usr/share/doc/dpkg/THANKS for the list of people who have contrib-
       uted to dpkg.

Debian Project                    2008-04-06                           dpkg(1)