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As I understand it, rdepends lists packages which depend on the specified package.


$ apt-cache rdepends abiword
Reverse Depends:

In this output, what does | mean?

As per this question, it means 'or' in apt-cache depends, however that doesn't seem relevant here (package1 or package2 depending on abiword is impossible).

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I had been assuming it meant the package was already installed. It does not. – Oli Jan 17 '14 at 11:08
up vote 9 down vote accepted

In the example you give, the pipe | means that, for python-carquinyol-0.96 or freemind-doc, abiword is not the only package that satisfies the dependencies.

For example, if you installed freemind-doc, abiword or something else will do. Running apt-cache show freemind-doc you can see:

Recommends: evince | | abiword | kword | pdf-viewer

which means that installing any of these packages is sufficient.

Compare that to the package xubuntu-desktop, shown without a |:

Recommends: abiword, abiword-plugin-grammar, ...

Here there are no alternatives to abiword; if you want all the recommended packages installed, you must install abiword.

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Better answer than mine so +1 :) – Rinzwind Jan 17 '14 at 11:22

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