tbl-dctrl(1) Debian administrator's manual tbl-dctrl(1)
tbl-dctrl - generate tabular representations of data in dctrl format
tbl-dctrl [ options ] [ -c column-specification ... ] [ filename ] ...
tbl-dctrl creates tabular representations of data given to it in Debian
control file format.
By default, tbl-dctrl reads the whole database, looking for the longest
entry in each requested column; it then outputs a table, with borders
and column titles, where each column is just wide enough to fit the
longest entry. Most of this behaviour can be customized as described
A column is requested by specifying the -c (--column) switch with a
column specification. The simplest kind of a column specification con-
sists solely of the name of a field. In such a case, tbl-dctrl will
include in the output a column whose title is the literal column speci-
fication and whose data is drawn from fields with that name. If no -c
options are given, tbl-dctrl will use all fields in the input in the
order in which they first appear.
There are two optional additions one can make to a column specifica-
tion. Prefixing the field name with some text followed by an equality
sign (for example, -c 'Package name=Package') modifies the column in
such a way that the text before the equality sign is used as the column
title, while the text after the equality sign is used as the name of
the field from which data is drawn. One can also append a colon fol-
lowed by a positive whole number to the field name. In such a case,
the number after the colon specifies the width of the column. These
two additions can be used separately or together. If there are more
than one colon, the last one is significant. If there are more than
one equals sign, the first one is significant. Other colons and equals
signs are used simply as data. Note that the whole column specifica-
tion must be given to tbl-dctrl as one argument, so if it contains spa-
ces, it must be quoted for the shell.
If all requested columns have a specified width, tbl-dctrl will produce
output immediately, not waiting for the whole input to be read in.
-d delimiter, --delimiter=delimiter
Instead of drawing nice borders to the table, use the specified
delimiter string to delimit columns in a row.
Do not print a table heading (column titles).
-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 important.
Print out version information.
Print out the copyright license. This produces much output; be
sure to redirect or pipe it somewhere (such as your favourite
Print out a help summary.
tbl-dctrl will read its input from the files named on the command line,
in the specified order. A file called - represents the program's stan-
dard input stream. If no files are named, the program behaves as if -
alone had been named, that is, input is read from the standard input
The standard input stream may be used as input as specified above in
the OPERANDS section.
All input to tbl-dctrl is in the format of a Debian control file.
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 con-
tent. 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 con-
trast, always start with linear whitespace (one or more space or tab
When input is read from multiple files, a record separator is implicit
between two adjacent files.
The standard locale environment, specifically its character set set-
ting, affects the interpretation of input and output as character
Standard UNIX signals have their usual meaning.
All output is sent to the standard output stream. The output is a tab-
ular representation of the input database restricted to the specified
fields. Logically, the output is a table; when the -d option is used,
this table is represented simply by separating columns in each row by
the specified delimiter; when the option is not used, a frame is drawn
around the table. The order of the columns is the same as the order of
the column specifications on the command line.
There are no output files.
This utility exits with 0 when successful. It uses a nonzero exit code
inconsistently when an error is noticed (this is a bug).
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
In case of errors in the input, the output will be partially or com-
pletely garbage. In case of errors in invocation, the program will
refuse to function.
The following command line pipe outputs a table of all packages, with
their maintainer data, sorted by the maintainer data, that have no con-
% grep-available -FInstalled-Size --eq 0 | sort-dctrl -kMaintainer - \
| tbl-dctrl -cPackage -cMaintainer
The tbl-dctrl program and this manual page were written by Antti-Juhani
apt-cache(1), ara(1), dpkg-awk(1), dpkg-query(1), grep-dctrl(1),
Debian Project 2006-04-02 tbl-dctrl(1)
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