Is there a method or command which can tell from which repository a package is coming from?

  • 1
    This is ambiguous. Do you mean: which currently enabled repositories provide a package with the given name, or: which repository was used to install the package with that name that is currently installed? (Both are useful. I'm looking for the latter, not the former.) – Reinier Post May 25 '17 at 16:59
up vote 84 down vote accepted

Commands Needed:

  • dpkg -s <package> - allows you to find the version of that you have installed. (source)
  • apt-cache showpkg <package> - will show a list of Versions of the package available. For each version, the source of the package, in the form of an index file name, will be given.

If you want to find the source of the package that's currently installed, you'll need the output of dpkg -s <package>. Otherwise, you can simply look at the newest version output by apt-cache showpkg <package>.


$ dpkg -s liferea
Package: liferea
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: web
Installed-Size: 760
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <>
Architecture: i386
Version: 1.6.2-1ubuntu6

$ apt-cache showpkg liferea
Package: liferea
1.6.2-1ubuntu6.1 (/var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_lucid-updates_main_binary-i386_Packages)
 Description Language: 
                 File: /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_lucid-updates_main_binary-i386_Packages
                  MD5: 557b0b803b7ed864e6d14df4b02e3d26

1.6.2-1ubuntu6 (/var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_lucid_main_binary-i386_Packages) (/var/lib/dpkg/status)
 Description Language: 
                 File: /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_lucid_main_binary-i386_Packages
                  MD5: 557b0b803b7ed864e6d14df4b02e3d26

From the first command, I can see that Liferea version 1.6.2-1ubuntu6 is installed. From the second command, I can see that that version is listed in /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_lucid_main_binary-i386_Packages.

Without too much effort, I can deduce that the source line contains, ubuntu, lucid, and main.

And, sure enough, my /etc/apt/sources.list contains the following line.

deb lucid main universe restricted multiverse
  • mac, thanks for your detailed answer! Unfortunately it doesn't help me with my initial issue of an unmet dependency problem :-( I'm trying to install libqt4-opengl and it says: The following packages have unmet dependencies: libqt4-opengl: Depends: libqtcore4 (= 4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1) but 4:4.7.0~beta1+git20100522-0ubuntu1~lucid1~ppa1+appmenu20100624 is to be installed Depends: libqtgui4 (= 4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1) but 4:4.7.0~beta1+git20100522-0ubuntu1~lucid1~ppa1+appmenu20100624 is to be installed – dfme Oct 20 '10 at 22:23
  • It's difficult to see from that just what the problem is. You should open a new question so you can provide full details. If you do, leave a link in a comment. :-) – mac9416 Oct 21 '10 at 13:10
  • 4
    apt-cache policy <package name> (from: – franzlorenzon Aug 1 '13 at 14:47
  • Do apt-cache {showpkg,policy} actually show where an installed package was installed from, or just where it would be installed from at the time it is queried? – Croad Langshan Feb 21 '15 at 11:36
  • 1
    The latter. If I generally use Ubuntu trusty package sources, then temporarily add utopic to my sources.list in order to install version 1.20ubuntu3 of init-system-helpers and then remove the repo again from my sources.list, apt-cache showpkg init-system-helpers will just lie about the original package list and apt-cache policy init-system-helpers will just state the obvious. – blubberdiblub Jul 4 '15 at 1:22

Use following command. It has better output:

apt-cache policy <Package Name>

For Ubuntu 16.04 and later there is a shorter way to do that:

apt policy <Package Name>
  • 9
    This is the correct answer! The commands in the answer by mac9416 need tedious interpretation + guessing based on their output. For more information about apt-cache policy see also – pabouk Nov 23 '15 at 9:45
  • 3
    apt-cache policy is good but some times you need apt-cache showpkg to compare MD5 sums from package. See also debsums --changed – gavenkoa Dec 9 '15 at 11:03
  • this policy option is the most useful when comparing with sources.list – infinite-etcetera Jan 26 '17 at 13:06
  • This should be the accepted answer! @pabouk is right. This answer's more relevant to the question than the currently accepted one. – HEXcube Sep 23 '17 at 13:07
  • Like @pablo-bianchi pointed out in his answer, an even simpler apt policy <package-name> can be used, from 16.04LTS onwards. Once 14.04LTS becomes EOL'd in 2018, this answer maybe edited to use the newer command. – HEXcube Sep 23 '17 at 13:12

Sadly, this information is not recorded during package installation. You can make a decent guess if the repository is still in the source list and the repository still has the package:

grep -l PKG /var/lib/apt/lists/*

Even synaptic cannot tell if you disable the repository and update.

sudo grep *packagename* /var/lib/apt/lists/* | grep "Filename:"


apt on Ubuntu 16.04+

Beside apt-cache parameters like policy, showpkg and show, now we have a more simple, easy to remember parameters, command: apt (don't confuse with classic apt-*):

apt policy <package> 

or the alternative with more info apt show <package>, line starting with "APT-Sources:".

Description: This package provides commandline tools for searching and managing as well as querying information about packages as a low-level access to all features of the libapt-pkg library. These include:apt-get, apt-cache, apt-cdrom, apt-config, apt-key.

Basic commands from apt --help

Other also easy to remember parameters:

  • list – list packages based on package names
  • search – search in package descriptions
  • show – show package details
  • update – update list of available packages
  • install – install packages
  • remove – remove packages
  • upgrade – upgrade the system by installing/upgrading packages
  • full-upgrade – upgrade the system by removing/installing/upgrading packages
  • edit-sources – edit the source information file
  • apt policy xxx appears identical to apt-cache policy xxx, maybe this should've been a comment instead. Or at least mention that apt show seems to need the -a switch to see "additional records" from other sources – Xen2050 Dec 23 '17 at 23:00

This is a little more accurate:

apt-cache show <packagename> | grep "Version:"

The newest version will typically be installed unless you have set apt-pinning or explicitly install a particular version.

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