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deb-control

debcontrol Debian packages' master control file format


  1. deb-control.5.man


1. deb-control.5.man

Manpage of DEB-CONTROL

DEB-CONTROL

Section: dpkg utilities (5)
Updated: January 2000
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

deb-control - Debian packages' master control file format  

SYNOPSIS

control  

DESCRIPTION

Each Debian package contains the master `control' file, which contains a number of fields. 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 processing the body of the field (except in the case of the Description field, see below).  

REQUIRED FIELDS

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). If both version and revision are supplied, they are seperated by a hyphen, `-'. For this reason, the original version may not have a hyphen in its version number.
Maintainer: <fullname email>
Should be in the format `Joe Bloggs <jbloggs@foo.com>', and is typically the person who created the package, as opposed to the author of the software that was packaged.
Description: <short description>
<long description>
The format for the package description is a short brief summary on the first line (after the "Description" field). The following lines can 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 desription must contain a single '.' following the preceding space.
 

OPTIONAL FIELDS

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. They are used to decide how the packages are layed out in the archive. A list of these can be obtained from the latest version of debian-policy package.

Essential: <yes|no>
This field is usually only needed when the answer is `yes'. It denotes a package that is required for proper operation of the system. Dpkg or any other installation tool will not allow an Essential package to be removed (at least not without using one of the force options).
Architecture: <arch|all>
The architecture specifies which type of hardware this package was compiled for. Common architectures are `i386', `m68k', `sparc', `alpha', `powerpc' etc. Note that the all option is meant for packages that are architecture independent. Some examples of this are shell or Perl scripts, or documentation.
Source: <source name>
The name of the source package that this binary package came from, if different than the name of the package itself.
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 packages listed in its Depends field aren't installed (at least not without using the force options), and will run the postinst scripts of packages listed in Depends: fields before those of the packages which depend on them, and run prerm scripts before.
Pre-Depends: <package list>
List of packages that must be installed and configured before this one can be installed. This is usually used in the case where this package requires another package for running its preinst script.
Recommends: <package list>
Lists packages that would be found together with this one in all but unusual installations. The package maintenance software will warn the user if they install a package without those listed in 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 package 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 packages 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 item is a package name optionally followed 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 (separated 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.

Conflicts: <package list>
Lists packages that conflict with this one, for example by containing files with the same names. The package maintenance software will not allow conflicting packages to be installed at the same time. Two conflicting packages should each include a Conflicts line mentioning the other.
Replaces: <package list>
List of packages from which this package is allowed to replace files. 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. Usuaully this is used in the case of several packages all providing the same service. For example, sendmail and exim can can serve as a mail server, so they provide a common package (`mail-transport-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 Conflicts , Replaces and Provides is a list of package names, separated by commas (and optional whitespace). In the Conflicts field, the comma should be read as `OR'. An optional version can also be given with the same syntax as above for the Conflicts and Replaces fields.  

EXAMPLE

Package: grep
Essential: yes
Priority: required
Section: base
Maintainer: Wichert Akkerman <wakkerma@debian.org>
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.)
 

SEE ALSO

deb(5), dpkg(8), dpkg-deb(1).


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
REQUIRED FIELDS
OPTIONAL FIELDS
EXAMPLE
SEE ALSO

This document was created by man2html using the manual pages.
Time: 17:30:40 GMT, October 23, 2013

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