dpkg-deb - Debian package archive (.deb) manipulation tool .


dpkg-deb [ options ] command.


dpkg-deb packs, unpacks and provides information about Debian archives.


dpkg to install and remove packages from your system.

You can also invoke

dpkg-deb by calling

dpkg with whatever options you want to pass to

R dpkg-deb will spot that you wanted

dpkg-deb and run it for you. .


R -b

    Creates a debian archive from the filesystem tree stored in directory ". " directory must have a

DEBIAN subdirectory, which contains the control information files such as the control file itself. This directory will notappear in the binary package's filesystem archive, but instead the files in it will be put in the binary package's control information area. Unless you specify

R --nocheck will read

DEBIAN/control and parse it. It will check it for syntax errors and other problems, and display the name of the binary package being built.

dpkg-deb will also check the permissions of the maintainer scripts and other files found in the

DEBIAN control information directory. If no archiveis specified then

dpkg-deb will write the package into the file directory .deb. If the archive to be created already exists it will be overwritten. If the second argument is a directory then

dpkg-deb will write to the file .IB package _ version _ arch .deb\fR, or .IB package _ version .deb if no

Architecture field is present in the package control file. When a target directory is specified, rather than a file, the

--nocheck option may not be used (since

dpkg-deb needs to read and parse the package control file to determine which filename to use).

R -I

    Provides information about a binary package archive. If no control-file-name s are specified then it will print a summary of the contents of the package as well as its control file. If any control-file-name s are specified then

dpkg-deb will print them in the order they were specified; if any of the components weren't present it will print an error message to stderr about each one and exit with status 2.

R -W

    Provides information about a binary package archive in the format specified by the

--showformat argument. The default format displays the package's name and version on one line, separated by a tabulator.

R -f

    Extracts control file information from a binary package archive. If no

R control-file-field s are specified then it will print the whole control file. If any are specified then

dpkg-deb will print their contents, in the order in which they appear in the control file. If more than one

R control-file-field is specified then

dpkg-deb will precede each with its field name (and a colon and space). No errors are reported for fields requested but not found.

R -c

    Lists the contents of the filesystem tree archive portion of the package archive. It is currently produced in the format generated by

R tar 's verbose listing.

R -x

    Extracts the filesystem tree from a package archive into the specified directory. Note that extracting a package to the root directory will notresult in a correct installation! Use

dpkg to install packages. directory(but not its parents) will be created if necessary, and its permissions modified to match the contents of the package.

R -X

    Is like

R --extract but prints a listing of the files extracted as it goes.

R --fsys-tarfile

    Extracts the filesystem tree data from a binary package and sends it to standard output in

tar format. Together with

R tar (1) this can be used to extract a particular file from a package archive.

R -e

    Extracts the control information files from a package archive into the specified directory. If no directory is specified then a subdirectory

DEBIAN in the current directory is used. The target directory (but not its parents) will be created if necessary.

R -h

    Show the usage message and exit.

R --version

    Show the version and exit. .


  • --showformat=format
        This option is used to specify the format of the output --show will produce. The format is a string that will be output for each package listed. The string may reference any status field using the "${field-name}" form, a list of the valid fields can be easily produced using

-I on the same package. A complete explanation of the formatting options (including escape sequences and field tabbing) can be found in the explanation of the --showformat option in

R dpkg-query (1). The default for this field is "${Package}\\t${Version}\\n".

  • -z compress_level
        Specify which compression level to pass to the compressor backend program, when building a package.
  • -Z compress_type
        Specify which compression type to use when building a package. Allowed values are gzip, xz, bzip2, lzma, and none (default is gzip).

R --new

    Ensures that

dpkg-deb builds a `new' format archive. This is the default.

R --old


dpkg-deb to build an `old' format archive. This old archive format is less easily parsed by non-Debian tools and is now obsolete; its only use is when building packages to be parsed by versions of dpkg older than 0.93.76 (September 1995), which was released as i386 a.out only.

R --nocheck


R usual checks on the proposed contents of an archive. You can build any archive you want, no matter how broken, this way.

R -D

    Enables debugging output. This is not very interesting. .



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


dpkg-deb -I .IB package1 .deb .IB package2 .deb does the wrong thing. There is no authentication on

.deb files; in fact, there isn't even a straightforward checksum. (Higher level tools like APT support authenticating .deb packages retrieved from a given repository, and most packages nowadays provide an md5sum control file generated by debian/rules. Though this is not directly supported by the lower level tools.) Do not attempt to use just

dpkg-deb to install software! You must use

dpkg proper to ensure that all the files are correctly placed and the package's scripts run and its status and contents recorded. .


R deb (5),

R deb-control (5),

R dpkg (1),

R dselect (1). .


Copyright © 1995-1996 Ian Jackson

This is free software; see the GNU General Public Licence version 2 or later for copying conditions. There is NO WARRANTY.