dpkg-parsechangelog man page

dpkg-parsechangelog — parse Debian changelog files


dpkg-parsechangelog [option...]


dpkg-parsechangelog reads and parses the changelog of an unpacked Debian source tree and outputs the information in it to standard output in a machine-readable form.


-l changelog-file
Specifies the changelog file to read information from. A ‘-’ can be used to specify reading from standard input. The default is debian/changelog.
-F changelog-format
Specifies the format of the changelog. By default the format is read from a special line near the bottom of the changelog or failing that defaults to the debian standard format. See also Changelog Formats.
-L libdir
Obsolete option without effect (since dpkg 1.18.8). Setting the perl environment variables PERL5LIB or PERLLIB has a similar effect when looking for the parser perl modules.
-S, --show-field field
Specifies the name of the field to show (since dpkg 1.17.0). The field name is not printed, only its value.
-?, --help
Show the usage message and exit.
Show the version and exit.

Parser Options

The following options can be used to influence the output of the changelog parser, e.g. the range of entries or the format of the output.

--file file
Set the changelog filename to parse. Default is ‘-’ (standard input).
-l, --label file
Set the name of the changelog file to use in error messages, instead of using the name from the --file option, or its default value.
--format output-format

Set the output format. Currently supported values are dpkg and rfc822. dpkg is the classic output format (from before this option existed) and the default. It consists of one paragraph in Debian control format (see deb-control(5)). If more than one entry is requested, then most fields are taken from the most recent entry, except otherwise stated:

Source: pkg-name
Version: version
Distribution: target-distribution
Urgency: urgency
The highest urgency of all included entries is used, followed by the concatenated (space-separated) comments from all the versions requested.
Maintainer: author
Date: date
The date of the entry as a string, as it appears in the changelog. With a strptime(3) format "%a, %d %b %Y %T %z", but where the day of the week might not actually correspond to the real day obtained from the rest of the date string. If you need a more accurate representation of the date, use the Timestamp field, but take into account it might not be possible to map it back to the exact value in this field.
Timestamp: timestamp
The date of the entry as a timestamp in seconds since the epoch (since dpkg 1.18.8).
Closes: bug-number
The Closes fields of all included entries are merged.
Changes: changelog-entries
The text of all changelog entries is concatenated. To make this field a valid Debian control format multiline field empty lines are replaced with a single full stop and all lines is intended by one space character. The exact content depends on the changelog format.

The Version, Distribution, Urgency, Maintainer and Changes fields are mandatory.

There might be additional user-defined fields present.

The rfc822 format uses the same fields but outputs a separate paragraph for each changelog entry so that all metadata for each entry is preserved.

Include all changes. Note: other options have no effect when this is in use.
-s, --since version
-v version
Include all changes later than version.
-u, --until version
Include all changes earlier than version.
-f, --from version
Include all changes equal or later than version.
-t, --to version
Include all changes up to or equal than version.
-c, --count number
-n number
Include number entries from the top (or the tail if number is lower than 0).
-o, --offset number
Change the starting point for --count, counted from the top (or the tail if number is lower than 0).

Changelog Formats

It is possible to use a different format to the standard one, by providing a parser for that alternative format.

In order to have dpkg-parsechangelog run the new parser, a line must be included within the last 40 lines of the changelog file, matching the Perl regular expression: “\schangelog-format:\s+([0-9a-z]+)\W”. The part in parentheses should be the name of the format. For example:

@@@ changelog-format: otherformat @@@

Changelog format names are non-empty strings of alphanumerics.

If such a line exists then dpkg-parsechangelog will look for the parser as a Dpkg::Changelog::Otherformat perl module; it is an error for it not being present. The parser name in the perl module will be automatically capitalized. The default changelog format is debian, and a parser for it is provided by default.

The parser should be derived from the Dpkg::Changelog class and implement the required documented interface.

If the changelog format which is being parsed always or almost always leaves a blank line between individual change notes, these blank lines should be stripped out, so as to make the resulting output compact.

If the changelog format does not contain date or package name information this information should be omitted from the output. The parser should not attempt to synthesize it or find it from other sources.

If the changelog does not have the expected format the parser should error out, rather than trying to muddle through and possibly generating incorrect output.

A changelog parser may not interact with the user at all.


All Parser Options except for -v are only supported since dpkg 1.14.16.

Short option parsing with non-bundled values available only since dpkg 1.18.0.


The changelog file, used to obtain version-dependent information about the source package, such as the urgency and distribution of an upload, the changes made since a particular release, and the source version number itself.

See Also


Referenced By

deb-changelog(5), dpkg-genchanges(1), dpkg-gencontrol(1), dpkg-source(1), tagpending(1).

Explore man page connections for dpkg-parsechangelog(1).

dpkg utilities 2013-07-06