dpkg [option...] action

       This  manual is intended for users wishing to understand dpkg's command
       line options and package states in more detail than  that  provided  by
       dpkg --help.

       It  should not be used by package maintainers wishing to understand how
       dpkg will install their packages. The descriptions of  what  dpkg  does
       when installing and removing packages are particularly inadequate.

       dpkg  is  a  tool to install, build, remove and manage Debian packages.
       The primary and more user-friendly front-end for dpkg  is  aptitude(1).
       dpkg  itself  is controlled entirely via command line parameters, which
       consist of exactly one action and zero or  more  options.  The  action-
       parameter tells dpkg what to do and options control the behavior of the
       action in some way.

       dpkg can also be used as a front-end to dpkg-deb(1) and  dpkg-query(1).
       The list of supported actions can be found later on in the ACTIONS sec-
       tion. If any such action is encountered  dpkg  just  runs  dpkg-deb  or
       dpkg-query with the parameters given to it, but no specific options are
       currently passed to them, to use any such option the back-ends need  to
       be called directly.

       dpkg  maintains  some  usable information about available packages. The
       information is divided in three classes: states, selection  states  and
       flags. These values are intended to be changed mainly with dselect.

   Package states
              The package is not installed on your system.

              Only the configuration files of the package exist on the system.

              The  installation  of the package has been started, but not com-
              pleted for some reason.

              The package is unpacked, but not configured.

              The package is unpacked and configuration has been started,  but
              not yet completed for some reason.

              The package awaits trigger processing by another package.

              The package is selected for  deinstallation  (i.e.  we  want  to
              remove all files, except configuration files).

       purge  The  package  is  selected  to be purged (i.e. we want to remove
              everything from system directories, even configuration files).

   Package flags
              A package marked reinst-required is broken  and  requires  rein-
              stallation. These packages cannot be removed, unless forced with
              option --force-remove-reinstreq.

       -i, --install package-file...
              Install the package. If --recursive or -R option  is  specified,
              package-file must refer to a directory instead.

              Installation consists of the following steps:

              1. Extract the control files of the new package.

              2.  If  another version of the same package was installed before
              the new installation, execute prerm script of the old package.

              3. Run preinst script, if provided by the package.

              4. Unpack the new files, and at the same time back  up  the  old
              files, so that if something goes wrong, they can be restored.

              5.  If  another version of the same package was installed before
              the new installation, execute the postrm script of the old pack-
              age.  Note that this script is executed after the preinst script
              of the new package, because new files are written  at  the  same
              time old files are removed.

              6.  Configure the package. See --configure for detailed informa-
              tion about how this is done.

       --unpack package-file...
              Unpack the package, but don't configure it. If --recursive or -R
              option  is  specified,  package-file  must  refer to a directory

       --configure package...|-a|--pending
              Configure a package which has been unpacked but not yet  config-
              ured.   If  -a  or  --pending  is  given instead of package, all
              unpacked but unconfigured packages are configured.

              To reconfigure a package which has already been configured,  try
              the dpkg-reconfigure(8) command instead.

              Configuring consists of the following steps:
              dpkg --configure --pending.

       -r, --remove, -P, --purge package...|-a|--pending
              Remove  an  installed  package. -r or --remove remove everything
              except conffiles. This may avoid having to reconfigure the pack-
              age  if  it  is  reinstalled later. (Conffiles are configuration
              files that are listed in the DEBIAN/conffiles control file).  -P
              or  --purge  removes  everything,  including conffiles. If -a or
              --pending is given instead of a package name, then all  packages
              unpacked,   but   marked   to  be  removed  or  purged  in  file
              /var/lib/dpkg/status, are removed or purged, respectively. Note:
              some  configuration  files might be unknown to dpkg because they
              are created and handled  separately  through  the  configuration
              scripts. In that case, dpkg won't remove them by itself, but the
              package's postrm script (which is called by dpkg), has  to  take
              care of their removal during purge. Of course, this only applies
              to files in system directories, not configuration files  written
              to individual users' home directories.

