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I am wondering whether there is a command line tool that one can use to download a package from a source (standard Ubuntu or PPA sources)?

I know that packages I just installed are found in /var/cache/apt/archives and I thus can check out the package from there.

However, if I installed the package a long time ago, I don't want to reinstall it, just check a few things in the source package, how can I get easily a hold of it without having to search for it on the Internet?

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You want to download a .deb file of the package? –  Seth Jan 14 at 18:15
    
Yes, just download and not install it. That way I can peruse the package. –  Alexis Wilke Jan 14 at 18:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you know the package name you can use apt to either get the source or the binary:

apt-get download packageName  

Will download the binary to the current directory.

apt-get source packageName  

Will download the source code of packageName to the current directory.

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Ah! I know of the source command, I did not know the download one. I checked the manual page and missed it... –  Alexis Wilke Jan 14 at 18:20
2  
Just a heads up... sometimes the manual can be overwhelming. I simply do a 'apt-get <tab> <tab>' and see all the options. –  Atari911 Jan 14 at 18:24

You can use apt-get install --print-uris package since this also will give you how to download all the dependencies:

apt-get install --print-uris evolution
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  bogofilter bogofilter-bdb bogofilter-common evolution-common
  evolution-plugins libevolution libgsl0ldbl libgtkhtml-4.0-0
  libgtkhtml-4.0-common libgtkhtml-editor-4.0-0 libpst4 libytnef0
Suggested packages:
  db5.1-util doc-base evolution-ews evolution-plugins-experimental
  gsl-ref-psdoc gsl-doc-pdf gsl-doc-info gsl-ref-html
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  bogofilter bogofilter-bdb bogofilter-common evolution evolution-common
  evolution-plugins libevolution libgsl0ldbl libgtkhtml-4.0-0
  libgtkhtml-4.0-common libgtkhtml-editor-4.0-0 libpst4 libytnef0
0 upgraded, 13 newly installed, 0 to remove and 12 not upgraded.
Need to get 12.5 MB of archives.
After this operation, 63.4 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/g/gtkhtml4.0/libgtkhtml-4.0-common_4.6.6-2_all.deb' libgtkhtml-4.0-common_4.6.6-2_all.deb 378210 MD5Sum:d1653f7bb0dd99a3309f5972a1c663a7
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/g/gtkhtml4.0/libgtkhtml-4.0-0_4.6.6-2_i386.deb' libgtkhtml-4.0-0_4.6.6-2_i386.deb 347140 MD5Sum:75b9b5063b2dfac8fb8051e56cf5a912
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/g/gtkhtml4.0/libgtkhtml-editor-4.0-0_4.6.6-2_i386.deb' libgtkhtml-editor-4.0-0_4.6.6-2_i386.deb 137156 MD5Sum:e81f57d363b85437a7dee14c9998544f
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/liby/libytnef/libytnef0_1.5-6_i386.deb' libytnef0_1.5-6_i386.deb 19306 MD5Sum:0abe272e79e68ef1363709e552800d37
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/e/evolution/libevolution_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb' libevolution_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb 2063408 MD5Sum:bbb131799011ba8e043d670088121293
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/e/evolution/evolution-common_3.8.5-2_all.deb' evolution-common_3.8.5-2_all.deb 7621194 MD5Sum:1707c418f80e4e9eb53d16e455a712c9
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/e/evolution/evolution_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb' evolution_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb 238110 MD5Sum:d9aa09c6b460404162e0672ba39093f1
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/libp/libpst/libpst4_0.6.59-1_i386.deb' libpst4_0.6.59-1_i386.deb 83814 MD5Sum:5b9749e3e22ab78331b0baf824071e76
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/b/bogofilter/bogofilter-common_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_all.deb' bogofilter-common_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_all.deb 184480 MD5Sum:fefc9ea5cf24be409cb318130242f2dc
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/g/gsl/libgsl0ldbl_1.16+dfsg-1_i386.deb' libgsl0ldbl_1.16+dfsg-1_i386.deb 986202 MD5Sum:d3bb41a6218035eb062749f7ec905f08
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/b/bogofilter/bogofilter-bdb_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_i386.deb' bogofilter-bdb_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_i386.deb 145226 MD5Sum:c063ba8de7ddc4192c324f04c092783a
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/b/bogofilter/bogofilter_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_all.deb' bogofilter_1.2.4+dfsg1-2_all.deb 1012 MD5Sum:5f1257670b430f96470a361e053d86fb
'http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/e/evolution/evolution-plugins_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb' evolution-plugins_3.8.5-2+b1_i386.deb 260382 MD5Sum:bf4efa25dd9a83d931a078a4c61d1c8e
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The -d option of apt-get only downloads a package.

So you can call apt-get -d install <package>.

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Interesting although in that case it downloads it in the cache. I prefer Seth's answer which downloads the package in the current directory. –  Alexis Wilke Jan 14 at 18:22

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