I've been wondering, is there a way to tell dpkg or apt-get that when I want to install a package also install all the dependencies it requires? I installed a package using dpkg but it complained about some dependency issues so I had to manually search one by one, is there a better way to do this?

  • 6
    dpkg does not handle dependencies, it's a low level package management tool. Jan 4, 2011 at 17:23

4 Answers 4


apt-get or aptitude will install all the dependencies of a package. According to apt-get man page

All packages required by the package(s) specified for installation will also be retrieved and installed.

Even if you want to install a package from source you can install its build dependencies using apt-get. Use apt-get build-dep for that purpose. Again from apt-get man page:

build-dep causes apt-get to install/remove packages in an attempt to satisfy the build dependencies for a source package.

For example if you want to compile gcc you will need all the build dependencies for successfully compiling gcc. So you use sudo apt-get build-dep gcc. This will install all the packages required to build gcc from source.


Dependencies should be installed by default with apt-get. You might also want to read the answers for this question: Installing suggested/recommended packages?.

  • And if it doesn't?! I run this command: "apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop, And it says The foloowing packages have unmet dependencies: checkbox-qt, eog,gedit,....... too many packages.
    – Dr.jacky
    Sep 30, 2015 at 5:32

If after using dpkg to install a package it tells you that there are missing dependencies, you can run apt-get -f install to install any missing dependencies on your system.


If you're looking for a tool that will install a downloaded (ie. non-repository based) package including dependencies, look at gdebi (the GTK UI) or gedebi-core (the command line tool).

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