              Removing of a package consists of the following steps:

              1. Run prerm script

              2. Remove the installed files

              3. Run postrm script

       -V, --verify [package-name...]
              Verifies  the integrity of package-name or all packages if omit-
              ted, by comparing information from the installed paths with  the
              database metadata.

              The output format is selectable with the --verify-format option,
              which by default uses the rpm format, but that might  change  in
              the  future,  and  as  such programs parsing this command output
              should be explicit about the format they expect.

       --update-avail, --merge-avail Packages-file
              Update dpkg's and dselect's idea of which  packages  are  avail-
              able.  With  action  --merge-avail,  old information is combined
              with information from Packages-file. With action --update-avail,
              old  information  is  replaced with the information in the Pack-
              ages-file. The Packages-file distributed with Debian  is  simply
              named  Packages.  dpkg keeps its record of available packages in

              A simpler one-shot command to retrieve and update the  available
              file is dselect update. Note that this file is mostly useless if
              you don't use dselect but an APT-based frontend: APT has its own
              system to keep track of available packages.

       -A, --record-avail package-file...
              Update  dpkg  and dselect's idea of which packages are available
              with information from the package package-file.  If  --recursive
              Searches for packages that have been installed only partially on
              your  system. dpkg will suggest what to do with them to get them

       --get-selections [package-name-pattern...]
              Get list of package selections, and write it to stdout.  Without
              a  pattern,  non-installed  packages (i.e. those which have been
              previously purged) will not be shown.

              Set package selections using file read  from  stdin.  This  file
              should  be  in the format 'package state', where state is one of
              install, hold, deinstall or purge. Blank lines and comment lines
              beginning with '#' are also permitted.

              The available file needs to be up-to-date for this command to be
              useful, otherwise unknown packages will be ignored with a  warn-
              ing.  See the --update-avail and --merge-avail commands for more

              Set the requested state of every non-essential package to  dein-
              stall.    This   is  intended  to  be  used  immediately  before
              --set-selections, to deinstall any packages not in list given to

              Searches  for  packages selected for installation, but which for
              some reason still haven't been installed.

       --add-architecture architecture
              Add architecture to the list of architectures for which packages
              can  be installed without using --force-architecture. The archi-
              tecture dpkg is built for (i.e. the output of  --print-architec-
              ture) is always part of that list.

       --remove-architecture architecture
              Remove  architecture  from  the  list of architectures for which
              packages can be installed without using --force-architecture. If
              the  architecture  is  currently in use in the database then the
              operation will be refused,  except  if  --force-architecture  is
              specified.  The  architecture dpkg is built for (i.e. the output
              of --print-architecture) can never be removed from that list.

              Print architecture  of  packages  dpkg  installs  (for  example,

              Print  a  newline-separated list of the extra architectures dpkg
              is configured to allow packages to be installed for.

       --compare-versions ver1 op ver2
              Compare version numbers, where op is  a  binary  operator.  dpkg

              Give help about the --force-thing options.

       -Dh, --debug=help
              Give help about debugging options.

              Display dpkg version information.

       dpkg-deb actions
              See  dpkg-deb(1)  for  more  information  about  the   following

              -b, --build directory [archive|directory]
                  Build a deb package.
              -c, --contents archive
                  List contents of a deb package.
              -e, --control filename [directory]
                  Extract control-information from a package.
              -x, --extract archive directory
                  Extract the files contained by package.
              -X, --vextract archive directory
                  Extract and display the filenames contained by a
              -f, --field  archive [control-field...]
                  Display control field(s) of a package.
              --fsys-tarfile archive
                  Display the filesystem tar-file contained by a
                  Debian package.
              -I, --info archive [control-file...]
                  Show information about a package.

       dpkg-query actions
              See  dpkg-query(1)  for  more  information  about  the following

              -l, --list package-name-pattern...
                  List packages matching given pattern.
              -s, --status package-name...
                  Report status of specified package.
              -L, --listfiles package-name...
                  List files installed to your system from package-name.
              -S, --search filename-search-pattern...
                  Search for a filename from installed packages.
              -p, --print-avail package-name...
                  Display details about package-name, as found in
                  /var/lib/dpkg/available. Users of APT-based frontends
                  should use apt-cache show package-name instead.

