Provided by: alien_8.68_all bug


        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
        converting 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 necessarily not 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, <>.
        deb to rpm conversion code was taken from the martian program by Ran‐
        dolph Chung, <>.
        The Solaris pkg code was written by Mark A. Hershberger <mah@every    >.
        alien has been extensively rewritten (3 times) and is now maintained by
        Joey Hess, <>.


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