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  pro-
       cessing  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 for-
              mat 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 packaged.

       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' etc.

       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.

              ples 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     deb-

       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  deb-
              tags 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  pack-
              age  is  co-installable  with itself, but it must not be used to
              satisfy the dependency of any package of a  different  architec-
              ture  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 need a package from a foreign architec-
              ture, but has no effect otherwise.  This  field  should  not  be
              present in packages with the Architecture: all field.

       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/mod-
              ules.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 pack-
              ages 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 oppo-
              site, in a removal, the prerm script of a package is run  before
              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  pack-
              age 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  pack-
       ages 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 fol-
       lowed 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 (sep-
       arated 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 main-
              tenance software will not allow broken packages  to  be  config-
              ured;  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  con-
              taining files with the same names. The package maintenance soft-
              ware will not allow conflicting packages to be installed at  the
              same  time.  Two conflicting packages should each include a Con-
              flicts 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.  Usu-
              ally  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-trans-
              port-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
              Built-Using  relationship  which  cannot be satisfied within the

       # 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).

Debian Project                    2011-08-14                    deb-control(5)
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