Once upon a time, if I wanted to know what a particular (uninstalled) packages was for, I could go
apt-cache show <package>
and it would produce a slew of information, including a good couple of paragraphs describing the package.
This has changed recently. Now the "Description" field is only ever one line.
On an older, system, It goes:
mslade@natty1:~$ apt-cache show apt [snip] Description: Advanced front-end for dpkg This is Debian's next generation front-end for the dpkg package manager. It provides the apt-get utility and APT dselect method that provides a simpler, safer way to install and upgrade packages. . APT features complete installation ordering, multiple source capability and several other unique features, see the Users Guide in apt-doc.
mslade@mickpc:~$ apt-cache show apt [snip] Description: commandline package manager
The long descriptions are still in the package files, and you can query them with
dpkg -s if you've already installed them, but this isn't helpful if you just want to know more about some package that was mentioned on some web site.
I have searched everywhere for some source for these descriptions. The best I have some up with so far is, download the .deb file and run
dpkg-deb -I on it. This is really overkill if all you want is the metadata.
Is there a better way?
Update: I just installed a new pangolin VM and noticed its
apt-cache show gave long descriptions, until i fudged
/etc/apt/sources.list to use my own mirror, produced with debmirror. I suspect debmirror is the culprit.