Provided by: dctrl-tools_2.18ubuntu1_amd64
grep-dctrl, grep-status, grep-available, grep-aptavail, grep-debtags - grep Debian control files
command --copying|-C | --help|-h | --version|-V command [options] predicate [ file... ] where command is one of grep-dctrl, grep-status, grep-available, grep-aptavail and grep-debtags.
The grep-dctrl program can answer such questions as What is the Debian package foo?, Which version of the Debian package bar is now current?, Which Debian packages does John Doe maintain?, Which Debian packages are somehow related to the Scheme programming language?, and with some help, Who maintain the essential packages of a Debian system?, given a useful input file. The programs grep-available, grep-status, grep-aptavail and grep-debtags are aliases of (actually, symbolic links to) grep-dctrl. In the shipped configuration, these aliases use as their default input the dpkg(8) available and status files, the apt-cache dumpavail output and the debtags dumpavail output, respectively. grep-dctrl is a specialised grep program that is meant for processing any file which has the general format of a Debian package control file, as described in the Debian Packaging Manual. These include the dpkg available file, the dpkg status file, and the Packages files on a distribution medium (such as a Debian CD-ROM or an FTP site carrying Debian). You must give a filter expression on the command line. The filter defines which kind of paragraphs (aka package records) are output. A simple filter is a search pattern along with any options that modify it. Possible modifiers are --eregex, --field, --ignore-case, --regex and --exact-match, along with their single-letter equivalents. By default, the search is a case-sensitive fixed substring match on each paragraph (in other words, package record) in the input. With suitable modifiers, this can be changed: the search can be case-insensitive and the pattern can be seen as an extended POSIX regular expression. Filters can be combined to form more complex filters using the connectives --and, --or and --not. Parentheses (which usually need to be escaped for the shell) can be used for grouping. By default, the full matching paragraphs are printed on the standard output; specific fields can be selected for output with the -s option. After the filter expression comes zero or more file names. If no file names are specified, the file name is searched in configuration files. The input file from the first program name - input file association with the correct program name is used. The program names are matched with the base form of the name of the current program (the 0'th command line argument, if you will). The file name "-" is taken to mean the standard input stream. The files are searched in order but separately; they are not concatenated together. In other words, the end of a file always implies the end of the current paragraph. There is one exception to the above: if the program name is grep-dctrl, the default input source is always standard input; this cannot be overridden by the configuration file.
Specifying the search pattern --pattern=PATTERN Specify a pattern to be searched. This switch is not generally needed, as the pattern can be given by itself. However, patterns that start with a dash must be given using this switch, so that they wouldn't be mistaken for switches. Modifiers of simple filters -F FIELD,FIELD,...; --field=FIELD,FIELD,... Restrict pattern matching to the FIELDs given. Multiple field names in one -F option and multiple -F options in one simple filter are allowed. The search named by the filter will be performed among all the fields named, and as soon as any one of them matches, the whole simple filter is considered matching. A FIELD specification can contain a colon. In such a case, the part up to the colon is taken as the name of the field to be searched in, and the part after the colon is taken as the name of the field whose content is to be used if the field to search in is empty. -P Shorthand for "-FPackage". -S Shorthand for "-FSource:Package". -e, --eregex Regard the pattern of the current simple filter as an extended POSIX regular expression -r, --regex The pattern of the current simple filter is a standard POSIX regular expression. -i, --ignore-case Ignore case when looking for a match in the current simple filter. -X, --exact-match Do an exact match (as opposed to a substring match) in the current simple filter. -w, --whole-pkg Do an extended regular expression match on whole package names, assuming the syntax of inter-package relationship fields such as Depends, Recommends, ... When this flag is given you should not worry about sub-package names such as "libpcre3" also matching "libpcre3-dev". This flag implies (and is incompatible with) -e. --eq Do an equality comparison under the Debian version number system. If the pattern or the field to be searched in is not a valid Debian version number, the paragraph is regarded as not matching. As a special case, this is capable of comparing simple nonnegative integers for equality. --lt Do an strictly-less-than comparison under the Debian version number system. If the pattern or the field to be searched in is not a valid Debian version number, the paragraph is regarded as not matching. As a special case, this is capable of comparing simple nonnegative integers. --le Do an less-than-or-equal comparison under the Debian version number system. If the pattern or the field to be searched in is not a valid Debian version number, the paragraph is regarded as not matching. As a special case, this is capable of comparing simple nonnegative integers. --gt Do an strictly-greater-than comparison under the Debian version number system. If the pattern or the field to be searched in is not a valid Debian version number, the paragraph is regarded as not matching. As a special case, this is capable of comparing simple nonnegative integers. --ge Do an greater-than-or-equal comparison under the Debian version number system. If the pattern or the field to be searched in is not a valid Debian version number, the paragraph is regarded as not matching. As a special case, this is capable of comparing simple nonnegative integers. Combining filters -!, --not, ! Match if the following filter does not match. -o, --or Match if either one or both of the preceding and following filters matches. -a, --and Match if both the preceding and the following filter match. ( ... ) Parentheses can be used for grouping. Note that they need to be escaped for most shells. Output format modifiers -s FIELD,FIELD,...; --show-field=FIELD,FIELD,... Show only the body of these fields from the matching paragraphs. The field names must not include any colons or commas. Commas are used to delimit field names in the argument to