Introduction to dpkg , apt-get and .deb

So, you're reading this because you want to know how to use Debian's awesome package management tool!

apt configuration is located at: /etc/apt/

The most important file, is the /etc/apt/sources.list file. This tells apt where to grab it's packages, and what version you'd like to use (stable, unstable, or testing). Our sources.lst looks like this:

charlie:/boot# cat /etc/apt/sources.list#deb file:///cdrom/ sarge main

deb http://debian.lcs.mit.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

deb-src http://debian.lcs.mit.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

deb http://lug.mtu.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

deb-src http://lug.mtu.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

deb http://lyre.mit.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

deb-src http://lyre.mit.edu/debian/ unstable main contrib

charlie:/boot#
We don't need to have the sources, but it's nice to have sometimes.

Q: How do I perform a system update? A: apt-get update; apt-get upgrade

Q: How do I find out if a package is installed and what version? A:

charlie:/boot# dpkg --list ejabberd

Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold| Status=Not/Installed/Config-files/Unpacked/Failed-config/Half-installed|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)||/ Name                              Version                           Description+++-=================================-=================================-==================================================================================

ii  ejabberd                          1.0.0-2                           Distributed, fault-tolerant Jabber/XMPP server written in Erlang

charlie:/boot# dpkg --list asterisk

No packages found matching asterisk.

charlie:/boot#
Q: How do I remove a package? A:
dpkg --remove packagename (ex: dpkg --remove less)

Q: How do I remove configuration files? A:

dpkg --purge less

Dpkg Summary:


That's a brief summery of working with packages on Debian systems, to recap we've seen:

* apt-get update o Update the list of available packages on your system * apt-get install 'name of package' o Install the given package, and any required dependencies * apt-get upgrade o Update all the packages on your system for which there is a newer version available * dpkg --list 'name of package' o Show the state of the package given * dpkg --remove 'name of package' o Remove the package named. * dpkg --purge 'name of package' o Remove the given package and remove all configuration files, etc.

apt-get upgrade upgrades what you have on the system already but doesn't introduce new packages unless absolutely necessary.

apt-get dist-upgrade upgrades everything on your system and resolves any new dependancies as well, thus introducing more new stuff tou your system.

An Example of Broken DPKG: I had this problem: Linksys NSLU2 update-modules problems

I then purged the update-modules package, it turns out its not a very important package, even though a bunch of kernel modules say that they depend on it.