dpkg(1)                            dpkg suite                            dpkg(1)

       dpkg - package manager for Debian

       dpkg [option...] 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

       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)  and  dpkg-query(1).
       The  list  of supported actions can be found later on in the ACTIONS sec‐
       tion. If any such action  is  encountered  dpkg  just  runs  dpkg-deb  or
       dpkg-query  with  the parameters given to it, but no specific options are
       currently passed to them, to use any such option the back-ends need to be
       called directly.

       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 from system directories, even configuration files).

              A package marked reinst-required is broken and requires  reinstal‐
              lation.  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  package.
              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 information
              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
              Configure a package which has been unpacked but  not  yet  config‐
              ured.   If  -a  or  --pending  is  given  instead  of package, all
              unpacked but unconfigured packages are configured.

              To reconfigure a package which has already  been  configured,  try
              the dpkg-reconfigure(8) command instead.

              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 package
              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 --pend‐
              ing 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.  Of  course, this only applies to files in
              system directories, not configuration files written to  individual
              users' home directories.

              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 available.
              With action --merge-avail, old information is combined with infor‐
              mation  from Packages-file. With action --update-avail, old infor‐
              mation is replaced with the information in the Packages-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  directory

              Now  obsolete  and a no-op as dpkg will automatically forget unin‐
              stalled unavailable packages.

              Erase the existing information about what packages are available.

        -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 previ‐
              ously 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.

              The  available database needs to be up-to-date for this command to
              be useful, otherwise unknown packages will be ignored with a warn‐
              ing.  See  the  --update-avail and --merge-avail commands for more

              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.

       --add-architecture architecture
              Add architecture to the list of architectures for  which  packages
              can be installed without using --force-architecture. The architec‐
              ture dpkg is built for (i.e. the output  of  --print-architecture)
              is always part of that list.

       --remove-architecture architecture
              Remove architecture from the list of architectures for which pack‐
              ages can be installed without using --force-architecture.  If  the
              architecture  is  currently in use in the database then the opera‐
              tion will be refused, except if --force-architecture is specified.
              The   architecture   dpkg   is  built  for  (i.e.  the  output  of
              --print-architecture) can never be removed from that list.

              Print  architecture  of  packages  dpkg  installs  (for   example,

              Print  a newline-separated list of the extra architectures dpkg is
              configured to allow packages to be installed for.

       --compare-versions ver1 op ver2
              Compare version numbers, where  op  is  a  binary  operator.  dpkg
              returns success (zero result) if the specified condition is satis‐
              fied, 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 provided only for com‐
              patibility with control file syntax: < << <= = >= >> >.

       -?, --help
              Display a brief help message.

              Give help about the --force-thing options.

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

              Display dpkg version information.

       dpkg-deb actions
              See dpkg-deb(1) for more information about the following actions.
              -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
                  /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  fragment  files  (with names
       matching this shell pattern '[0-9a-zA-Z_-]*') on the configuration direc‐
       tory /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  lead‐
       ing 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  specified
              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 serious side
              effects, downgrading essential system  components  can  even  make
              your whole system unusable. Use with care.

              configure-any:  Configure also any unpacked but unconfigured pack‐
              ages 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 essen‐
              tial. 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 dependen‐

              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:  If a conffile is missing and the version in the package
              did change, always install the missing conffile without prompting.
              This  is dangerous, since it means not preserving a change (remov‐
              ing) made to the file.

              confnew: If a conffile has been modified and the  version  in  the
              package did change, always install the new version without prompt‐
              ing, unless the --force-confdef is also specified, in  which  case
              the default action is preferred.

              confold:  If  a  conffile has been modified and the version in the
              package did change, 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 and the  version  in  the
              package  did  change,  always  choose  the  default action without
              prompting. 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.

              confask: If a conffile has been modified always offer  to  replace
              it  with  the  version  in the package, even if the version in the
              package   did   not   change.   If   any   of    --force-confmiss,
              --force-confnew,   --force-confold,  or  --force-confdef  is  also
              given, it will be used to decide the final action.

              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

              unsafe-io: Do not perform safe I/O operations when unpacking. Cur‐
              rently  this  implies not performing file system syncs before file
              renames, which is known to cause substantial performance  degrada‐
              tion on some file systems, unfortunately the ones that require the
              safe I/O on the first place  due  to  their  unreliable  behaviour
              causing zero-length files on abrupt system crashes.

