Provided by: dselect_1.14.20ubuntu6_i386 bug


       dselect - Debian package management frontend


       dselect      [--admindir      <directory>]     [--help]     [--version]
       [--licence|--license]    [--expert]    [--debug|-D<file>]    [<action>]


       dselect is one of the primary user interfaces for managing packages  on
       a  Debian  system.  At  the dselect main menu, the system administrator
        - Update the list of available package versions,
        - View the status of installed and available packages,
        - Alter package selections and manage dependencies,
        - Install new packages or upgrade to newer versions.

       dselect operates as  a  front-end  to  dpkg(1),  the  low-level  debian
       package  handling  tool.  It  features a full-screen package selections
       manager with package depends and  conflicts  resolver.  When  run  with
       administrator  privileges,  packages  can  be  installed,  upgraded and
       removed. Various access methods can be configured to retrieve available
       package  version  information  and  installable  packages  from package
       repositories.  Depending on the used access method, these  repositories
       can be public archive servers on the internet, local archive servers or
       cdroms.  The recommended access method is apt, which is provided by the
       package apt.

       Normally  dselect is invoked without parameters. An interactive menu is
       presented, offering the user a list of actions. If an action  is  given
       as   argument,   then  that  action  is  started  immediately.  Several
       commandline parameters  are  still  available  to  modify  the  running
       behaviour  of dselect or show additional information about the program.


       All options can be specified both on the commandline and in the dselect
       configuration    file   /etc/dpkg/dselect.cfg.   Each   line   in   the
       configuration file is  either  an  option  (exactly  the  same  as  the
       commandline  option  but  without  leading  dashes) or a comment (if it
       starts with a #).

       --admindir <directory>
              Changes the directory where the dpkg ‘status’,  ‘available’  and
              similar  files  are  located. This defaults to /var/lib/dpkg and
              normally there shouldn’t be any need to change it.

       --debug <file> | -D<file>
              Turn on debugging. Debugging information is sent to <file>.

              Turns on expert mode, i.e.  doesn’t  display  possibly  annoying
              help messages.

       --colour|--color  screenpart:[foreground],[background][:attr[+attr+..]]
              Configures  screen  colors.  This  works  only  if  your display
              supports colors.  This option may be used multiple times (and is
              best  used  in  dselect.cfg).  Each  use  changes the color (and
              optionally, other attributes) of one part of  the  screen.   The
              parts of the screen (from top to bottom) are:

              title  The screen title.

                     The header line above the list of packages.

              list   The scrolling list of packages (and also some help text).

                     The selected item in the list.

                     In the list of packages, the text indicating the  current
                     state of each package.

                     In  the list of packages, the text indicating the current
                     state of the currently selected package.

                     The header line that displays the state of the  currently
                     selected package.

                     The package’s short description.

              info   Used  to  display  package  info  such  as  the package’s

                     The last line of the screen when selecting packages.

              query  Used to display query lines

                     Color of help screens.

       After the part of the screen comes a colon and the color specification.
       You  can  specify either the foreground color, the background color, or
       both, overriding the compiled-in  colors.  Use  standard  curses  color

       Optionally,  after  the  color  specification  is another colon, and an
       attribute specification. This is a list  of  one  or  more  attributes,
       separated  by  plus ("+") characters. Available attributes include (not
       all of these will work on all terminals): normal, standout,  underline,
       reverse, blink, bright, dim, bold

       --help Print a brief help text and exit successfully.

              Displays the dselect copyright and license information and exits

              Print version information and exit successfully.


       When dselect is started interactively, it prompts the user with a  menu
       of available actions:

       Choose and configure an access method to access package repositories.

       By  default,  dselect provides several methods such as floppy, harddisk
       or cdrom, but other packages may provide additional  methods,  eg.  the
       apt  access  method  provided  by  the  apt  package or multi_cd by the
       dpkg-multicd package.

       The use of the apt access method is strongly recommended.

       Refresh the available packages database.

       Retrieves a  list  of  available  package  versions  from  the  package
       repository,  configured  for  the current access method, and update the
       dpkg  database.  The  package  lists  are  commonly  provided  by   the
       repository  as files named Packages or Packages.gz.  These files can be
       generated   by    repository    maintainers,    using    the    program

       Details   of   the   update   action  depend  on  the  access  method’s
       implementation.  Normally the process is straightforward  and  requires
       no user interaction.

       View or manage package selections and dependencies.

       This  is  the  main function of dselect. In the select screen, the user
       can review a list of all available and  installed  packages.  When  run
       with  administrator  privileges,  it  is also possible to interactively
       change packages selection state. dselect  tracks  the  implications  of
       these changes to other depending or conflicting packages.

       When  a conflict or failed depends is detected, a dependency resolution
       subscreen  is  prompted  to  the  user.  In  this  screen,  a  list  of
       conflicting  or  depending  packages  is  shown,  and  for each package
       listed, the reason for its listing is shown. The  user  may  apply  the
       suggestions  proposed  by  dselect,  override them, or back out all the
       changes, including the ones that  created  the  unresolved  depends  or

       The  use  of  the  interactive  package selections management screen is
       explained in more detail below.

