Can I know what is the command to search any package using the terminal, if I only know the name of the Software like, if I want to search VLC or JDK,JRE.. etc

If I do not know what is the url where I get them to download I might search them through the internet, but downloading them and extracting them and then installing becomes a lengthy procedure.

So I wanted to know is there any command to search the package via their names or part of names?


As Nick already pointed out, apt-cache search QUERY should list packages containing specific string in their names.

Another useful tool is apt-file. apt-file search QUERY will print list of packages containing files with QUERY in their names. In some cases you know the name of a binary needed (like when you are reading a tutorial and need some command not installed in your OS) but do not know what package it comes with.

Also, dpkg -S QUERY lists installed packages which provide files containing 'QUERY' in their names. In some cases you have a binary or script installed on one machine and want it also on another one, but do not remember where it came from. The output should be smaller than for apt-file in this case, as it does not display content of packages not installed.

You may filter output of those commands with egrep, say with egrep '/NAME$'.

e.g. dpkg -S ps | egrep '/bin/ps$' tells us that ps binary comes with procps package.

  • can the search command have any modifications or extensions so that it can search any of the updates or patches that the package has undergone – Shadab K Aug 24 '13 at 15:17

In the command line you can use

apt-cache search SearchTerm

Of course you have to change "SearchTerm" to the piece of text you already know. But there is also a webinterface for searching packages under Ubuntu packages. I think the search function of the Ubuntu Software Center may be helpful.

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