this option. The fields are shown in the order given here. See also the option -I. -I; --invert-show Invert the meaning of option -s: show only the fields that have not been named using a -s option. As an artefact of the implementation, the order of the fields in the original paragraph is not preserved. A FIELD specification can contain a colon. In such a case, the part up to the colon is taken as the name of the field to be shown, and the part after the colon is taken as the name of the field whose content is to be used if the field to be shown is empty. -d Show only the first line of the Description field from the matching paragraphs. If no "-s" option is specified, this option also effects "-s Description"; if there is a "-s" option but it does not include the Description field name, one is appended to the option. Thus the Description field's location in the output is determined by the "-s" option, if any, the last field being the default. -n, --no-field-names Suppress field names when showing specified fields, only their bodies are shown. Each field is printed in its original form without the field name, the colon after it and any whitespace preceding the start of the body. -v, --invert-match Instead of showing all the paragraphs that match, show those paragraphs that do not match. -c, --count Instead of showing the paragraphs that match (or, with -v, that don't match), show the count of those paragraphs. -q, --quiet, --silent Output nothing to the standard output stream. Instead, exit immediately after finding the first match. Miscellaneous --ignore-parse-errors Ignore errors in parsing input. A paragraph which cannot be parsed is ignored in its entirety, and the next paragraph is assumed to start after the first newline since the location of the error. --config-file=FNAME Use FNAME as the config file instead of the defaults. --debug-optparse Show how the current command line has been parsed. -l LEVEL, --errorlevel=LEVEL Set debugging level to LEVEL. LEVEL is one of "fatal", "important", "informational" and "debug", but the last may not be available, depending on the compile-time options. These categories are given here in order; every message that is emitted when "fatal" is in effect, will be emitted in the "important" error level, and so on. The default is "important". -V, --version Print out version information. -C, --copying Print out the copyright license. This produces much output; be sure to redirect or pipe it somewhere (such as your favourite pager). -h, --help Print out a help summary.
The following example queries assume that the default configuration is in effect. The almost simplest use of this program is to print out the status or available record of a package. In this respect, grep-dctrl is like dpkg -s or dpkg --print-avail. To print out the status record of the package "mixal", do % grep-status -PX mixal and to get its available record, use % grep-available -PX mixal In fact, you can ask for the record of the "mixal" package from any Debian control file. Say, you have the Debian 2.2 CD-ROM's Packages file in the current directory; now you can do a % grep-dctrl -PX mixal Packages But grep-dctrl can do more than just emulate dpkg. It can more-or-less emulate apt-cache! That program has a search feature that searches package descriptions. But we can do that too: % grep-available -F Description foo searches for the string "foo" case-sensitively in the descriptions of all available packages. If you want case-insensitivity, use % grep-available -F Description -i foo Truth to be told, apt-cache searches package names, too. We can separately search in the names; to do so, do % grep-available -F Package foo or % grep-available -P foo which is pretty much the same thing. We can also search in both descriptions and names; if match is found in either, the package record is printed: % grep-available -P -F Description foo or % grep-available -F Package -F Description foo This kind of search is the exactly same that apt-cache does. Here's one thing neither dpkg nor apt-cache do. Search for a string in the whole status or available file (or any Debian control file, for that matter) and print out all package records where we have a match. Try % grep-available dpkg sometime and watch how thoroughly dpkg has infiltrated Debian. All the above queries were based on simple substring searches. But grep-dctrl can handle regular expressions in the search pattern. For example, to see the status records of all packages with either "apt" or "dpkg" in their names, use % grep-status -P -e 'apt|dpkg' Now that we have seen all these fine and dandy queries, you might begin to wonder whether it is necessary to always see the whole paragraph. You may be, for example, interest only in the dependency information of the packages involved. Fine. To show the depends lines of all packages maintained by me, do a % grep-available -F Maintainer -s Depends 'email@example.com' If you want to see the packages' names, too, use % grep-available -F Maintainer -s Package,Depends \ 'firstname.lastname@example.org' Note that there must be no spaces in the argument to the -s switch. More complex queries are also possible. For example, to see the list of packages maintained by me and depending on libc6, do % grep-available -F Maintainer 'email@example.com' \ -a -F Depends libc6 -s Package,Depends Remember that you can use other Unix filters to help you, too. Ever wondered, who's the most active Debian developer based on the number of source packages being maintained? Easy. You just need to have a copy of the most recent Sources file from any Debian mirror. % grep-dctrl -n -s Maintainer '' Sources | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr This example shows a neat trick: if you want to selectively show only some field of all packages, just supply an empty pattern. The term "bogopackage" means the count of the packages that a Debian developer maintains. To get the bogopackage count for the maintainer of grep-dctrl, say % grep-available -c -FMaintainer \ "`grep-available -sMaintainer -n -PX grep-dctrl`" Sometimes it is useful to output the data of several fields on the same line. For example, the following command outputs the list of installed packages, sorted by their Installed-Size. % grep-status -FStatus -sInstalled-Size,Package -n \ "install ok installed" | paste -sd " \n" | sort -n Note that there should be exactly 2 spaces in the " \n" string. Another usual use-case is looking for packages that have another one as build dependency: % grep-dctrl -s Package -F Build-Depends,Build-Depends-Indep quilt /var/lib/apt/lists/*Sources These examples cover a lot of typical uses of this utility, but not all possible uses. Use your imagination! The building blocks are there, and if something's missing, let me know.