       Installs selected packages.

       The configured access  method  will  fetch  installable  or  upgradable
       packages  from  the relevant repositories and install these using dpkg.
       Depending on the implementation of the access method, all packages  can
       be prefetched before installation, or fetched when needed.  Some access
       methods may also remove packages that were marked for removal.

       If an error occurred during install, it is  usually  advisable  to  run
       install again. In most cases, the problems will disappear or be solved.
       If problems persist or the installation performed was incorrect, please
       investigate  into  the  causes and circumstances, and file a bug in the
       Debian bug tracking system. Instructions on how to do this can be found
       at  or by reading the documentation for bug(1)
       or reportbug(1), if these are installed.

       Details  of  the  install  action  depend  on   the   access   method’s
       implementation.   The user’s attention and input may be required during
       installation, configuration or removal of packages. This depends on the
       maintainer  scripts  in  the  package.  Some  packages  make use of the
       debconf(1) library,  allowing  for  more  flexible  or  even  automated
       installation setups.

       Configures any previously installed, but not fully configured packages.

       Removes or purges installed packages, that are marked for removal.

       Quit dselect

       Exits the program with zero (successful) errorcode.

Package selections management

       dselect directly exposes the administrator to some of the  complexities
       involved   with   managing   large   sets   of   packages   with   many
       interdependencies. For a user who is unfamiliar with the  concepts  and
       the  ways  of  the  debian  package  management system, it can be quite
       overwhelming. Although dselect is aimed at  easing  package  management
       and  administration, it is only instrumental in doing so and can not be
       assumed to be a  sufficient  substitute  for  administrator  skill  and
       understanding.  The  user  is required to be familiar with the concepts
       underlying the Debian packaging system.  In case of doubt, consult  the
       dpkg(1)  manpage  and  the  Debian  Policy  manual,  contained  in  the
       debian-policy package.

       Unless dselect is run in expert or immediate mode,  a  help  screen  is
       first  displayed  when  choosing this action from the menu. The user is
       strongly advised to study all  of  the  information  presented  in  the
       online  help screens, when one pops up.  The online help screens can at
       any time be invoked with the ’?’ key.

   Screen layout
       The select screen is by default split in a top and a bottom half.   The
       top  half  shows  a  list  of  packages.  A  cursor  bar  can select an
       individual package, or a group of packages, if applicable, by selecting
       the  group  header.  The  bottom  half of the screen shows some details
       about the package currently selected in the top  half  of  the  screen.
       The type of detail that is displayed can be varied.

       Pressing  the  ’I’  key  toggles  a full-screen display of the packages
       list, an enlarged view of the package details,  or  the  equally  split

   Package details view
       The  package  details  view  by  default  shows  the  extended  package
       description for the package that is currently selected in the  packages
       status  list.   The  type  of detail can be toggled by pressing the ’i’
       key. This alternates between:
        - the extended description
        - the control information for the installed version
        - the control information for the available version

       In a dependency resolution screen, there is  also  the  possibility  of
       viewing  the  specific  unresolved  depends or conflicts related to the
       package and causing it to be listed.

   Packages status list
       The main select screen displays a list of all  packages  known  to  the
       debian  package  management system. This includes packages installed on
       the system and packages known from the available packages database.

       For every package, the  list  shows  the  package’s  status,  priority,
       section,  installed  and  available  versions, the package name and its
       short description, all in one  line.  By  pressing  the  ’V’  key,  the
       display  of  the installed and available version can be toggled between
       on an off. By pressing the ’v’  key,  the  package  status  display  is
       toggled  between  verbose  and  shorthand.   Shorthand  display  is the

       The shorthand status indication consists of four parts: an error  flag,
       which  should normally be clear, the current status, the last selection
       state and the current selection state.  The first  two  relate  to  the
       actual  state  of the package, the second pair are about the selections
       set by the user.

       These are the meanings of the shorthand package status indicator codes:
        Error flag:
         empty   no error
         R       serious error, needs reinstallation;
        Installed state:
         empty   not installed;
         *       fully installed and configured;
         -       not installed but some config files may remain;
         U       unpacked but not yet configured;
         C       half-configured (an error happened);
         I       half-installed (an error happened).
        Current and requested selections:
         *       marked for installation or upgrade;
         -       marked for removal, configuration files remain;
         =       on hold: package will not be processed at all;
         _       marked for purge, also remove configuration;
         n       package is new and has yet to be marked.

