debsnap - Man Page

retrieve old snapshots of Debian packages


debsnap [options] package [version]

debsnap [-h | --help] [--version]


debsnap is a tool to help with retrieving snapshots of old packages from a daily archive repository.

The only publicly available snapshot archive is currently located at

By default, debsnap will download all the available versions for package that are found in the snapshot archive.  If a version is specified, only that particular version will be downloaded, if available.


The following options are available:

-d destination, --destdir destination

Directory to place retrieved packages.

-f,  --force

Force writing into an existing destination.  By default debsnap will insist the destination directory does not exist yet unless it is explicitly specified to be '.' (the current working directory).  This is to avoid files being accidentally overwritten by what is fetched from the archive and to provide a guarantee for other scripts that only the files fetched will be present there upon completion.

-v,  --verbose

Report on the debsnap configuration being used and progress during the download operation.  Please always use this option when reporting bugs.

-l,  --list

Don't download but just list versions.


Download binary packages instead of source packages.

-a,  --architecture

Specify architecture of downloaded binary packages. Implies --binary. This can be given multiple times in order to download binary packages for multiple architectures.


Specify the minimum version of a package which will be downloaded.  Any versions which compare larger than this, according to dpkg, will be considered for download.  May be used in combination with --last.


Specify the maximum version of a package which will be downloaded.  Any package versions which compare less than this, according to dpkg, will be considered for download.  May be used in combination with --first.

-h,  --help

Show a summary of these options.


Show the version of debsnap.

Configuration Options

debsnap may also be configured through the use of the following options in the devscripts configuration files:


Same as the command line option --verbose.  Set to yes to enable.


Set a default path for the destination directory.  If unset ./source-<package_name> will be used.  The command line option --destdir will override this.


The base url for the snapshots archive.

If unset this defaults to

Exit Status

debsnap will return an exit status of 0 if all operations succeeded, 1 if a fatal error occurred, and 2 if some packages failed to be downloaded but operations otherwise succeeded as expected.  In some cases packages may fail to be downloaded because they are no longer available on the snapshot mirror, so any caller should expect this may occur in normal use.


debsnap -a amd64 xterm 256-1

Download the binary package of a specific xterm version for amd64 architecture.

debsnap -a armel xterm

Download binary packages for all versions of xterm for armel architecture.

debsnap --binary xterm 256-1

Download binary packages for a specific xterm version but for all architectures.

debsnap --binary xterm

Download binary packages for all versions of xterm for all architectures.

debsnap -v --first 347-1 --last 348-2 xterm

Download source packages for local architecture of xterm, between 347-1 and 348-2 revisions, inclusive, showing the progress when doing it.

aptitude search '~i' -F '%p %V' | while read pkg ver; do debsnap -a $(dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_ARCH) -a all $pkg $ver; done

Download binary packages of all packages that are installed on the system.



Global devscripts configuration options.  Will override hardcoded defaults.


Per-user configuration options.  Will override any global configuration.

See Also

devscripts(1), devscripts.conf(5), git-debimport(1)


David Paleino <>


Reporting bugs

The program is part of the devscripts package.  Please report bugs using `reportbug devscripts`

Referenced By


July 3, 2010 Debian devscripts DebSnap User Manual