deb(5) Debian deb(5)
deb - Debian binary package format
The .deb format is the Debian binary package file format. It is under-
stood by dpkg 0.93.76 and later, and is generated by default by all
versions of dpkg since 1.2.0 and all i386/ELF versions since 1.1.1elf.
The format described here is used since Debian 0.93; details of the old
format are described in deb-old(5).
The file is an ar archive with a magic number of !<<arch>>.
The first member is named debian-binary and contains a series of lines,
separated by newlines. Currently only one line is present, the format
version number, 2.0 at the time this manual page was written. Programs
which read new-format archives should be prepared for the minor number
to be increased and new lines to be present, and should ignore these if
this is the case.
If the major number has changed, an incompatible change has been made
and the program should stop. If it has not, then the program should be
able to safely continue, unless it encounters an unexpected member in
the archive (except at the end), as described below.
The second required member is named control.tar.gz. It is a gzipped
tar archive containing the package control information, as a series of
plain files, of which the file control is mandatory and contains the
core control information. The control tarball may optionally contain an
entry for `.', the current directory.
The third, last required member is named data.tar.gz. It contains the
filesystem archive as a gzipped tar archive.
These members must occur in this exact order. Current implementations
should ignore any additional members after data.tar.gz. Further mem-
bers may be defined in the future, and (if possible) will be placed
after these three. Any additional members that may need to be inserted
before data.tar.gz and which should be safely ignored by older pro-
grams, will have names starting with an underscore, `_'.
Those new members which won't be able to be safely ignored will be
inserted before data.tar.gz with names starting with something other
than underscores, or will (more likely) cause the major version number
to be increased.
deb-old(5), dpkg-deb(1), deb-control(5).
Debian Project 2006-02-28 deb(5)