I am using Ubuntu 12.04 . I want to know how can we find out about a Package installation origin . I mean is it installed with apt-get or aptitude or externally or installed with Ubuntu . Is there any way ?


3 Answers 3


You could look in /var/log/apt/history.log, though you'd need to possibly check the archives as well.

It appears that synaptic and apt-get give the method

Start-Date: 2012-07-17  11:47:00
**Commandline: apt-get install** unetbootin
Install: unetbootin-translations:amd64 (575-1, automatic), extlinux:amd64 (4.05+dfsg-6, automatic), syslinux-themes-debian:amd64 (11-1, automatic), syslinux-themes-debian-wheezy:amd64 (11-1, automatic), unetbootin:amd64 (575-1), p7zip-full:amd64 (9.20.1~dfsg.1-4, automatic)
End-Date: 2012-07-17  11:47:18

Start-Date: 2012-07-17  11:57:51
**Commandline: /usr/sbin/synaptic**
Install: libunity-protocol-private0:amd64 (5.92.0-0ubuntu1, automatic)
Upgrade: libunity9:amd64 (5.12.0-0ubuntu2, 5.92.0-0ubuntu1), gir1.2-unity-5.0:amd64 (5.12.0-0ubuntu2, 5.92.0-0ubuntu1)
End-Date: 2012-07-17  11:58:09

Aptitude appears though to not show how

Start-Date: 2012-07-17  15:11:45
Install: 2ping:amd64 (2.0-1)
End-Date: 2012-07-17  15:11:53

Ubuntu stores all of its packages in locations called software channels or repositories. A software channel is simply a location which holds packages of similar types, which can be downloaded and installed using a package manager. A package manager will store an index of all of the packages available from a software channel. Sometimes it will 're-build' this index to make sure that it is up to date and knows which packages have been upgraded or added into the channel since it last checked.

There are four Ubuntu software channels for each architecture - Main, Restricted, Universe and Multiverse. Each has a different purpose. In addition to the official Ubuntu repositories, it is possible to use third party repositories.Eg Personal Package Archive (PPA) https://help.ubuntu.com/community/InstallingSoftware

If you wan to know more about a package you could run this command from the terminal

dpkg -s <package>


dpkg -s firefox

That will return information about the firefox version installed


apt-cache showpkg <package> will show you a list of versions available.

  • apt-cache policy <package> will tell you which repository it's available from.
    – tumbleweed
    Jul 23, 2012 at 20:22

$ egrep Origin /var/lib/apt/lists/*Release

  • 2
    Could you please elaborate more on your answer? For example to explain what the given command does? This way the answer will be more complete for future reference to similar problems.
    – Stef K
    Apr 28, 2014 at 8:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .