dpkg-query man page

dpkg-query — a tool to query the dpkg database


dpkg-query -l

dpkg-query -l '{{pattern}}'

dpkg-query -L {{package_name}}

dpkg-query -s {{package_name}}


dpkg-query [option...] command


dpkg-query is a tool to show information about packages listed in the dpkg database.


-l, --list [package-name-pattern...]

List packages matching given pattern. If no package-name-pattern is given, list all packages in /var/lib/dpkg/status, excluding the ones marked as not-installed (i.e. those which have been previously purged). Normal shell wildcard characters are allowed in package-name-pattern. Please note you will probably have to quote package-name-pattern to prevent the shell from performing filename expansion. For example this will list all package names starting with “libc6”:

dpkg-query -l 'libc6*'

The first three columns of the output show the desired action, the package status, and errors, in that order.

Desired action:

u = Unknown
i = Install
h = Hold
r = Remove
p = Purge

Package status:

n = Not-installed
c = Config-files
H = Half-installed
U = Unpacked
F = Half-configured
W = Triggers-awaiting
t = Triggers-pending
i = Installed

Error flags:

<empty> = (none)
R = Reinst-required

An uppercase status or error letter indicates the package is likely to cause severe problems. Please refer to dpkg(1) for information about the above states and flags.

The output format of this option is not configurable, but varies automatically to fit the terminal width. It is intended for human readers, and is not easily machine-readable. See -W (--show) and --showformat for a way to configure the output format.

-W, --show [package-name-pattern...]
Just like the --list option this will list all packages matching the given pattern. However the output can be customized using the --showformat option. The default output format gives one line per matching package, each line having the name (extended with the architecture qualifier for Multi-Arch same packages) and installed version of the package, separated by a tab.
-s, --status package-name...
Report status of specified package. This just displays the entry in the installed package status database. When multiple package-name are listed, the requested status entries are separated by an empty line, with the same order as specified on the argument list.
-L, --listfiles package-name...
List files installed to your system from package-name. When multiple package-name are listed, the requested lists of files are separated by an empty line, with the same order as specified on the argument list. However, note that files created by package-specific installation-scripts are not listed.
--control-list package-name
List control files installed to your system from package-name (since dpkg 1.16.5). These can be used as input arguments to --control-show.
--control-show package-name control-file
Print the control-file installed to your system from package-name to the standard output (since dpkg 1.16.5).
-c, --control-path package-name [control-file]

List paths for control files installed to your system from package-name (since dpkg 1.15.4). If control-file is specified then only list the path for that control file if it is present.

Warning: this command is deprecated as it gives direct access to the internal dpkg database, please switch to use --control-list and --control-show instead for all cases where those commands might give the same end result. Although, as long as there is still at least one case where this command is needed (i.e. when having to remove a damaging postrm maintainer script), and while there is no good solution for that, this command will not get removed.

-S, --search filename-search-pattern...

Search for packages that own files corresponding to the given pattern. Standard shell wildcard characters can be used in the pattern, where asterisk (*) and question mark (?) will match a slash, and blackslash (\) will be used as an escape character.

If the first character in the filename-search-pattern is none of ‘*[?/’ then it will be considered a substring match and will be implicitly surrounded by ‘*’ (as in *filename-search-pattern*). If the subsequent string contains any of ‘*[?\’, then it will handled like a glob pattern, otherwise any trailing ‘/’ or ‘/.’ will be removed and a literal path lookup will be performed.

This command will not list extra files created by maintainer scripts, nor will it list alternatives.

-p, --print-avail package-name...

Display details about package-name, as found in /var/lib/dpkg/available. When multiple package-name are listed, the requested available entries are separated by an empty line, with the same order as specified on the argument list.

Users of APT-based frontends should use apt-cache show package-name instead as the available file is only kept up-to-date when using dselect.

-?, --help
Show the usage message and exit.
Show the version and exit.


Change the location of the dpkg database. The default location is /var/lib/dpkg.
Also load the available file when using the --show and --list commands, which now default to only querying the status file (since dpkg 1.16.2).
-f, --showformat=format

This option is used to specify the format of the output --show will produce. The format is a string that will be output for each package listed.

In the format string, “\” introduces escapes:

\n  newline
\r  carriage return
\t  tab

\” before any other character suppresses any special meaning of the following character, which is useful for “\” and “$”.

Package information can be included by inserting variable references to package fields using the syntax “${field[;width]}”. Fields are printed right-aligned unless the width is negative in which case left alignment will be used. The following fields are recognized but they are not necessarily available in the status file (only internal fields or fields stored in the binary package end up in it):

Conffiles (internal)
Config-Version (internal)
Filename (internal, front-end related)
MD5sum (internal, front-end related)
MSDOS-Filename (internal, front-end related)
Revision (obsolete)
Size (internal, front-end related)
Status (internal)
Tag (usually not in .deb but in repository Packages files)
Triggers-Awaited (internal)
Triggers-Pending (internal)

The following are virtual fields, generated by dpkg-query from values from other fields (note that these do not use valid names for fields in control files):

It contains the binary package name with a possible architecture qualifier like “libc6:amd64” (since dpkg 1.16.2). An architecture qualifier will be present to make the package name unambiguous, for example if the package has a Multi-Arch field with a value of same or the package is of a foreign architecture.
It contains the package short description (since dpkg 1.16.2).
It contains the abbreviated package status (as three characters), such as “ii ” or “iHR” (since dpkg 1.16.2). See the --list command description for more details.
It contains the package wanted status, part of the Status field (since dpkg 1.17.11).
It contains the package status word, part of the Status field (since dpkg 1.17.11).
It contains the package status error flag, part of the Status field (since dpkg 1.17.11).
It contains the source package name for this binary package (since dpkg 1.16.2).
It contains the source package version for this binary package (since dpkg 1.16.2)

The default format string is “${binary:Package}\t${Version}\n”. Actually, all other fields found in the status file (i.e. user defined fields) can be requested, too. They will be printed as-is, though, no conversion nor error checking is done on them. To get the name of the dpkg maintainer and the installed version, you could run:

dpkg-query -W -f='${binary:Package} ${Version}\t${Maintainer}\n' dpkg

Exit Status

The requested query was successfully performed.
The requested query failed either fully or partially, due to no file or package being found (except for --control-path, --control-list and --control-show were such errors are fatal).
Fatal or unrecoverable error due to invalid command-line usage, or interactions with the system, such as accesses to the database, memory allocations, etc.


If set and the --admindir option has not been specified, it will be used as the dpkg data directory.
This setting influences the output of the --list option by changing the width of its output.

See Also


Referenced By

dpkg(1), dpkg-deb(1).

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

dpkg suite 2015-01-17