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I'm developing the script that downloads all the packages from Ubuntu repository. I know that Ubuntu repository is open via HTTP. So it's possible to download the entire folders (in my particular case http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/trusty*). But I would like to download the packages via apt. apt is good choice because it not only downloads the packages but verifies signatures as well.

The steps are the following:

  1. Get names of all the packages via apt-cache pkgnames
  2. For each name discovered at the previous step execute apt-get download <package_name>

It sounds good. But virtual packages are the trap.

I'm aware that virtual package is not a package, e.g. not a deb-file. It's logical group of normal packages or synonym for the certain normal package (so the commands like apt-cache show mail-transport-agent will fail). I suppose that virtual package is actually represented in repository as a file. Such file contains metadata about normal packages the virtual package stands for.

Is it possible to download virtual package metadata file via apt? Where is virtual package metadata located in general?

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