Provided by: dpkg-dev_1.17.5ubuntu5.8_all bug


       deb-control - Debian packages' master control file format




       Each Debian package contains the master `control' file, which contains a number of fields,
       or comments when the line starts with '#'. Each field begins with a tag, such  as  Package
       or Version (case insensitive), followed by a colon, and the body of the field.  Fields are
       delimited only by field tags. In other words, field text may be multiple lines in  length,
       but the installation tools will generally join lines when processing the body of the field
       (except in the case of the Description field, see below).


       Package: package-name
              The value of this field determines the package name, and is used to  generate  file
              names by most installation tools.

       Version: version-string
              Typically,  this  is  the  original  package's  version number in whatever form the
              program's author uses. It may also include a Debian revision number (for non-native
              packages). The exact format and sorting algorithm are described in deb-version(5).

       Maintainer: fullname-email
              Should be in the format `Joe Bloggs <>', and is typically the person
              who created the package, as  opposed  to  the  author  of  the  software  that  was

       Description: short-description
              The  format  for the package description is a short brief summary on the first line
              (after the "Description" field). The following lines should be used  as  a  longer,
              more  detailed description. Each line of the long description must be preceded by a
              space, and blank lines in the long description must contain a single '.'  following
              the preceding space.


       Section: section
              This  is  a  general  field that gives the package a category based on the software
              that it installs. Some common sections are `utils', `net',  `mail',  `text',  `x11'

       Priority: priority
              Sets  the  importance of this package in relation to the system as a whole.  Common
              priorities are `required', `standard', `optional', `extra' etc.

       In Debian, the Section and Priority fields have a defined set of accepted values based  on
       the  Policy Manual.  A list of these values can be obtained from the latest version of the
       debian-policy package.

       Essential: yes|no
              This field is usually only needed when the answer is yes. It denotes a package that
              is required for proper operation of the system. Dpkg or any other installation tool
              will not allow an Essential package to be removed (at least not without  using  one
              of the force options).

       Architecture: arch|all
              The  architecture  specifies  which type of hardware this package was compiled for.
              Common architectures are `i386', `m68k', `sparc', `alpha', `powerpc' etc. Note that
              the  all  option  is  meant  for  packages  that are architecture independent. Some
              examples of this are shell and Perl scripts, and documentation.

       Origin: name
              The name of the distribution this package is originating from.

       Bugs: url
              The url of the bug tracking system for this package. The  current  used  format  is
              bts-type://bts-address, like debbugs://

       Homepage: url
              The upstream project home page url.

       Tag: tag-list
              List  of  tags describing the qualities of the package. The description and list of
              supported tags can be found in the debtags package.

       Multi-Arch: same|foreign|allowed
              This field is used to indicate how this  package  should  behave  on  a  multi-arch
              installations. The value same means that the package is co-installable with itself,
              but it must not be used to satisfy the dependency of any  package  of  a  different
              architecture  from  itself.  The  value  foreign  means that the package is not co-
              installable with itself, but should be allowed  to  satisfy  the  dependency  of  a
              package  of  a  different  arch  from  itself.  The  value  allowed allows reverse-
              dependencies to indicate in their Depends field that they accept a package  from  a
              foreign architecture, but has no effect otherwise.

       Source: source-name
              The  name  of  the  source package that this binary package came from, if different
              than the name of the package itself.

       Subarchitecture: value
       Kernel-Version: value
       Installer-Menu-Item: value
              These fields are used by the debian-installer and  are  usually  not  needed.   See
              /usr/share/doc/debian-installer/devel/modules.txt from the debian-installer package
              for more details about them.

       Depends: package-list
              List of packages that are required for this package to provide a non-trivial amount
              of  functionality.  The package maintenance software will not allow a package to be
              installed if the packages listed in its Depends field aren't  installed  (at  least
              not  without using the force options).  In an installation, the postinst scripts of
              packages listed in Depends: fields are run  before  those  of  the  packages  which
              depend on them. On the opposite, in a removal, the prerm script of a package is run
              before those of the packages listed in its Depends: field.

