I would like to see a diff. of my Ubuntu system - including all new directories, files, and file changes - comparing the state before vs. after an application installation. How would I do that? Thanks.

2 Answers 2


Check these and you may find what your looking for:


But aptitude logging is notoriously inadequate.

  • 1
    This fails to account for the effects of preinst, postinst, and configure scripts. If it's a one-off job, inspect those scripts to see what they do; for a more systematic approach, perhaps hack dpkg to strace them? (Maybe it has already been done.)
    – tripleee
    Oct 10, 2011 at 15:21
  • I would like something that is decoupled from any package management tool so that I can see changes after installing software from source. Thanks.
    – nbsp
    Oct 10, 2011 at 15:23
  • That would be completely dependant on the source you are installing then, and if that source even creates a log file. Linux does not track these things (by default) like say windows event viewer does. You can have custom logging packages but thats up to the user to install. /var/log holds a lot of good info too, check out /var/log/messages or /var/log/dmesg.
    – chown
    Oct 10, 2011 at 15:27

Isn't that what tripwire does?

  • Does anyone have any experience using Tripwire thus?
    – millocracy
    Oct 11, 2011 at 17:55

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