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NAME

       deb-control - Debian packages' master control file format

SYNOPSIS

       control

DESCRIPTION

       Each  Debian package contains the master `control' file, which contains
       a number of fields, or comments when the line  starts  with  '#'.  Each
       field begins with a tag, such as Package or Version (case insensitive),
       followed by a colon, and the body of the field.  Fields  are  delimited
       only by field tags. In other words, field text may be multiple lines in
       length, but the installation  tools  will  generally  join  lines  when
       processing the body of the field (except in the case of the Description
       field, see below).

REQUIRED FIELDS

       Package: package-name
              The value of this field determines the package name, and is used
              to generate file names by most installation tools.

       Version: version-string
              Typically,  this  is  the  original  package's version number in
              whatever form the program's author uses. It may also  include  a
              Debian  revision  number  (for  non-native  packages). The exact
              format and sorting algorithm are described in deb-version(5).

       Maintainer: fullname-email
              Should be in the format `Joe Bloggs <jbloggs@foo.com>',  and  is
              typically  the person who created the package, as opposed to the
              author of the software that was packaged.

       Description: short-description
               long-description
              The format for the package description is a short brief  summary
              on the first line (after the "Description" field). The following
              lines should be used as a  longer,  more  detailed  description.
              Each  line  of the long description must be preceded by a space,
              and blank lines in the long description must  contain  a  single
              '.' following the preceding space.

OPTIONAL FIELDS

       Section: section
              This  is a general field that gives the package a category based
              on the software that  it  installs.  Some  common  sections  are
              `utils', `net', `mail', `text', `x11' etc.

       Priority: priority
              Sets the importance of this package in relation to the system as
              a  whole.   Common  priorities   are   `required',   `standard',
              `optional', `extra' etc.

       In  Debian,  the  Section  and  Priority  fields  have a defined set of
       accepted values based on the Policy Manual.  A list of these values can
       be obtained from the latest version of the debian-policy package.

       Essential: yes|no
              This  field  is  usually  only needed when the answer is yes. It
              denotes a package that is required for proper operation  of  the
              system.  Dpkg  or  any other installation tool will not allow an
              Essential package to be removed (at least not without using  one
              of the force options).

       Architecture: arch|all
              The  architecture  specifies which type of hardware this package
              was compiled  for.  Common  architectures  are  `i386',  `m68k',
              `sparc',  `alpha',  `powerpc'  etc.  Note that the all option is
              meant for  packages  that  are  architecture  independent.  Some
              examples of this are shell and Perl scripts, and documentation.

       Origin: name
              The name of the distribution this package is originating from.

       Bugs: url
              The url of the bug tracking system for this package. The current
              used      format      is      bts-type://bts-address,       like
              debbugs://bugs.debian.org.

       Homepage: url
              The upstream project home page url.

       Tag: tag-list
              List  of  tags  describing  the  qualities  of  the package. The
              description and list of supported  tags  can  be  found  in  the
              debtags package.

       Multi-Arch: same|foreign|allowed|no
              This field is used to indicate how this package should behave on
              a multi-arch  installations.  The  value  same  means  that  the
              package  is  co-installable with itself, but it must not be used
              to  satisfy  the  dependency  of  any  package  of  a  different
              architecture  from  itself.  The  value  foreign  means that the
              package is not co-installable with itself, but should be allowed
              to  satisfy the dependency of a package of a different arch from
              itself.  The  value  allowed  allows   reverse-dependencies   to
              indicate  in their Depends field that they accept a package from
              a foreign architecture, but has no effect otherwise.  The  value
              no  is  the  default  when  the  field is omitted, in which case
              adding the field with an explicit  no  value  is  generally  not
              needed.

       Source: source-name
              The  name  of  the  source package that this binary package came
              from, if different than the name of the package itself.

       Subarchitecture: value
       Kernel-Version: value
       Installer-Menu-Item: value
              These fields are used by the debian-installer  and  are  usually
              not                         needed.                          See
              /usr/share/doc/debian-installer/devel/modules.txt    from    the
              debian-installer package for more details about them.

       Depends: package-list
              List of packages that are required for this package to provide a
              non-trivial amount of  functionality.  The  package  maintenance
              software  will  not  allow  a  package  to  be  installed if the
              packages listed in its Depends field aren't installed (at  least
              not  without  using the force options).  In an installation, the
              postinst scripts of packages listed in Depends: fields  are  run
              before  those  of  the  packages  which  depend  on them. On the
              opposite, in a removal, the prerm script of  a  package  is  run
              before those of the packages listed in its Depends: field.