In the absence of errors, the exit code 0 is used if at least one match was found, and the exit code 1 is used if no matches were found. If there were errors, the exit code is 2, with one exception. If the -q, --quiet or --silent options are used, the exit code 0 is used when a match is found regardless of whether there have been non-fatal errors. These messages are emitted in log levels "fatal" and "important". Additional messages may be provided by the system libraries. This list is out of date. a pattern is mandatory You must specify a pattern to be searched for. a predicate is required No predicate was specified, but one is required. cannot find enough memory More memory was needed than was available. This error may be transient, that is, if you try again, all may go well. cannot suppress field names when showing whole paragraphs When you do not use the -s switch, grep-dctrl just passes the matching paragraphs through, not touching them any way. This means, for example, that you can only use -n when you use -s. inconsistent atom modifiers Conflicting atom modifiers were used; for example, perhaps both -X and -e were specified for the same atom. missing ')' in command line There were more opening than closing parentheses in the given predicate. no such log level The argument to -l was invalid. predicate is too complex The predicate's complexity (the number of atoms and connectives) exceed compile- time limits. read failure or out of memory There was a problem reading the configuration file. Maybe there was a transput error; maybe memory was exhausted. This error may be transient, that is, if you try again, all may go well. syntax error in command line There is a problem in the command line. Look, and you shall find it. syntax error: need a executable name There is a problem in the configuration file. Look, and you shall find it. syntax error: need an input file name There is a problem in the configuration file. Look, and you shall find it. too many file names The number of file names specified in the command line exceeded a compile-time limit. too many output fields The argument to -s had too many field names in it. This number is limited to 256. unexpected ')' in command line There was no opening parenthesis that would match some closing parenthesis in the command line. unexpected end of file The input file is broken: it ends before it should. unexpected end of line The input file is broken: a line ends before it should. Unexpected atom in command line. Did you forget to use a connective? There was an atom on the command line where there should not be any. The most likely reason is that an atom modifier option (such as -F) follows directly after a closing parenthesis. Adding a connective (--and, --or) between the parenthesis and the option is often the correct solution.
If you use grep-dctrl in a Debian package, you should depend on the grep-dctrl package and heed the following compatibility notes: Always call only the grep-dctrl executable. Although the grep-status and grep-available symlinks are installed by default, this may change in the future. Those symlinks are meant for manual and not scripted use. Always specify an explicit file name Don't rely on the implicit file name feature. The system administrator may have changed the default file name. You should always specify the "-" file, too. Not all features have been with us in every version Check if any of the features you use is mentioned in the changelog. Use a versioned dependency on grep-dctrl, if it is necessary.
/etc/grep-dctrl.rc See the next file. ~/.grep-dctrlrc These files are the default configuration files for grep-dctrl. The format is line-based, with `#' introducing a comment that lasts to the end of the line. Each line defines one association between a program name and a default input file. These two things are listed in the line in order, separated by whitespace. Empty lines are ignored. If the default input file name starts with two at (@) signs, one of them is ignored. This allows specifying a file name that starts with an at sign. If it starts with the string "@exec", the rest of the name is interpreted as a command name that is fed to /bin/sh -c, and the standard output stream is used as the default input. /var/lib/dpkg/available The default input file of grep-available when the shipped configuration is in effect. /var/lib/dpkg/status The default input file of grep-status when the shipped configuration is in effect.
The program and this manual page were written by Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Bill Allombert <email@example.com> provided one of the examples in the manual page.