deb822(5)                         dpkg suite                         deb822(5)

       deb822 - Debian RFC822 control data format

       The  package management system manipulates data represented in a common
       format, known as control data, stored in control files.  Control  files
       are  used  for  source packages, binary packages and the .changes files
       which control the  installation  of  uploaded  files  (dpkg's  internal
       databases are in a similar format).

       A  control  file  consists  of  one  or  more paragraphs of fields (the
       paragraphs are also sometimes referred to as stanzas).  The  paragraphs
       are  separated  by  empty  lines.   Parsers may accept lines consisting
       solely of U+0020 SPACE and U+0009  TAB  as  paragraph  separators,  but
       control  files  should  use empty lines.  Some control files allow only
       one paragraph; others allow  several,  in  which  case  each  paragraph
       usually  refers  to  a  different  package.   (For  example,  in source
       packages, the first paragraph refers to the source package,  and  later
       paragraphs  refer  to  binary packages generated from the source.)  The
       ordering of the paragraphs in control files is significant.

       Each paragraph consists  of  a  series  of  data  fields.   Each  field
       consists  of  the field name followed by a colon (U+003A ':'), and then
       the data/value associated with that field.  The field name is  composed
       of  US-ASCII  characters excluding control characters, space, and colon
       (i.e., characters in the ranges U+0021  '!'  through  U+0039  '9',  and
       U+003B  ';' through U+007E '~', inclusive).  Field names must not begin
       with the comment character (U+0023 '#'), nor with the hyphen  character
       (U+002D '-').

       The  field  ends  at  the  end  of  the  line or at the end of the last
       continuation line (see below).  Horizontal whitespace (U+0020 SPACE and
       U+0009  TAB)  may  occur  immediately  before or after the value and is
       ignored there; it is conventional to  put  a  single  space  after  the
       colon.  For example, a field might be:
              Package: dpkg
       the field name is Package and the field value dpkg.

       Empty  field  values are only permitted in source package control files
       (debian/control).  Such fields are ignored.

       A paragraph must not contain more than one  instance  of  a  particular
       field name.

       There are three types of fields:

       simple The  field, including its value, must be a single line.  Folding
              of the field is not permitted.  This is the default  field  type
              if  the  definition  of  the  field does not specify a different

       folded The value of a folded field is a  logical  line  that  may  span
              several   lines.    The   lines   after  the  first  are  called
              continuation lines and must start  with  a  U+0020  SPACE  or  a
              U+0009   TAB.    Whitespace,  including  any  newlines,  is  not
              significant in the field values of folded fields.

              This folding method is  similar  to  RFC5322,  allowing  control
              files that contain only one paragraph and no multiline fields to
              be read by parsers written for RFC5322.

              The  value  of  a  multiline   field   may   comprise   multiple
              continuation  lines.   The  first line of the value, the part on
              the same line as the field name, often has special  significance
              or  may  have  to be empty.  Other lines are added following the
              same syntax as the continuation  lines  of  the  folded  fields.
              Whitespace,  including newlines, is significant in the values of
              multiline fields.

       Whitespace must not appear inside names  (of  packages,  architectures,
       files  or  anything else) or version numbers, or between the characters
       of multi-character version relationships.

       The presence and purpose of a field, and the syntax of  its  value  may
       differ between types of control files.

       Field  names  are not case-sensitive, but it is usual to capitalize the
       field names using mixed case as shown below.  Field  values  are  case-
       sensitive unless the description of the field says otherwise.

       Paragraph  separators (empty lines) and lines consisting only of U+0020
       SPACE and U+0009 TAB, are not allowed within field  values  or  between
       fields.    Empty   lines   in  field  values  are  usually  escaped  by
       representing them by a U+0020 SPACE followed by a dot (U+002E '.').

       Lines starting with U+0023 '#', without any  preceding  whitespace  are
       comments  lines that are only permitted in source package control files
       (debian/control) and in deb-origin(5) files.  These comment  lines  are
       ignored,  even between two continuation lines.  They do not end logical

       All control files must be encoded in UTF-8.

       RFC822, RFC5322.

1.19.7                            2022-05-25                         deb822(5)
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