       Pre-Depends: package-list
              List  of  packages  that must be installed and configured before
              this one can be installed. This is  usually  used  in  the  case
              where  this  package  requires  another  package for running its
              preinst script.

       Recommends: package-list
              Lists packages that would be found together with this one in all
              but unusual installations. The package maintenance software will
              warn the user if they install a package without those listed  in
              its Recommends field.

       Suggests: package-list
              Lists  packages  that  are  related  to this one and can perhaps
              enhance  its  usefulness,  but  without  which  installing  this
              package is perfectly reasonable.

       The syntax of Depends, Pre-Depends, Recommends and Suggests fields is a
       list of groups of  alternative  packages.  Each  group  is  a  list  of
       packages separated by vertical bar (or `pipe') symbols, `|'. The groups
       are separated by commas. Commas are to be read as `AND', and  pipes  as
       `OR',  with pipes binding more tightly. Each package name is optionally
       followed by a version number specification in parentheses.

       A version number may start with a `>>', in which case any later version
       will  match,  and  may  specify  or  omit the Debian packaging revision
       (separated by a hyphen). Accepted version relationships  are  ">>"  for
       greater  than,  "<<"  for less than, ">=" for greater than or equal to,
       "<=" for less than or equal to, and "=" for equal to.

       Breaks: package-list
              Lists packages that this one breaks,  for  example  by  exposing
              bugs  when  the  named  packages  rely  on this one. The package
              maintenance software  will  not  allow  broken  packages  to  be
              configured;  generally the resolution is to upgrade the packages
              named in a Breaks field.

       Conflicts: package-list
              Lists packages that conflict  with  this  one,  for  example  by
              containing  files  with  the same names. The package maintenance
              software will not allow conflicting packages to be installed  at
              the  same  time.  Two conflicting packages should each include a
              Conflicts line mentioning the other.

       Replaces: package-list
              List of packages files from which this  one  replaces.  This  is
              used for allowing this package to overwrite the files of another
              package and is usually used with the Conflicts  field  to  force
              removal  of  the  other  package,  if this one also has the same
              files as the conflicted package.

       Provides: package-list
              This is a list of  virtual  packages  that  this  one  provides.
              Usually  this  is  used  in  the  case  of  several packages all
              providing the same service.  For example, sendmail and exim  can
              serve  as  a  mail  server,  so  they  provide  a common package
              (`mail-transport-agent') on which  other  packages  can  depend.
              This  will  allow sendmail or exim to serve as a valid option to
              satisfy the dependency. This prevents the packages  that  depend
              on  a  mail server from having to know the package names for all
              of them, and using `|' to separate the list.

       The syntax of Breaks, Conflicts, Replaces and Provides  is  a  list  of
       package  names,  separated by commas (and optional whitespace).  In the
       Breaks and Conflicts fields, the comma  should  be  read  as  `OR'.  An
       optional  version  can  also be given with the same syntax as above for
       the Breaks, Conflicts and Replaces fields.

       Built-Using: package-list
              This field lists extra source packages that were used during the
              build  of  this  binary  package.   This is an indication to the
              archive maintenance software that these  extra  source  packages
              must  be  kept  whilst  this binary package is maintained.  This
              field must be a list of source package  names  with  strict  (=)
              version   relationships.   Note  that  the  archive  maintenance
              software is likely to refuse to accept an upload which  declares
              a  Built-Using relationship which cannot be satisfied within the
              archive.

EXAMPLE

       # Comment
       Package: grep
       Essential: yes
       Priority: required
       Section: base
       Maintainer: Wichert Akkerman <wakkerma@debian.org>
       Architecture: sparc
       Version: 2.4-1
       Pre-Depends: libc6 (>= 2.0.105)
       Provides: rgrep
       Conflicts: rgrep
       Description: GNU grep, egrep and fgrep.
        The GNU family of grep utilities may be the "fastest grep in the west".
        GNU grep is based on a fast lazy-state deterministic matcher (about
        twice as fast as stock Unix egrep) hybridized with a Boyer-Moore-Gosper
        search for a fixed string that eliminates impossible text from being
        considered by the full regexp matcher without necessarily having to
        look at every character. The result is typically many times faster
        than Unix grep or egrep. (Regular expressions containing backreferencing
        will run more slowly, however).

SEE ALSO

       deb(5), deb-version(5), debtags(1), dpkg(1), dpkg-deb(1).



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