              Note:  For  ext4,  the  main  offender, consider using instead the
              mount option nodelalloc,  which  will  fix  both  the  performance
              degradation  and  the data safety issues, the latter by making the
              file system not produce zero-length files on abrupt system crashes
              with any software not doing syncs before atomic renames.

              Warning:  Using  this option might improve performance at the cost
              of losing data, use with care.

              architecture: Process even packages with wrong or no architecture.

              bad-version: Process even packages with wrong versions.

              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 check.

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

       --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 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  actually  do

       -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 actions.

       -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 uninstalled
              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  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 multi‐
              ple times. The order the options are specified is preserved,  with
              the  ones  from  the  configuration  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

              Set  glob-pattern  as  a  path  filter, either by excluding or re-
              including previously excluded paths matching  the  specified  pat‐
              terns during install.

              Warning:  take  into  account that depending on the excluded paths
              you might completely break your system, use with caution.

              The glob patterns use the same wildcards used in the  shell,  were
              '*' matches any sequence of characters, including the empty string
              and   also    '/'.    For    example,    '/usr/*/READ*'    matches
              '/usr/share/doc/package/README'.  As usual, '?' matches any single
              character (again, including  '/').  And  '['  starts  a  character
              class,  which can contain a list of characters, ranges and comple‐
              mentations. See glob(7) for detailed information  about  globbing.
              Note: the current implementation might re-include more directories
              and symlinks than needed, to be on the safe side and avoid  possi‐
              ble unpack failures, future work might fix this.

              This  can be used to remove all paths except some particular ones;
              a typical case is:


              to remove all documentation files except the copyright files.

              These two options can be specified multiple times, and interleaved
              with  each  other. Both are processed in the given order, with the
              last rule that matches a file name making the decision.

       --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. Any possible newlines in extended-error-
                     message will be converted to spaces before output.

              status: file : conffile-prompt : 'real-old' 'real-new'  useredited
                     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.

              Send  machine-readable  package status and progress information to
              the shell command's standard input. This option can  be  specified
              multiple  times.  The  output format used is the same as in --sta‐

              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  avail‐
              able-version' for actions where action is one of install, upgrade,
              remove, purge; and `YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS  conffile  filename  deci‐
              sion'  for  conffile  changes  where decision is either install or

              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 pack‐
              ages 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 fragment files.

              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  PACKAGES
              for more info.

              The status file is backed up daily in /var/backups. It can be use‐
              ful if it's lost or corrupted due to filesystems troubles.

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







       HOME   If  set,  dpkg will use it as the directory from which to read the
              user specific configuration file.

       TMPDIR If set, dpkg will use it as the directory in which to create  tem‐
              porary files and directories.

       PAGER  The program dpkg will execute when displaying the conffiles.

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

              Sets the number of columns dpkg should use when displaying format‐
              ted text. Currently only used by -l.

              Defined by dpkg on the shell spawned on  the  conffile  prompt  to
              examine the situation. Current valid value: conffile-prompt.

              Defined  by  dpkg  on  the shell spawned on the conffile prompt to
              examine the situation. Contains the path to the old conffile.

              Defined by dpkg on the shell spawned on  the  conffile  prompt  to
              examine the situation. Contains the path to the new conffile.

              Defined  by  dpkg on the maintainer script environment to the ver‐
              sion of the currently running dpkg instance.

              Defined by dpkg on the maintainer script environment to the  pack‐
              age name being handled.

              Defined by dpkg on the maintainer script environment to the archi‐
              tecture the package got built for.

              Defined by dpkg on the maintainer script environment to  the  name
              of the script running (preinst, postinst, prerm, postrm).

       To  list  installed  packages  related  to  the  editor  vi(1) (note that
       dpkg-query does not load the available file anymore by default,  and  the
       dpkg-query --load-avail option should be used instead for that):
            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 /media/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  after  having
       updated  the  available database there with your package manager frontend
       of choice (see https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Dpkg/FAQ for more  details),
       for example:
            apt-cache dumpavail >"$avail"
            dpkg --merge-avail "$avail"
            rm "$avail"
       you can install it 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 convenient  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 contrib‐
       uted to dpkg.

Debian Project                     2013-07-28                            dpkg(1)