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Debian Software Package Management(dpkg) in Linux

  • Last Updated : 01 Feb, 2021

In Linux, there are a lot of different distributions and each of these distributions has a different package type.  For example .rpm or Red hat Package Manager is used as the package in the Linux distribution. A package is the compressed version of the software. In this article, we will go through the Debian package which is used by Ubuntu. D package or Debian Package is used to install and download the software in Debian based Linux systems. Debian files end with .deb extension.

Working with Debian Packages using dpkg Command

1. Installing a stand-alone package using the Debian package

To install a package -i flag is used. To download a stand-alone package using the Debian package, this command is used:

sudo dpkg -i name_of_package.deb

Example: To download standalone package for the open-source text editor, atom

sudo dpkg -i atom-amd64.deb

Installing a stand-alone package using the Debian package



2. Removing a package using the Debian package

To remove a package -r flag is used 

sudo dpkg -r name_of_package

Example: To remove the package for the text editor “atom”

sudo dpkg -r atom

Note: -P flag helps to remove everything including conf files.

dpkg -P [package-name]
dpkg -P googler_3.3.0-1_all.deb

3. Listing the debian packages

To list all the Debian packages -l flag is used.

dpkg -l

The above line would give the output similar to the one shown below:



To find a particular package use the grep command: 

dpkg -l | grep name_of_package.

The output of this command would look similar to the one shown below:

4. List the dpkg commands available

-help option lists all the available dpkg commands

dpkg –help

Output of this command would look similar to the one shown below:

5. View the content of a particular package

To view the content of the particular package -c flag is used



dpkg -c [name of the package]
dpkg -c flashplugin-nonfree_3.2_i386.deb

Output of this command would look similar to the one shown below:

6. Print architecture of dpkg installs

–print-architecture command prints the architecture of dpkg installs

dpkg --print-architecture

Output could be amd64, i386, etc.

For example, the output produced by the above code is as shown:

7. Unpack a package

–unpack flag helps us unpack the package.

dpkg --unpack [package-name]
dpkg --unpack flashplugin-nonfree_3.2_i386.deb

The output would look as shown below:

The package can be later configured using –configure flag.

dpkg --configure [package-name]
dpkg --configure flashplugin-nonfree

8. Check if the package is installed or not

To check if a particular package is installed or not -s flag is used.

dpkg -s [package-name]
dpkg -s git

The output would look as shown below:

9. Reconfigure the installed package

To reconfigure the already installed package dpkg-reconfigure command is used

dpkg-reconfigure [package-name]

Locate the installed package



The location of the installed package can be found using -L flag.

dpkg -L [package-name]
dpkg -L git

The output would look as shown below:

10. Check for any issue with the installed package

–audit flag would be used to check for the issues with the package.

dpkg --audit

11. Erase information 

–clear-avail – Erases available information about the current packages

dpkg –-clear-avail

12. Display dpkg version

dpkg –version is used to display dpkg version information.

sudo dpkg --version

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