       All options can be specified both on the command line and in  the  dpkg
       configuration  file  /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg  or  fragment files (with names
              which depended on the removed package.

       -Doctal, --debug=octal
              Switch debugging on. octal is formed by  bitwise-orring  desired
              values  together from the list below (note that these values may
              change in future releases). -Dh or  --debug=help  display  these
              debugging values.

                  Number   Description
                       1   Generally helpful progress information
                       2   Invocation and status of maintainer scripts
                      10   Output for each file processed
                     100   Lots of output for each file processed
                      20   Output for each configuration file
                     200   Lots of output for each configuration file
                      40   Dependencies and conflicts
                     400   Lots of dependencies/conflicts output
                   10000   Trigger activation and processing
                   20000   Lots of output regarding triggers
                   40000   Silly amounts of output regarding triggers
                    1000   Lots of drivel about e.g. the dpkg/info dir
                    2000   Insane amounts of drivel

       --force-things, --no-force-things, --refuse-things

              Force  or refuse (no-force and refuse mean the same thing) to do
              some things. things is a comma separated list of  things  speci-
              fied  below.  --force-help  displays  a message describing them.
              Things marked with (*) are forced by default.

              Warning: These options are mostly intended to be used by experts
              only.  Using  them without fully understanding their effects may
              break your whole system.

              all: Turns on (or off) all force options.

              downgrade(*): Install a package, even if newer version of it  is
              already installed.

              Warning:  At present dpkg does not do any dependency checking on
              downgrades and therefore will not  warn  you  if  the  downgrade
              breaks the dependency of some other package. This can have seri-
              ous side effects, downgrading essential  system  components  can
              even make your whole system unusable. Use with care.

              configure-any:  Configure  also  any  unpacked  but unconfigured
              packages on which the current package depends.

              hold: Process packages even when marked "hold".

              remove-reinstreq: Remove a package,  even  if  it's  broken  and
              marked  to  require reinstallation. This may, for example, cause
              parts of the package to remain on the system, which will then be
              forgotten by dpkg.

              conflicts:  Install,  even if it conflicts with another package.
              This is dangerous, for it will usually cause overwriting of some

              confmiss:  If a conffile is missing and the version in the pack-
              age did change, always  install  the  missing  conffile  without
              prompting.  This  is  dangerous, since it means not preserving a
              change (removing) made to the file.

              confnew: If a conffile has been modified and the version in  the
              package  did  change,  always  install  the  new version without
              prompting, unless the  --force-confdef  is  also  specified,  in
              which case the default action is preferred.

              confold:  If a conffile has been modified and the version in the
              package did change, always keep the old version without  prompt-
              ing, unless the --force-confdef is also specified, in which case
              the default action is preferred.

              confdef: If a conffile has been modified and the version in  the
              package  did  change,  always  choose the default action without
              prompting. If there is no default action it will stop to ask the
              user  unless  --force-confnew  or  --force-confold  is also been
              given, in which case it  will  use  that  to  decide  the  final

              confask: If a conffile has been modified always offer to replace
              it with the version in the package, even if the version  in  the
              package   did   not   change.   If   any   of  --force-confmiss,
              --force-confnew, --force-confold,  or  --force-confdef  is  also
              given, it will be used to decide the final action.

              overwrite: Overwrite one package's file with another's file.

              overwrite-dir  Overwrite  one package's directory with another's

              overwrite-diverted: Overwrite a diverted file with an undiverted

              unsafe-io:  Do  not  perform safe I/O operations when unpacking.
              Currently this implies not performing file system  syncs  before
              file  renames,  which  is known to cause substantial performance
              degradation on some file systems, unfortunately  the  ones  that
              require  the safe I/O on the first place due to their unreliable
              behaviour causing zero-length files on abrupt system crashes.

