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

  • 4
    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.) May 25, 2017 at 16:59
  • 2
    @ReinierPost If you know which enabled repositories provide the package, you can determine which one was used based on the version of the package that is provided by each repository. If you are unsure which version is installed, run dpkg -l <package name> | awk '/^ii/{print $3}'
    – mchid
    Feb 4, 2021 at 4:23

8 Answers 8


Use following command. It has better output:

apt policy <Package Name>

Before Ubuntu 16.04 the command was:

apt-cache policy <Package Name>
  • 19
    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 superuser.com/a/236605/61370 Nov 23, 2015 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, 2015 at 11:03
  • this policy option is the most useful when comparing with sources.list Jan 26, 2017 at 13:06
  • Sorry, the output is better than what? The accepted answer?
    – wjandrea
    Oct 25, 2023 at 14:39


Check out SuB's answer. Looks a bit simpler!


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 <[email protected]>
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 archive.ubuntu.com, ubuntu, lucid, and main.

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

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu lucid main universe restricted multiverse
  • 1
    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, 2010 at 22:23
  • 1
    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. :-) Oct 21, 2010 at 13:10
  • 6
    apt-cache policy <package name> (from: superuser.com/a/236605/37279) Aug 1, 2013 at 14:47
  • 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. Jul 4, 2015 at 1:22
  • 2
    This tells you where the package will be installed/upgraded from, should you attempt to do so. It won't tell you where the currently installed version came from. It can be different, e.g. after adding/removing a PPA. Jan 27, 2021 at 20:29

apt on Ubuntu 16.04+

Beside apt-cache policy, showpkg and show, now we have a more simple, with easy to remember subcommands: apt[1] [2] (don't get confused with classic apt-*):

apt policy <package> 

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

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

Warning: apt does not have a stable CLI interface. Use with caution in scripts.

Basic commands from apt --help

Other also easy to remember subcommands:

  • apt list – list packages based on package names

  • apt search – search in package descriptions

  • apt show – show package details

  • apt update – update list of available packages

  • apt install – install packages

  • apt remove – remove packages

  • apt purge – remove packages and configuration files:

    Removing a package removes all packaged data, but leaves usually small (modified) user configuration files behind, in case the remove was an accident. Just issuing an installation request for the accidentally removed package will restore its function as before in that case. On the other hand you can get rid of these leftovers by calling purge even on already removed packages. Note that this does not affect any data or configuration stored in your home directory.

    To remove residual packages:

    sudo apt purge $(dpkg -l | grep "^rc" | awk '{print $2}')
  • apt upgrade – upgrade the system by installing/upgrading packages

  • apt full-upgrade – upgrade the system by removing/installing/upgrading packages

  • apt 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, 2017 at 23:00
  • WARNING: apt does not have a stable CLI interface. Use with caution in scripts. Jan 27, 2021 at 20:31
  • @ReinierPost The comment or an edit suggestion is better than a downvote Jan 28, 2021 at 4:28
  • 1
    @ReinierPost That's just a warning not an error and this isn't a script.
    – mchid
    Feb 3, 2021 at 18:27

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:"



Another useful command is "apt-cache policy". It will show something like this:

$ apt-cache policy 
Package files: 
 # The default https://wiki.debian.org/DebianStable repository with a priority of 500
 500 https://deb.debian.org/debian stable/main amd64 Packages
     origin deb.debian.org

 # The repository for Debian https://wiki.debian.org/PointReleases (security and grave bug fixes ~every 2 months)
 500 https://deb.debian.org/debian stable-updates/main amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian,a=oldstable-updates,n=stable-updates,l=Debian,c=main,b=amd64
     origin deb.debian.org

Ref: https://wiki.debian.org/AptConfiguration


When upgrading from one ubuntu version to the next one, I like to use the opportunity to do some spring cleaning.

This is a combination of the above answers.

To generate a filterable list from which repositories a package was installed we can use apt policy and remove the newlines:

dpkg -l | grep "ii" | awk '{print $2}' | xargs -n 1 -IX sh -c "apt policy X 2>/dev/null | tr '\n' ' '" | tee all_packages.txt

Then we can inspect the all_packages.txt file and filter for packages which are not from the ubuntu repositories.

cat all_packages.txt | grep -v "ubuntu.com"

We can now inspect this list and decide which ones to remove and which ones to keep.

To only get the package names we can use:

cat all_packages.txt | grep -v "ubuntu.com" | sed 's/:.*//g'
#!/usr/bin/env bash

# List of packages to check
    package_name package_name package_name
    package_name package_name package_name

# File to store the list of unavailable packages

# Clear or create the file
> "$unavailable_packages_file"

printf "%s\n\n" 'Testing the packages please be patient...'
# Check each package with apt-cache
for pkg in "${packages[@]}"
    if ! apt-cache show "$pkg" > /dev/null 2>&1; then
        echo "$pkg" | tee -a "$unavailable_packages_file"


# Check if the file has content and display the result
if [ -s "$unavailable_packages_file" ]; then
    printf "%s\n\n" "The following packages are not available in the APT repositories:"
    cat "$unavailable_packages_file"
    printf "\n%s\n\n" "A list of the missing packages has been saved in the current directory."
    printf "%s\n\n" "All packages are available in the APT repositories."

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