Provided by: dpkg_1.14.16.6ubuntu3_i386 bug


       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  dselect(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 unpacked and configured OK.

              The installation of  the  package  has  been  started,  but  not
              completed for some reason.

              The package is not installed on your system.

              The package is unpacked, but not configured.

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

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

              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
              reinstallation.  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
              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.

       -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
              packages 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
              available.  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 Packages-file. The Packages-file distributed with Debian
              is simply named Packages. dpkg keeps  its  record  of  available
              packages in /var/lib/dpkg/available.

              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
              directory instead.

              Forget about uninstalled unavailable packages.

              Erase   the   existing   information  about  what  packages  are

        -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
              deinstall.   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, "i386").

       --compare-versions ver1 op ver2
              Compare  version  numbers, where op is a binary operator.
              dpkg returns  success  (zero  result)  if  the  specified
              condition  is  satisfied,  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 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
              following 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


       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
               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
              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  packages  on  which  the  current   package

              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

              breaks:  Install,  even  if  this  would  break   another

              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 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

              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

              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
              authenticity check.

              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) option.

              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  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
              probably expected it to actually 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 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
              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

       -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

              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-newuseredited 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), configure, 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  <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.


              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
              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  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 formatted 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 "editors":
            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 >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 dselect and choose Install.

       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.


       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.