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Unix in a Nutshell, 4th Edition by Arnold Robbins

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The Debian Package Manager

Debian GNU/Linux provides several package management tools, primarily intended to facilitate the building, installation, and management of binary packages. In addition to Debian GNU/Linux, the tools described here also work on other Debian-based systems such as Xandros, Knoppix, Ubuntu, and numerous others.

Debian package names generally end in .deb. The Debian package management tools described here include apt, aptitude, dpkg, dpkg-deb, dselect, and synaptic.

Each of these tools is described in detail in the section "Debian Package Manager Command Summary," later in this chapter.

Files

Some important files used by the Debian package management tools are described briefly here:

control

Comes with each package. Documents dependencies; contains the name and version of the package, a description, maintainer, installed size, the package priority, etc.

conffiles

Comes with each package. Contains a list of the configuration files associated with the package.

preinst, postinst, prerm, postrm

Scripts that developers can include in a package to be run before installation, after installation, before removal, or after removal of the package.

/var/lib/dpkg/available

Contains information about packages available on the system.

/var/lib/dpkg/status

Contains information about the status of packages available on the system.

/etc/apt/sources.list

A list for APT of package sources, used to locate packages. The sources are listed one per line, in order of preference.

/etc/apt/apt.conf ...

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