*BASH User Commands Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS Server coreutils
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 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.

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

              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).

              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  conffiles, and at the same time back up the old
              conffiles, 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 conffiles. This may avoid having to reconfigure the pack-
              age  if  it  is  reinstalled later. (Conffiles are configuration
              files that are listed in the DEBIAN/conffiles control file).  -P
              or  --purge  removes  everything,  including conffiles. If -a or
              --pending is given instead of a package name, then all  packages
              unpacked,   but   marked   to  be  removed  or  purged  in  file
              /var/lib/dpkg/status, are removed or purged, respectively. Note:
              some  configuration  files might be unknown to dpkg because they
              are created and handled  separately  through  the  configuration
              scripts. In that case, dpkg won't remove them by itself, but the
              package's postrm script (which is called by dpkg), has  to  take
              care of their removal during purge.

              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. Note that this file is mostly useless if
              you don't use dselect but an APT-based frontend: APT has its own
              system to keep track of available packages.

       -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.

              Now obsolete and a no-op as dpkg will automatically forget unin-
              stalled 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, non-installed packages (i.e. those  which  have  been
              previously purged) 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  exam-
              ple, "i386").

       --compare-versions ver1 op ver2
              Compare  version  numbers, where op is a binary operator.
              dpkg returns success (zero result) if the specified  con-
              dition  is satisfied, and failure (nonzero result) other-
              wise. 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 ver-
              sion: lt-nl le-nl ge-nl gt-nl. These  are  provided  only
              for  compatibility with control file syntax: < << <= = >=
              >> >.

       --command-fd <n>
              Accept a series of commands on input file descriptor <n>.
              Note:  additional  options  set  on the command line, and
              thru this file descriptor, are not reset  for  subsequent
              commands executed during 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  follow-
              ing actions.

              -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
                  /var/lib/dpkg/available. Users of APT-based frontends
                  should use apt-cache show package-name instead.

       All options can be specified both on the command line and in the
       dpkg configuration file /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg or the files  on  the
       configuration  directory /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/. 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  pack-
              age.  Specifying  this option will cause automatic decon-
              figuration of the package which depended on  the  removed

       -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 specified below. --force-help displays  a  message
              describing  them.   Things  marked with (*) are forced by

              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 pack-
              age. This can  have  serious  side  effects,  downgrading
              essential system components can even make your whole sys-
              tem unusable. Use with care.

              configure-any: Configure also any unpacked but  unconfig-
              ured 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 exam-
              ple,  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  consid-
              ered  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

              breaks: Install, even if this would break  another  pack-

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

              confmiss: Always install a missing conffile. This is dan-
              gerous, 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

              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 action.

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

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

              overwrite-diverted:  Overwrite  a  diverted  file with an
              undiverted version.

              architecture: Process even packages with the wrong archi-

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

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

              bad-verify: Install a package even if it fails authentic-
              ity check.

              Ignore  dependency-checking for specified packages (actu-
              ally, checking is performed, but only warnings about con-
              flicts are given, nothing else).

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

              Don't read or check contents of control file while build-
              ing 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  specified  action,  without actually modifying

              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 prob-
              ably expected it to actually do nothing)

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

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

              Change  default  administrative directory, which contains
              many  files  that  give  information  about   status   of
              installed  or  uninstalled  packages,  etc.  (Defaults to

              Change default installation directory which refers to the
              directory  where packages are to be installed. instdir is
              also the directory passed  to  chroot(2)  before  running
              package's  installation  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 installa-
              tion. The actual marking is done with dselect or by dpkg,
              when  it handles 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.

              Set  an  invoke hook command to be run via "sh -c" before
              or after the dpkg run for the unpack, configure, install,
              triggers-only, remove and purge dpkg actions. This option
              can be specified multiple times. The  order  the  options
              are  specified  is preserved, with the ones from the con-
              figuration  files  taking  precedence.   The  environment
              variable  DPKG_HOOK_ACTION  is  set  for the hooks to the
              current dpkg action. Note:  front-ends  might  call  dpkg
              several  times  per invocation, which might run the hooks
              more times than expected.

       --status-fd n
              Send machine-readable package status and progress  infor-
              mation 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

              status: package : error : extended-error-message
                     An error occurred. Unfortunately at  the  time  of
                     writing  extended-error-message  can  contain new-
                     lines, 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'
              useredited distedited
                     User is being asked a conffile question.

              processing: stage: package
                     Sent  just before a processing stage starts. stage
                     is one  of  upgrade,  install  (both  sent  before
                     unpacking),    configure,   trigproc,   disappear,
                     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  <action>
              is  one of install, upgrade, remove, purge; and `YYYY-MM-
              DD HH:MM:SS conffile <filename> <decision>' for  conffile
              changes where <decision> 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 --pending.

              Cancels a previous --no-triggers.

              Configuration file with default options.

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

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

              List of available packages.

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

              The  status  file  is backed up daily in /var/backups. It
              can be useful if it's lost or corrupted due  to  filesys-
              tems troubles.

       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  display-
              ing formatted text. Currently only used by -l.

              Defined  by  dpkg on the maintainer script environment to
              the version of the currently running dpkg instance.

              Defined by dpkg on the maintainer script  environment  to
              the package name being handled.

              Defined  by  dpkg on the maintainer script environment to
              the architecture the package got built for.

       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 "editors":
            cd /cdrom/pool/main/v/vim
            dpkg -i vim_4.5-3.deb

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

       You might transfer this file to another computer, and install it
       there with:
            dpkg --clear-selections
            dpkg --set-selections <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 packages. For example, run apt-get dselect-upgrade.

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

       Additional  functionality can be gained by installing any of the
       following 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
       contributed to dpkg.

Debian Project                    2009-11-12                           dpkg(1)