              Note: For ext4, the main offender, consider  using  instead  the
              mount  option  nodelalloc,  which  will fix both the performance
              degradation and the data safety issues, the latter by making the
              file  system  not  produce  zero-length  files  on abrupt system
              crashes with any software not doing syncs before atomic renames.

              bad-verify:  Install  a  package  even  if it fails authenticity

              Ignore dependency-checking  for  specified  packages  (actually,
              checking  is  performed,  but  only warnings about conflicts are
              given, nothing else).

       --no-act, --dry-run, --simulate
              Do everything which is supposed to be done, but don't write  any
              changes.  This  is used to see what would happen with the speci-
              fied action, without actually modifying anything.

              Be sure to give --no-act before  the  action-parameter,  or  you
              might  end  up  with undesirable results. (e.g. dpkg --purge foo
              --no-act will first purge package foo  and  then  try  to  purge
              package  --no-act, even though you probably expected it to actu-
              ally do nothing)

       -R, --recursive
              Recursively handle all  regular  files  matching  pattern  *.deb
              found  at  specified  directories and all of its subdirectories.
              This can be used with -i, -A, --install,  --unpack  and  --avail

       -G     Don't  install  a package if a newer version of the same package
              is already installed. This is an alias of --refuse-downgrade.

              Change default administrative  directory,  which  contains  many
              files  that  give information about status of installed or unin-
              stalled packages, etc.  (Defaults to /var/lib/dpkg)

              Change default installation directory which refers to the direc-
              tory  where  packages  are  to be installed. instdir is also the
              directory passed to chroot(2) before running package's installa-
              tion scripts, which means that the scripts see instdir as a root
              directory.  (Defaults to /)

              Changing  root  changes  instdir  to   dir   and   admindir   to

       -O, --selected-only
              Only  process  the  packages that are selected for installation.
              The actual marking is done with dselect or by dpkg, when it han-
              dles  packages.  For example, when a package is removed, it will
              be marked selected for deinstallation.

       -E, --skip-same-version
              Don't install the package if the same version of the package  is
              times than expected.

              Set  glob-pattern  as  a path filter, either by excluding or re-
              including previously excluded paths matching the specified  pat-
              terns during install.

              Warning:  take into account that depending on the excluded paths
              you might completely break your system, use with caution.

              The glob patterns use the same wildcards used in the shell, were
              '*'  matches  any  sequence  of  characters, including the empty
              string  and  also  '/'.  For  example,  '/usr/*/READ*'   matches
              '/usr/share/doc/package/README'.  As usual, '?' matches any sin-
              gle character (again, including '/'). And '[' starts a character
              class,  which  can contain a list of characters, ranges and com-
              plementations. See glob(7) for detailed information about  glob-
              bing.  Note:  the  current  implementation might re-include more
              directories and symlinks than needed, to be on the safe side and
              avoid possible unpack failures, future work might fix this.

              This  can  be  used  to  remove all paths except some particular
              ones; a typical case is:


              to remove all documentation files except the copyright files.

              These two options can be specified multiple  times,  and  inter-
              leaved  with  each other. Both are processed in the given order,
              with the last rule that matches a file name making the decision.

       --verify-format format-name
              Sets the output format for the --verify command.

              The only currently supported output format is  rpm,  which  con-
              sists  of a line for every path that failed any check. The lines
              start with 9 characters to report the specific check results,  a
              '?'  implies  the check could not be done (lack of support, file
              permissions,  etc),  '.'   implies  the  check  passed,  and  an
              alphanumeric character implies a specific check failed; the only
              functional check is an md5sum verification denoted with a '5' on
              the  third  character.  The  line  is followed by a space and an
              attribute character (currently 'c' for conffiles), another space
              and the pathname.

       --status-fd n
              Send machine-readable package status and progress information to
              file descriptor n. This option can be specified multiple  times.
              The  information is generally one record per line, in one of the
              following forms:

                     Sent just before a processing stage starts. stage is  one
                     of upgrade, install (both sent before unpacking), config-
                     ure, trigproc, disappear, remove, purge.

