How can I check dependency list for a deb package. I am running Ubuntu 11.10 and I have backed up all deb packages from var/cache/apt/archives. I want to format my pc and re-install selected applications only. Also how can I get the list of installed packages and dependencies.

  • For your second question see askubuntu.com/questions/17823/… – htorque Nov 19 '11 at 9:15
  • For the complete list of installed packages use dpkg --get-selections | sed -n 's/[[:space:]]install$//p' – Tino May 3 '17 at 16:08

In addition to the dpkg method, you can check the dependencies of packages in the repository:

apt-cache depends package-name

EDIT Updated with @Tino's recommendation. @Tigran's comment no longer applies.

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    Note: this only works if the package is already installed. – Tigran Saluev Sep 9 '16 at 9:04
  • @TigranSaluev Note that dpkg -I package only works for installed packages. apt-cache works for all packages which are known after you have done apt-get update. – Tino May 3 '17 at 12:07
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    apt-cache depends package is a better way, in that case, as showpkg does not tell if a dependency is a recommend, conflict etc., so it is a bit puzzling. For a script which does depends combined with showpkg see unix.stackexchange.com/a/362866/23450 – Tino May 3 '17 at 16:08

This will show you all the information about the package:

dpkg -I package.deb
  • That no longer works on Ubuntu 14.04: dpkg -I splunkforwarder-6.3.3-f44afce176d0-linux-2.6-amd64.deb new debian package, version 2.0. size 15881308 bytes: control archive=3104 bytes. 153 bytes, 5 lines control 6058 bytes, 207 lines * postinst #!/bin/bash 2912 bytes, 93 lines * preinst #!/bin/bash Package: splunkforwarder Version: 6.3.3 Maintainer: Splunk Inc. <info@splunk.com> Architecture: amd64 Description: Splunk The platform for machine data. – Craig S. Anderson Mar 8 '16 at 22:08
  • @CraigS.Anderson Running 14.04 here and it works just perfect in my case. Should be the accepted answer IMHO. – magic_al Sep 20 '16 at 9:44
  • Don't forget to put /var/cache/apt/archives/ before the package name and use tab completion to find the full package name with version, e.g. dpkg -I /var/cache/apt/archives/elasticsearch_2.4.4_all.deb. – Jason R. Coombs Jan 12 '17 at 16:58
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    I don't see any dependency information – Nick Jun 21 '17 at 17:45
  • You could add that the package can be obtained without (re)installing it (which is probably a popular use case) with sudo apt-get install --reinstall --download-only [package name]. – Karl Richter Jul 22 '18 at 2:35

apt-cache depends [Package-Name] will work as well. Although if you source the .deb package from outside your sources list, things like apt-cache showpkg [Package-Name] && apt-cache depends [Package-Name] might show outdated info or might not sync with the actual installed package hence dpkg -I [Package-Name] would work best in that case.


For 14.04 and later:

dpkg doesn't have the -I any more and you have to use dpkg-deb to show package information including dependencies:

dpkg-deb -I package.deb
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    Hi Fabby, dpkg has no -I option currently. Tested on Ubuntu 12.04 and 16.04. You have to use dpkg-deb instead. – Rup Narayan Apr 28 at 7:36
  • Comment retracted; answer clarified and upvoted – Fabby Apr 28 at 8:17

Here is some sloppy, and probably not very encompassing post-processing you can do to dpkg -I output to get dependency items as a list:

Condensed for computers

# dpkg -I package.deb | python -c "import sys, re; t=re.split(r'\n(?= ?[\w]+:)|:', sys.stdin.read()); print '\n'.join([i.strip() for i in {key.strip(): value.strip() for key, value in zip(t[::2], t[1::2])}['Depends'].split(',')])"

Expanded for humans:

dpkg -I package.deb | python -c "
    import sys, re;
    # Split keys and values into pairs (zipped together later)
        r'\n(?= ?[\w]+:)|:', 
    # Newline separate each dependency
    print '\n'.join([
        # Trim each dependency value
        i.strip() for i in {
            # Build assoc array from package metadata
            key.strip(): value.strip() 
            for key, value in zip(t[::2], t[1::2])
  • This will echo the packages which depend on 'foo.deb' and have yet to be installed: dpkg -I foo.deb | for i in $(awk -F', ' '/Depends: /{gsub(/: /, ", "); for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) { gsub(/ .*$/, "", $(i)); printf("%s\n", $(i)); } }'); do dpkg -s $i &> /dev/null || echo $i; done | tr '\n' ' ' – Gregory Burd Sep 17 '15 at 14:48
  • @GregoryBurd, Feel free to edit my answer/psot all you like, I posted it as community wiki for this reason ^u^ – ThorSummoner Sep 17 '15 at 16:35
  • When I run this command on elasticsearch, it emits libc6\nadduser\n Installed-Size\n. That is, it seems to be matching more than just the Depends line. – Jason R. Coombs Jan 12 '17 at 17:01

For a specific package version:

apt-cache show <package_name>=<version>

To find available versions: How can I check the available version of a package in the repositories?

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