debdiff [options] ... deb1 deb2
debdiff [options] ... changes1 changes2
debdiff [options] ... --from deb1a deb1b ... --to deb2a deb2b ...
debdiff [options] ... dsc1 dsc2
debdiff takes the names of two Debian package files (.debs or .udebs) on the command line and compares their contents (considering only the files in the main package, not the maintenance scripts). It shows which files have been introduced and which removed between the two package files, and is therefore useful for spotting files which may have been inadvertently lost between revisions of the package. It also checks the file owners and permissions, and compares the control files of the two packages using the wdiff program. If you want a deeper comparison of two Debian package files you can use the diffoscope tool.
If no arguments are given, debdiff tries to compare the content of the current source directory with the last version of the package.
debdiff can also handle changes between groups of .deb files in two ways. The first is to specify two .changes files. In this case, the .deb files listed in the .changes file will be compared, by taking the contents of all of the listed .deb files together. (The .deb files listed are assumed to be in the same directory as the .changes file.) The second way is to list the .deb files of interest specifically using the --from ... --to syntax. These both help if a package is broken up into smaller packages and one wishes to ensure that nothing is lost in the interim.
debdiff examines the devscripts configuration files as described below. Command line options override the configuration file settings, though.
If debdiff is passed two source packages (.dsc files) it will compare the contents of the source packages. If the source packages differ only in Debian revision number (that is, the .orig.tar.gz files are the same in the two .dsc files), then interdiff(1) will be used to compare the two patch files if this program is available on the system, otherwise a diff will be performed between the two source trees.
- --dirs, -d
The default mode of operation is to ignore directory names which appear in the file list, but they, too, will be considered if this option is given.
Ignore directory names which appear in the file list. This is the default and it can be used to override a configuration file setting.
- --move FROM TO, -m FROM TO
It sometimes occurs that various files or directories are moved around between revisions. This can be handled using this option. There are two arguments, the first giving the location of the directory or file in the first package, and the second in the second. Any files in the first listing whose names begin with the first argument are treated as having that substituted for the second argument when the file lists are compared. Any number of --move arguments may be given; they are processed in the order in which they appear. This only affects comparing binary packages, not source packages.
- --move-regex FROM TO
This is the same as --move, except that FROM is treated as a regular expression and the perl substitution command s/^FROM/TO/ is applied to the files. In particular, TO can make use of backreferences such as $1.
debdiff will usually compare the respective control files of the packages using wdiff(1). This option suppresses this part of the processing.
Compare the respective control files; this is the default, and it can be used to override a configuration file setting.
- --controlfiles FILE[,FILE ...]
Specify which control files to compare; by default this is just control, but could include postinst, config and so on. Files will only be compared if they are present in both .debs being compared. The special value ALL compares all control files present in both packages, except for md5sums. This option can be used to override a configuration file setting.
When processing source packages, compare control files using wdiff. Equivalent to the --control option for binary packages.
Do not compare control files in source packages using wdiff. This is the default.
- --wp, --wl, --wt
Pass a -p, -l or -t option to wdiff respectively. (This yields the whole wdiff output rather than just the lines with any changes.)
If multiple .deb files are specified on the command line, either using .changes files or the --from/--to syntax, then this option will also show which files (if any) have moved between packages. (The package names are simply determined from the names of the .deb files.)
The default behaviour; can be used to override a configuration file setting.
- --renamed FROM TO
If --show-moved is being used and a package has been renamed in the process, this command instructs debdiff to treat the package in the first list called FROM as if it were called TO. Multiple uses of this option are permitted.
- --exclude PATTERN
Exclude files whose basenames match PATTERN. Multiple uses of this option are permitted. Note that this option is passed on to diff and has the same behaviour, so only the basename of the file is considered: in particular, --exclude='*.patch' will work, but --exclude='debian/patches/*' will have no practical effect.
Include the result of diffstat before the generated diff.
The default behaviour; can be used to override a configuration file setting.
When comparing source packages, do so in version order.
Compare source packages in the order they were passed on the command-line, even if that means comparing a package with a higher version against one with a lower version. This is the default behaviour.
When comparing source packages, also unpack tarballs found in the top level source directory to compare their contents along with the other files. This is the default behaviour.
Do not unpack tarballs inside source packages.
- --no-conf, --noconf
Do not read any configuration files. This can only be used as the first option given on the command-line.
- --debs-dir directory
Look for the .dsc files in directory instead of the parent of the source directory. This should either be an absolute path or relative to the top of the source directory.
- --help, -h
Show a summary of options.
- --version, -v
Show version and copyright information.
- --quiet, -q
Be quiet if no differences were found.
- --ignore-space, -w
Ignore whitespace in diffs.
The two configuration files /etc/devscripts.conf and ~/.devscripts are sourced by a shell in that order to set configuration variables. Command line options can be used to override configuration file settings. Environment variable settings are ignored for this purpose. The currently recognised variables are:
If this is set to yes, then it is the same as the --dirs command line parameter being used.
If this is set to no, then it is the same as the --nocontrol command line parameter being used. The default is yes.
Which control files to compare, corresponding to the --controlfiles command line option. The default is control.
If this is set to yes, then it is the same as the --show-moved command line parameter being used.
This option will be passed to wdiff; it should be one of -p, -l or -t.
If this is set to yes, then it is the same as the --diffstat command line parameter being used.
If this is set to yes, then it is the same as the --wdiff-source-control command line parameter being used.
If this is set to yes, then it is the same as the --auto-ver-sort command line parameter being used.
If this is set to no, then it is the same as the --no-unpack-tarballs command line parameter being used.
This specifies the directory in which to look for the .dsc and files, and is either an absolute path or relative to the top of the source tree. This corresponds to the --debs-dir command line option. This directive could be used, for example, if you always use pbuilder or svn-buildpackage to build your packages. Note that it also affects debrelease(1) in the same way, hence the strange name of the option.
Normally the exit value will be 0 if no differences are reported and 1 if any are reported. If there is some fatal error, the exit code will be 255.
debdiff-apply(1), diffstat(1), dpkg-deb(1), interdiff(1), wdiff(1), devscripts.conf(5), diffoscope(1)
debdiff was originally written as a shell script by Yann Dirson <firstname.lastname@example.org> and rewritten in Perl with many more features by Julian Gilbey <email@example.com>. The software may be freely redistributed under the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License, version 2.
cowpoke(1), debc(1), debdiff-apply(1), devscripts(1), dget(1), nmudiff(1).