              Send machine-readable package status and progress information to
              the shell command's standard input. This option can be specified
              multiple times. The output format used is the same as in  --sta-

              Log  status  change  updates and actions to filename, instead of
              the default /var/log/dpkg.log. If this option is given  multiple
              times,  the  last filename is used. Log messages are of the form
              `YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS status  state  pkg  installed-version'  for
              status   change   updates;   `YYYY-MM-DD   HH:MM:SS  action  pkg
              installed-version available-version' for actions where action is
              one of install, upgrade, remove, purge; and `YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS
              conffile filename decision' for conffile changes where  decision
              is either install or keep.

              Do not try to verify package signatures.

              Do  not  run any triggers in this run (activations will still be
              recorded).  If used with --configure package or  --triggers-only
              package  then  the named package postinst will still be run even
              if only a triggers run is needed. Use of this option  may  leave
              packages  in  the improper triggers-awaited and triggers-pending
              states. This can be fixed later  by  running:  dpkg  --configure

              Cancels a previous --no-triggers.

       HOME   If set, dpkg will use it as the directory from which to read the
              user specific configuration file.

       TMPDIR If set, dpkg will use it as the directory  in  which  to  create
              temporary files and directories.

       PAGER  The program dpkg will execute when displaying the conffiles.

       SHELL  The program dpkg will execute when starting a new shell.

              Sets  the number of columns dpkg should use when displaying for-
              matted text. Currently only used by -l.

              Defined by dpkg on the shell spawned on the conffile  prompt  to
              examine the situation. Current valid value: conffile-prompt.

              Defined by dpkg on the  maintainer  script  environment  to  the
              (non-arch-qualified) package name being handled.

              Defined  by  dpkg  on  the  maintainer script environment to the
              package reference count, i.e. the number  of  package  instances
              with a state greater than not-installed. Since dpkg 1.17.2.

              Defined  by  dpkg  on  the  maintainer script environment to the
              architecture the package got built for.

              Defined by dpkg on the maintainer script environment to the name
              of the script running (preinst, postinst, prerm, postrm).

              Configuration fragment files.

              Configuration file with default options.

              Default log file (see /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg(5) and option --log).

       The  other  files  listed  below  are in their default directories, see
       option --admindir to see how to change locations of these files.

              List of available packages.

              Statuses of available packages. This file  contains  information
              about  whether  a package is marked for removing or not, whether
              it is installed or not, etc. See section INFORMATION ABOUT PACK-
              AGES for more info.

              The  status  file  is backed up daily in /var/backups. It can be
              useful if it's lost or corrupted due to filesystems troubles.

       The following files are components of a binary package. See deb(5)  for
       more information about them:

            less /var/lib/dpkg/available

       To remove an installed elvis package:
            dpkg -r elvis

       To install a package, you first need to find it in an archive or CDROM.
       The available file shows that the vim package is in section "editors":
            cd /media/cdrom/pool/main/v/vim
            dpkg -i vim_4.5-3.deb

       To make a local copy of the package selection states:
            dpkg --get-selections >myselections

       You might transfer this file to  another  computer,  and  after  having
       updated  the available file there with your package manager frontend of
       choice (see https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Dpkg/FAQ for  more  details),
       for example:
            apt-cache dumpavail >"$avail"
            dpkg --merge-avail "$avail"
            rm "$avail"
       you can install it with:
            dpkg --clear-selections
            dpkg --set-selections <myselections

       Note  that  this will not actually install or remove anything, but just
       set the selection state on the requested packages. You will  need  some
       other  application to actually download and install the requested pack-
       ages. For example, run apt-get dselect-upgrade.

       Ordinarily, you will find that dselect(1) provides  a  more  convenient
       way to modify the package selection states.

       Additional functionality can be gained by installing any of the follow-
       ing packages: apt, aptitude and debsums.

       aptitude(1), apt(1), dselect(1), dpkg-deb(1), dpkg-query(1), deb(5),
       deb-control(5), dpkg.cfg(5), and dpkg-reconfigure(8).

       See /usr/share/doc/dpkg/THANKS for the list of people who have
       contributed to dpkg.

Debian Project                    2013-07-28                           dpkg(1)
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