   Cursor and screen movement
       The  package  selection  list  and  the  dependency conflict resolution
       screens can be navigated using motion commands mapped to the  following
         p, Up, k           move cursor bar up
         n, Down, j         move cursor bar down
         P, Pgup, Backspace scroll list 1 page up
         N, Pgdn, Space     scroll list 1 page down
         ^p                 scroll list 1 line up
         ^n                 scroll list 1 line down
         t, Home            jump to top of list
         e, End             jump to end of list
         u                  scroll info 1 page up
         d                  scroll info 1 page down
         ^u                 scroll info 1 line up
         ^d                 scroll info 1 line down
         B, Left-arrow      pan display 1/3 screen left
         F, Right-arrow     pan display 1/3 screen right
         ^b                 pan display 1 character left
         ^f                 pan display 1 character right

   Searching and sorting
       The  list  of packages can be searched by package name. This is done by
       pressing ’/’,  and  typing  a  simple  search  string.  The  string  is
       interpreted  as  a regex(7) regular expression.  If you add ’/d’ to the
       search expression, dselect will also search in descriptions. If you add
       ’/i’  the  search  will be case insensitive.  You may combine these two
       suffixes like this:  ’/id’.   Repeated  searching  is  accomplished  by
       repeatedly  pressing  the  ’n’ or ’\’ keys, until the wanted package is
       found.  If the search reaches the bottom of the list, it wraps  to  the
       top and continues searching from there.

       The  list  sort  order  can  be varied by pressing the ’o’ and ’O’ keys
       repeatedly.  The following nine sort orderings can be selected:
        alphabet          available           status
        priority+section  available+priority  status+priority
        section+priority  available+section   status+section
       Where not listed above explicitly, alphabetic  order  is  used  as  the
       final subordering sort key.

   Altering selections
       The  requested  selection  state  of individual packages may be altered
       with the following commands:
         +, Insert    install or upgrade
         =, H         hold in present state and version
         :, G         unhold: upgrade or leave uninstalled
         -, Delete    remove, but leave configuration
         _            remove & purge configuration

       When the change request results in one or more unsatisfied  depends  or
       conflicts,  dselect  prompts  the  user  with  a  dependency resolution
       screen. This will be further explained below.

       It is also possible to  apply  these  commands  to  groups  of  package
       selections,  by  pointing the cursor bar onto a group header. The exact
       grouping  of  packages  is  dependent  on  the  current  list  ordering

       Proper  care  should be taken when altering large groups of selections,
       because this can instantaneously create  large  numbers  of  unresolved
       depends  or  conflicts,  all  of which will be listed in one dependency
       resolution screen, making them very hard to handle. In  practice,  only
       hold and unhold operations are useful when applied to groups.

   Resolving depends and conflicts
       When  the  change request results in one or more unsatisfied depends or
       conflicts, dselect  prompts  the  user  with  a  dependency  resolution
       screen. First however, an informative help screen is displayed.

       The  top  half  of  this  screen  lists all the packages that will have
       unresolved depends or conflicts, as a result of the  requested  change,
       and  all  the  packages  whose  installation  can  resolve any of these
       depends or whose removal can resolve any of the conflicts.  The  bottom
       half defaults to show the depends or conflicts that cause the currently
       selected package to be listed.

       When the sublist of packages is displayed initially, dselect  may  have
       already  set  the  requested  selection  status  of  some of the listed
       packages, in order to resolve the depends or conflicts that caused  the
       dependency  resolution  screen  to be displayed. Usually, it is best to
       follow up the suggestions made by dselect.

       The listed packages’ selection state may be reverted  to  the  original
       settings,  as they were before the unresolved depends or conflicts were
       created, by pressing  the  ’R’  key.  By  pressing  the  ’D’  key,  the
       automatic  suggestions  are  reset,  but  the  change  that  caused the
       dependency resolution screen to  be  prompted  is  kept  as  requested.
       Finally, by pressing ’U’, the selections are again set to the automatic
       suggestion values.

   Establishing the requested selections
       By pressing  enter,  the  currently  displayed  set  of  selections  is
       accepted.  If  dselect detects no unresolved depends as a result of the
       requested selections, the new selections  will  be  set.   However,  if
       there  are  any  unresolved depends, dselect will again prompt the user
       with a dependency resolution screen.

       To alter a  set  of  selections  that  creates  unresolved  depends  or
       conflicts  and  forcing  dselect  to accept it, press the ’Q’ key. This
       sets  the  selections  as  specified  by  the  user,   unconditionally.
       Generally, don’t do this unless you’ve read the fine print.

       The  opposite effect, to back out any selections change requests and go
       back to the previous list of selections, is attained  by  pressing  the
       ’X’  or  escape  keys.  By repeatedly pressing these keys, any possibly
       detrimental changes to the requested package selections can  be  backed
       out completely to the last established settings.

       If  you  mistakenly  establish some settings and wish to revert all the
       selections to what is currently installed on the system, press the  ’C’
       key.   This  is  somewhat  similar  to  using the unhold command on all
       packages, but provides a more obvious panic button in cases  where  the
       user pressed enter by accident.


       The dselect package selection interface is confusing to some new users.
       Reportedly, it even makes seasoned kernel developers cry.

       The documentation is lacking.

       There is no help option in the main menu.

       The visible list of available packages cannot be reduced.

       The built in access methods can no longer stand up to  current  quality
       standards.  Use  the  access method provided by apt, it is not only not
       broken, it is also much more flexible than the built in access methods.


       dpkg(1), apt-get(8), sources.list(5), deb(5).


       dselect was written by Ian Jackson ( Full list
       of contributors may be found in ‘dselect --license’.
       This manual page was written by  Juho  Vuori  <>,
       Josip Rodin and Joost kooij.