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Is it safe to copy the package index files (which get updated when I run apt-get update) from one computer to another identical one? Basically, I've run apt-get update on one of them, and I don't want to have to run it again from the other computer because I have slow and limited internet. I've copied the packages in /var/cache/apt/archives from one system to another before, and it worked just fine; no download was necessary. I'd like to not have to update the package indexes as well.

I believe the index files are at /var/lib/apt/lists/

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Um, no, that's not really a safe thing to do. What I have done in the past is run the following on a "master" computer that has everything installed:

dpkg --get-selections > installed-software

Then ship the installed-software file around on a USB key or somesuch, running the following on each "slave" computer I want the same set of software on:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < installed-software
sudo dselect install

Hope this helps!

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If you want only the installed software of the source system the best way to do this is using:

dpkg --get-selections | grep -v -E 'deinstall|hold' > installed-packages

Then in the target system run:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < installed-packages
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade

This way you get sure that the target system don't get some packages uninstalled/holded.

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