Provided by: dctrl-tools_2.23ubuntu1_amd64 bug


       sort-dctrl - sort Debian control files


       sort-dctrl [options] [ file ...  ]

       sort-dctrl --copying | --help | --version | -ChV


       The sort-dctrl program sorts Debian control files according to specified criteria.

       A  Debian  control  (dctrl)  file  is  a  semistructured single-table database stored in a
       machine-parseable text file.  Such a database consists of a set of records; each record is
       a  mapping  from  field names to field content.  Textually, records are separated by empty
       lines, while each field is encoded as one or more nonempty lines inside a record.  A field
       starts  with its name, followed by a colon, followed by the field content.  The colon must
       reside on the first line of the field, and the first line must start with  no  whitespace.
       Subsequent  lines,  in contrast, always start with linear whitespace (one or more space or
       tab characters).

       The sort-dctrl program recognizes two field  types:  string  fields  and  version  fields.
       Version fields act also as numeric fields.  String fields are compared according to strict
       lexicographical octet-by-octet comparison, after ignoring any initial whitespace after the
       colon.   Version fields are parsed and compared as Debian version numbers.  When comparing
       version numbers, if a field content does not in fact conform to the version number syntax,
       it  compares  less  than  any  field  content  that  does  conform, and equal to any other
       nonconforming field content.  The sort-dctrl program assumes all fields are string  fields
       unless told otherwise.

       You  can  specify arbitrary number of keys for sorting, using the -k option.  The keys are
       interpreted in a descending order of priority: the first key  specified  is  primary,  the
       second  key  specified  is  secondary,  and so on.  If two records compare equal under the
       primary key, then they are compared under the secondary key, and so on.  If  no  keys  are
       specified, a default key is assumed (the "Package" field with no modifiers).


       -k keyspec, --key-spec=keyspec
              Specify  one  or  more keys for sorting.  You may specify this option any number of
              times.   The  keyspec  argument  consists  of  a  comma-separated   list   of   key
              specifications.   Each  key  specification  consists  of the name of the field that
              serves as the key, optionally followed by a colon and key modifiers.  The following
              key modifiers are supported:

              r      Invert the comparison for this key, reversing the sorting order.

              v      Treat this field as a version number field.

              n      Treat this field as numeric, which currently is synonymous with v.

       -q, --quiet, --silent
              Output  nothing  to  the  standard  output stream.  Instead, exit immediately after
              finding the first match.

       -l level, --errorlevel=level
              Set log 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

       -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.


       Here are some sample invocations of the program:

       sort-dctrl /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted by the package name.

       sort-dctrl -k Version:v /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted in ascending order of version numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Version:vr /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted in descending order of version numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Package,Version:v /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted primarily in ascending order of package names
              and secondarily in descending order of version numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Installed-Size:n,Size:nr /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted primarily in ascending order of  installation
              sizes and secondarily in descending order of package sizes.


       The program and this manual page were written by Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho <>.


       Debian  Policy  Manual.  Published as the Debian package debian-policy.  Also available in
       the Debian website.