       Pre-Depends: package-list
              List of packages that must be installed and  configured  before  this  one  can  be
              installed.  This  is  usually  used in the case where this package requires another
              package for running its preinst script.

       Recommends: package-list
              Lists packages that would be found together  with  this  one  in  all  but  unusual
              installations.  The package maintenance software will warn the user if they install
              a package without those listed in its Recommends field.

       Suggests: package-list
              Lists packages that are related to this one and can perhaps enhance its usefulness,
              but without which installing this package is perfectly reasonable.

       The  syntax of Depends, Pre-Depends, Recommends and Suggests fields is a list of groups of
       alternative packages. Each group is a list of  packages  separated  by  vertical  bar  (or
       `pipe')  symbols, `|'. The groups are separated by commas. Commas are to be read as `AND',
       and pipes as `OR', with pipes binding  more  tightly.  Each  package  name  is  optionally
       followed by a version number specification in parentheses.

       A  version  number  may start with a `>>', in which case any later version will match, and
       may specify or omit the Debian  packaging  revision  (separated  by  a  hyphen).  Accepted
       version relationships are ">>" for greater than, "<<" for less than, ">=" for greater than
       or equal to, "<=" for less than or equal to, and "=" for equal to.

       Breaks: package-list
              Lists packages that this one breaks, for example by exposing bugs  when  the  named
              packages  rely  on this one. The package maintenance software will not allow broken
              packages to be configured; generally the resolution  is  to  upgrade  the  packages
              named in a Breaks field.

       Conflicts: package-list
              Lists  packages  that  conflict with this one, for example by containing files with
              the same names.  The  package  maintenance  software  will  not  allow  conflicting
              packages  to  be  installed  at the same time. Two conflicting packages should each
              include a Conflicts line mentioning the other.

       Replaces: package-list
              List of packages files from which this one replaces. This is used for allowing this
              package  to  overwrite  the  files  of another package and is usually used with the
              Conflicts field to force removal of the other package, if this  one  also  has  the
              same files as the conflicted package.

       Provides: package-list
              This  is a list of virtual packages that this one provides. Usually this is used in
              the case of several packages all providing the same service.  For example, sendmail
              and   exim  can  serve  as  a  mail  server,  so  they  provide  a  common  package
              (`mail-transport-agent') on which  other  packages  can  depend.  This  will  allow
              sendmail  or  exim  to  serve  as  a  valid  option to satisfy the dependency. This
              prevents the packages that depend on a mail server from having to know the  package
              names for all of them, and using `|' to separate the list.

       The  syntax  of  Breaks,  Conflicts,  Replaces  and  Provides  is a list of package names,
       separated by commas (and optional whitespace).  In the Breaks and  Conflicts  fields,  the
       comma  should  be read as `OR'. An optional version can also be given with the same syntax
       as above for the Breaks, Conflicts and Replaces fields.

       Built-Using: package-list
              This field lists extra source packages that were used  during  the  build  of  this
              binary  package.   This  is  an indication to the archive maintenance software that
              these extra source packages must be kept whilst this binary package is  maintained.
              This  field  must  be  a  list  of  source  package  names  with strict (=) version
              relationships.  Note that the archive maintenance software is likely to  refuse  to
              accept  an  upload  which  declares  a  Built-Using  relationship  which  cannot be
              satisfied within the archive.


       # Comment
       Package: grep
       Essential: yes
       Priority: required
       Section: base
       Maintainer: Wichert Akkerman <>
       Architecture: sparc
       Version: 2.4-1
       Pre-Depends: libc6 (>= 2.0.105)
       Provides: rgrep
       Conflicts: rgrep
       Description: GNU grep, egrep and fgrep.
        The GNU family of grep utilities may be the "fastest grep in the west".
        GNU grep is based on a fast lazy-state deterministic matcher (about
        twice as fast as stock Unix egrep) hybridized with a Boyer-Moore-Gosper
        search for a fixed string that eliminates impossible text from being
        considered by the full regexp matcher without necessarily having to
        look at every character. The result is typically many times faster
        than Unix grep or egrep. (Regular expressions containing backreferencing
        will run more slowly, however).


       deb(5), deb-version(5), debtags(1), dpkg(1), dpkg-deb(1).