Provided by: alien_8.95_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, Stampede 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 preferred 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 different distributions, and packages from the different
       distributions cannot be used interchangeably. In general, if you can't remove a package
       without breaking your system, don't try to replace it with an alien version.


       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 depenendencies 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
           distribution should provide a package by that name, if it is lsb compliant. The
           scripts in the lsb package will be converted by default as well.

           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 changed.

       deb For converting to (but not from) deb format, the gcc, make, debhelper, 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 package!

           When using alien to convert a tgz package, all files in /etc in are assumed to be
           configuration files.

       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 package 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 generating a debian package.

       -c, --scripts
           Try to convert the scripts that are meant to be run when the package 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 option.

           This is enabled by default when converting from lsb packages.

           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 version of the package. This is not guaranteed to always work; older
           patches may not necessarily 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 descriptions.

           Specifiy a version for the package. This only has an effect when converting from the
           tgz package format, which may lack version information.

           Note that without an argument, this displays the version of alien instead.

       -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

       -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 this.

           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.

           Force the architecture of the generated package to the given string.

       -v, --verbose
           Be verbose: Display each command alien runs in the process of converting 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 available in all 4
           package formats.


       alien recognizes the following environment 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.


       alien was written by Christoph Lameter, <>.

       deb to rpm conversion code was taken from the martian program by Randolph Chung,

       The Solaris pkg code was written by Mark A. Hershberger <>.

       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.