APT-PATTERNS(7) APT APT-PATTERNS(7)
apt-patterns - Syntax and semantics of apt search patterns
Starting with version 2.0, APT provides support for patterns, which can
be used to query the apt cache for packages.
These patterns provide the basic means to combine other patterns into
more complex expressions, as well as ?true and ?false patterns.
?and(PATTERN, PATTERN, ...), PATTERN PATTERN ...
Selects objects where all specified patterns match.
Selects objects where PATTERN does not match.
?or(PATTERN, PATTERN, ...), PATTERN | PATTERN | ...
Selects objects where at least one of the specified patterns match.
Selects all objects.
Selects the same as PATTERN, can be used to work around precedence,
for example, (~ramd64|~ri386)~nfoo
Selects packages where all versions match PATTERN. When matching
versions instead, same as PATTERN.
Selects any version where the pattern matches on the version.
For example, while ?and(?version(1),?version(2)) matches a package
which has one version containing 1 and one version containing 2,
?any-version(?and(?version(1),?version(2))) restricts the ?and to
act on the same version.
Selects any version matching all PATTERNs, short for
These patterns select specific packages.
Selects packages matching the specified architecture, which may
contain wildcards using any.
Selects packages that were installed automatically.
Selects packages that have broken dependencies.
Selects packages that are not fully installed, but have solely
residual configuration files left.
Selects packages that have Essential: yes set in their control
Selects packages with the exact specified name.
Selects packages that can be removed automatically.
Selects packages that are currently installed.
Selects packages where the name matches the given regular
Selects packages that no longer exist in repositories.
Selects packages that can be upgraded (have a newer candidate).
Selects all virtual packages; that is packages without a version.
These exist when they are referenced somewhere in the archive, for
example because something depends on that name.
These patterns select specific versions of a package.
Selects versions that come from the archive that matches the
specified regular expression. Archive, here, means the values after
a= in apt-cache policy.
Selects versions that come from the origin that matches the
specified regular expression. Origin, here, means the values after
o= in apt-cache policy.
Selects versions where the section matches the specified regular
Selects versions where the source package name matches the
specified regular expression.
Selects versions where the source package version matches the
specified regular expression.
Selects versions where the version string matches the specified
apt remove ?garbage
Remove all packages that are automatically installed and no longer
needed - same as apt autoremove
apt purge ?config-files
Purge all packages that only have configuration files left
apt list '~i !~M (~slibs|~sperl|~spython)'
List all manually-installed packages in sections matching libs,
perl, or python.
MIGRATING FROM APTITUDE
Patterns in apt are heavily inspired by patterns in aptitude, but with
o Syntax is uniform: If there is an opening parenthesis after a term,
it is always assumed to be the beginning of an argument list.
In aptitude, a syntactic form "?foo(bar)" could mean
"?and(?foo,bar)" if foo does not take an argument. In APT, this
will cause an error.
o Not all patterns are supported.
o Some additional patterns are available, for example, for finding
o Escaping terms with ~ is not supported.
o A trailing comma is allowed in argument lists
o ?narrow accepts infinite arguments
o foo cannot be used as a shortform for ?name(foo), as this can cause
typos to go unnoticed: Consider ?and(...,~poptional): this requires
the package to have required priority, but if you do not type the
~, it would require the package name to contain poptional.
o Grouping patterns with (...) or writing ?or(A,B) as A|B are not
supported. We do not believe that the use of | is that common, and
the grouping is not necessary without it.
APT bug page. If you wish to report a bug in APT, please see
/usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1) command.
APT was written by the APT team <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
1. APT bug page
APT 2.0.9 04 February 2020 APT-PATTERNS(7)
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